Saturday, October 1, 2016

Author Guest Post: The Courage to Break New Ground

I'm always happy to work with this author and this strong woman on guest posts. She's made her way in the book world and is here today to share on breaking new ground in book publishing. Please welcome Danielle Ackley-McPhail back to the blog!

(Note: The Kickstarter Danielle mentions at the end of the post is FULLY funded and will happen. You can join in the great rewards by clicking the link at the end.)

The Courage to Break New Ground

By Danielle Ackley-McPhail

In an age driven by success, we are not encouraged to take risks or try new things. Business models are built on the proven, on the sure thing, on market trends. Creators are expected to produce variations on what has already succeeded, while new ventures are often (but not always) met with skepticism or outright rejection.

This is fine if you are focused solely on business, but creativity does not thrive under such constraints. It grows stale and becomes stifled. Nowhere is this more evident than in the field of publishing. Traditional publishers are often run by business men more focused on market share than innovation. This approach clearly works for the big houses, they have the visibility and momentum to play such a market game well, but it does leave voids that need filling.

From these voids the niche publisher is born.

Whether it is new talent looking for a platform for their voice, or established authors that want to branch out from the expected, niche publishers are a haven for works that expand beyond the traditional markets. In fact, there are publishers who came into existence specifically to publish the backlist and rejected works of established authors. Other houses grew out of a desire to fill a need not being met by traditional publishers.

Such “small presses” can be a source of opportunity for writers, and a rich resource for readers who desire something more than what is being offered to the masses. Are there duds out there? Without a doubt. Are they likely to stay the course? Perhaps for a while, but this industry has a way of weeding out those who don’t know what they are doing.

I speak as someone who has worked for traditional houses and experienced the inner workings of their decision-making processes. I also speak as an author published with niche houses, having witnessed the best and worst of what they have to offer. And finally, I speak as a niche publisher myself, educated by these experiences and striving to avoid the pitfalls of those who have gone before me.

eSpec Books was founded out of a desire to create unique and quality speculative fiction. We have published both bestselling authors and beginners. It is a gamble going with the little guy? No more so than it is aiming for the stars. There are pros and cons to any publishing model, as there would be in any industry dependent on the whim of the consumer market.

The best any of us can do is make informed decisions and dare to dream.
eSpec Books is currently funding two novels by bestselling authors Jack Campbell (The Lost Fleet, The Lost Stars, and The Pillars of Reality series) and Brenda Cooper (co-author of Building Harlequin's Moon with Larry Niven, and author of The Wings of Creation series).

The two new novels are very different coming-of-age stories.

Jack Campbell's The SIster Paradox is an urban fantasy turned epic adventure, where a teen boy crosses dimensions to fight dragons and basilisks and other manner of magical creatures beside the sword-wielding younger sister he never had.

Brenda Cooper's POST is a post-apocalyptic journey novel, where a girl name Sage leaves the safety of the botanical garden she grew up in to discover the world outside and with hope, help rebuild it.

Neither novel is what the author is traditionally known for.

To learn more or to support their efforts, visit


Blodeuedd said...


Anonymous said...

*waves back*

Thanks for reading.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for hosting me today, Mel! This was a fun post to write.