Submissions in 2019 and beyond…

Writers, mark your calendars — our next submissions period will run from January 1 to January 31, 2019.

During the month of January, we will be accepting submissions of book-length fiction and nonfiction on the themes of the environment, animal protection, ecology, and wildlife — as always, we’re looking for exceptional, well-written, engaging stories.

In the new year, we are asking that writers who submit book-length manuscripts also support the press (and learn more about us!) by purchasing a book at the time they submit. All books will be $20. For U.S.-based writers, this includes free shipping and your manuscript submission; international writers will receive e-books with their manuscript submissions.

As many of you already know, our submission times and policies have evolved over the years. When we founded Ashland Creek Press in 2011, we had the luxury of keeping submissions open all year as writers began to discover us. In 2014, we started the Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature and began offering two submissions periods for book-length manuscripts — one for prize entries, and one for regular submissions. We also have several open submissions periods for shorter works, which have filled our anthologies Among Animals, Among Animals 2, and Writing for Animals.

As the years have passed, we’ve found ourselves overwhelmed (in a good way!) with increasingly higher numbers of submissions during each reading period, far more than we can ever publish — and sometimes far more than we can manage to read in a timely manner. Now, as we enter our eighth year of publishing, we have decided to shorten our regular book submission period as well as ask writers to purchase a book — and we do this for several reasons.

For one, we hope that a shorter submission period will allow us to read and respond to writers more quickly (as writers ourselves, we understand that the time spent waiting to hear about a submission can feel interminable!). And also as writers, we understand the importance not only of supporting other small presses but of submitting in a knowledgable way, i.e., learning as much about a publisher and its work as possible before making the decision to enter into what will become a very close and longtime relationship as author and publisher.

For us, Ashland Creek Press has always been a labor of love — and we mean this quite literally! No matter how successful the press has been in any given year, we have never paid ourselves a dime. All money received by Ashland Creek Press goes to author royalties; toward judges’ fees or writers’ prize money; into promotion and events to support our authors, whether for newly launched books or backlist titles; and to the Ashland Creek Press Foundation, which supports animal and environmental organizations that share our mission of making the planet a better place for the future.

We very much look forward to reading your new environmental writing in January, and we thank you in advance for your support. We couldn’t do this without you as writers, readers, and advocates for animals and the planet.

You’ll find our more information on our submissions page; please note that Submittable will not be open until January 1, 2019.

Many thanks, and we wish you a very happy new year!

Ashland Creek Press logo

State of the Press: August 2014

We send out periodic updates to our authors about what’s new at Ashland Creek Press, and because we have a lot going on this year, I wanted to share some of this news from our State of the Press Address.

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First of all, I want to share a few highlights from the past six months:

  • JoeAnn Hart’s novel Float won second prize in the International Rubery Book Award, and first place in fiction.
  • John Colman Wood, whose novel The Names of Things was a Chautauqua award finalist, will be speaking at Chautauqua on August 14.
  • Jean Ryan’s collection Survival Skills was a Lambda Literary Award finalist (general fiction category).
  • Olivia Chadha’s novel Balance of Fragile Things has been adopted as part of the University of California San Diego Muir College Writing Program.

Congratulations to all!

We, along with our authors, continue to promote books long after their publication dates, and these achievements show that book marketing is a marathon, not a sprint, and that it’s never too late for new readers to discover a book, no matter when it was published.

The Publishing Landscape and the ACP Store
It’s hard to be a writer or a reader and not know about the Hachette/Amazon dispute and how it’s affecting publishers large and small. We’ve been keeping a close eye on the situation, as are all publishers.

In order to make our books as accessible as they can possibly be, we now offer direct sales of both print and eBooks from our website (you can order directly from any book page on the site). For print books, we offer free US shipping for orders over $50, and our eBooks are available for immediate download and are free of DRM restrictions. Please feel free to let readers know that they have this option to buy online and to support small presses!

Looking Ahead
We launched the Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Writing this year. There are two months left before the deadline and we’re excited to have Karen Joy Fowler as our final judge. Her novel We are Completely Beside Ourselves won the PEN Faulkner award and has just been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Feel free to share the award information; the deadline is coming up on September 30.

