Behind-the-scenes at an Indie Pub Committee Meeting

First, a little something for your ear, a true classic.

Sometime back Rachelle Gardner, gave us a glimpse of a what a pub committee meeting at a smallish imprint is like. I thought I’d share the same behind-the-scenes look into the world of an Indie pub committee meeting.

This is only going to give you a brief glimpse, less than five minutes, any longer and you might start proceedings to have me committed.

The Players:

Me, Myself, I. I & I, playing the roles of:

Editor One
Editorial Director
Sales Director
Marketing Director
Finance Director

The Setting:

A boardroom, well actually it’s a kitchen masquerading as a boardroom. The table is made of fancy plastic imported from Ikea; the chairs match the table. Bought with the proceeds from the day job, and some discount coupons from Seven-Eleven.

The Refreshments:

We’re all (I&I) drinking Suzuki Gold blend coffee and munching on homemade White Chocolate Macadamia nut cookies.

Sales Director: The numbers just don’t add up. I spent more on lunch yesterday than this guys going to sell in his first month. If all goes well we should start making a profit, excluding time invested, sometime in 2015.

Editor One: It’s one of the best manuscripts we’ve seen this year. In fact it’s the only manuscript we’ve seen this year.

Publisher: I’ll agree he can write. How much are dropping on the advance again?

Editor One: Nothing. We own the author. He’s our slave. He sleeps on weekends, the rest of the time we’ve got him at work on creating another manuscript.

Publisher: Good. Glad to see we got the contract side of this business right. How’s the next book coming along?

Editor One: Slowly. Don’t forget we’ve got him doing all the marketing and sales as well. And he’s us when he’s not doing those roles. The words Multiple Personality Disorder have cropped up, now and then.

Marketing Director: That’s not a bad angle. Is that what he’s writing about?

Sales Director: It’s been done. There’s a TV series out.

Finance Director: I understand cloning technology is rapidly advancing. They did it with a sheep.

Publisher: The sheep went insane.

Marketing Director: Now that I could really market.

Sales Director:  I could sell it too.

Publisher: Guys, guys, focus. Where are we with the editing?

Editor One: Nearly done. Target date for completion 10th November.

Editorial Director: We outsourced it to an outfit in the UK.

Publisher: Will they use that funky spelling the English have?

Marketing Director: That would screw us.

Editorial Director:  No, we asked them to leave it in American English.

Publisher (looks at Marketing Director in the mirror): How’s the cover art coming along?

Marketing Director: Great. Ned‘s sent through some ideas, we’re narrowing it down.

Finance Director: We’ve got to get going. Remember. The Day Job’s Calling.

Marketing Director: That’s a great name for a novel.

Finance Director: No. I’m serious. Time to pack it, wrap it, and hit the road Jack – someone’s got to pay for all of this and that’s me.

So I turned myself to face me

But I’ve never caught a glimpse

Of how the others must see the faker

I’m much too fast to take that test


About Simon Royle

Thinking about the future, and how to affect positive change for that future.
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6 Responses to Behind-the-scenes at an Indie Pub Committee Meeting

  1. I liked this comment the best from the article, as it was pretty much what I was thinking as a read it.

    Takeaway: You can write The Sun Also Rises and reshape American writing for a generation (or more), or you can write Twilight and get a good book deal. Strangely, it is a difficult choice….

    • Simon Royle says:

      The selection process of the publishing industry is a might strange one. The principal problem with the selection process is not that it is broken (although some would argue that it is), rather it is overloaded. It cannot cope with the sheer number of people producing content.

  2. Peggy Blair says:

    You know, the sad/funny thing is that those cookies will sell for more than the book.

    Loved the blog.

  3. Simon Royle says:


    I know. Sell one house and you’ve made more money than you’ll probably make on your first 3 books. Reality. The thing that a lot of people *know*, but deep down don’t accept, is that to make any money at writing you (unless you are the kind of person who wins the lottery) have to be in for the long haul. With ten books on a virtual shelf, building over ten years and innumerable hours spent marketing said books; you have a chance at a good blue collar salary.

  4. Peggy Blair says:

    I actually meant to clarify that I meant the price of a dozen cookies would likely be more than the price of a book, but you’re right: I don’t know anyone personally who writes full-time on a full-time salary, although I know of people who’ve done well. But even then, as you point out, it wasn’t instantaneous. And there are plenty of authors who got high advances, quit their jobs, and discovered their first advance was their last.
    A very good satirical riff, though, on the ‘behind the scenes’ stuff – well done!

  5. Simon Royle says:

    Peggy you were right with the one cookie. I was at a Mrs Fields in Bangkok yesterday, and they had these cookies. Feeling peckish I ordered one. It cost THB120. Which at today’s exchange rate is US$4. Which is 25% – 50% more than what most authors will earn off a single sale of a novel – self-published or traditional. Kind of bizarre I think.

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