Telemachus Press is a “work for hire” author services company — a new delivery model in the publishing world that stands fully apart from the the traditional publishing houses and the realm of the vanity press. To better understand where we fit in the publishing world, neither a traditional house nor a vanity press, authors, agents and publishers need to open their minds to a new and exciting avenue for both new authors and for authors bringing back traditionally published material that had gone out of print.
Historically, a hopeful author who had not been successful in either directly getting the attention of a publisher or landing a literary agent, might consider approaching a vanity press to have some number of books printed for personal distribution. This approach was only available to authors with significant resource as it was easy to spend $10,000 to $20,000 on a short run of books. At the same time, the traditional publishing world was still a tightly controlled funnel guarded by literary agents with divine powers selecting authors based upon one page query letters. Given the track record of these very same agents at picking winners, these heavenly bestowed powers have always seemed questionable. Irrespective of the mechanism employed, one truism remains. Only good books sell in numbers of any significance.
The advent of print-on-demand and eBooks has upset this dichotomy. A third path has become available that is neither fish nor fowl. New, and some not so new, authors can now make their works available to the masses with but a small expenditure. And, I’m not talking about a run of several hundred books. This new supply chain from writer to reader makes their work available to millions of people. The marketplace, not an agent now determines commerciality. That same truism mentioned above is alive and well – only good books sell in numbers of any significance. This new channel is nothing but a tool allowing the marketplace to examine a work, and if well received, blogs (new age word of mouth, and reviews hoist the work to a place of prominence).
Given this, is the self-publishing author services company like John Locke’s publisher, Telemachus Press, a vanity press. No. Mr. Locke did not need $20,000 to print a short run of books. His investment was much less and that found in an arena where many, many authors can participate. Mr. Locke simply availed himself of a new tool, a new model. He maintained control over his work from pricing to cover art to promotion. His is a world of hard work, not vanity. But most importantly, he writes really good books.