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As always, we’re glad to be doing the work we do as a small press in a rapidly changing landscape, where far more doors are opening than closing for today’s authors (and readers). Stay tuned for our next State of the Press Address, in which we’ll announce what’s coming up in early 2015!

 

If e-books are the new paperbacks, why are they so expensive?

I’m not the only one who’s been saying that paperbacks are the new hardcovers, and e-books are the new paperbacks.

Paperbacks are getting more expensive as publishers go with smaller print runs or print-on-demand (like us).

And e-books are generally priced under $10, due in part to Amazon’s revenue-share incentives, but also due to the fact that people expect e-books to cost less than print books.

Yet not all ebooks are priced lower than their print counterparts.

This article in The Wall Street Journal focuses on a number of books that are more expensive as e-books than hardcovers. The articles notes:

Take Ken Follett’s massive novel “Fall of Giants,” for example, which costs $18.99 as an e-book. On Wednesday it was selling for $16.50 as a paperback on Amazon.

Now, this is just plain crazy, and, I suspect, an anomaly.

Major publishers want (need) e-books to be priced over $10. Author contracts assume books will be priced a certain way, and a great deal of marketing/editing/sales costs are all built upon the idea of a book being priced a certain way. But book buyers expect e-books to be priced under $10.

Yet the good news for small publishers, as well as self-published writers, is that “the little guys” are more open to pricing books aggressively in order to find new readers willing to take a chance on new authors.

However, should a book — a labor of love that took years to create, many months to edit, and weeks to design — cost a mere $2.99, or 99 cents? I don’t think these prices are sustainable either, unless we live in a world of only bestsellers. But I do think e-books can cost somewhere between $3 and $10 and support a healthy publishing ecosystem.

It’s more of a problem when e-books are priced too high; the major publishers have been battling with libraries over the pricing and management of e-books, as I discussed in this post. As I mentioned there, the e-book of Fifty Shades of Grey sells on Amazon for $9.99, while libraries pay $47.85 per copy. Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken is $12.00 on Amazon, but it’s $81.00 for libraries on 3M and OverDrive.

As for Ashland Creek Press, our e-books are the same price for libraries as they are for readers — and our e-book pricing comes in at roughly half of the print book pricing.

And it looks as though libraries are paying attention to these lower-priced books; as Publishers Weekly reports, the Douglas County Libraries in Colorado announced recently that they will nearly double the number of e-books available to patrons via a roughly $40,0000 deal to acquire 10,000 e-book titles from independent and self-publishing service provider Smashwords.

It’s clear that print books aren’t going away, but it’s also clear that e-books aren’t either. Publishers need to find their sweet spot in pricing so that they keep their readers (and libraries).

Dispatches from the Ashland Book & Author Festival

Yesterday was the first annual (yes, there are plans for next year!) Ashland Book and Author Festival, sponsored by Southern Oregon University’s Friends of Hannon Library and SMART. We were happy to be there as both authors and publishers, and especially to meet so many other readers, writers, and publishers.

The festival took place on three floors of SOU’s Hannon Library, with author readings and presentations in alcoves on each floor every fifteen minutes. I had the opportunity to chat about Everyday Writing and to read from Forgetting English, as well as to drop in to hear other presentations. The fifteen-minute format was short but very sweet — and it was great so have so much going on: fiction on one floor, nonfiction on another, and poetry on yet another.

We enjoyed chatting with our festival neighbors at Krill Press and Wellstone Press, and I also participated in a publisher’s panel, along with Molly Tinsley of Fuze Publishing, Tod Davies of Exterminating Angel Press, and Stephen Sendar of White Cloud Press. It was great to hear about the marvelous things these amazing indie presses are up to, as well as talk with participants about everything from queries to distribution to the future of publishing (which, we all agreed, is anyone’s guess at this point!).

It was exciting to hear our own Cher Fischer read and talk about her eco-mystery Falling Into Green at the Writing Killer Fiction panel later that afternoon, led by Tim Wohlforth and including crime writers Michael Niemann, Clive Rosengren, and Bobby Arellano.

And, of course, we loved celebrating Typewriter Day with other fans of the written word…

 Already looking forward to next year!