This is the very first blog post on the Silence in the Library website, and I think this is the proper time and place to give you guys an idea of who we are and why we do what we do.
Silence in the Library Publishing was founded by a group of authors who looked at the way the publishing industry works today, and realized that not only did it need to change, but now we have the tools available to make it change.
From the time of the Gutenberg press until relatively recently in publishing history (around the beginning of the 20th Century), publishing was a fairly egalitarian and open field. In many cases, authors did their own printing and publishing. Some of the greatest, and most beautiful, books in human history were created during this time. Books that changed the nature of human government and society because nothing like them had ever been published before.
Somewhere along the way, we lost the spirit of innovation and artistry that was the hallmark of early publishing. The lines of distribution for printed works became consolidated in a few hands, and books that did not fit neatly into a list of pre-defined categories became “unpublishable”. The very type of innovative works that helped change our world in the past could no longer find their way to bookshelves.
Another result of this consolidation was that the creative drivers of the publishing process, the authors, had less and less input into the final form of what they created and less and less of a share in the rewards of their labor.
Our goals at Silence in the Library Publishing are many.
We want to return artistry to publishing. First and foremost, of course, books must appeal to the mind. But wouldn’t it be great to once again put out books that appeal to the sense of sight through beautiful illustrations and covers? Or books with engraved covers that just make you want to run your hands across them the way you do with older books? Look at the shelves of your standard “big-box” bookstore today. More than likely you’ll find (particularly in the young adult fiction section) that books of a particular genre have covers that look eerily similar. Publishing companies do a lot of research into what the “market” wants to see, and that research ultimately lead to a bunch of books with not a lot of distinction in appearance. We feel that there is, that there must be, a market for books that are unique in appearance and content, displaying an artistry sculpted specifically to the story cradled between the front and back covers.
We are determined to get stories out to the reading public that are wonderful works of imagination that might not make it in today’s mass market publishing because they cannot be neatly categorized. Should I have to be able to define a book as romance, or mystery, or science fiction, or young adult fiction in order to enjoy it, or is there room for loving a story for what it is? There are authors out there today lovingly turning out amazing novels and short fiction that are little known just because they do not fit neatly into a box. We want to find those authors and bring their works to you.
Perhaps our most important goal, though, is to make authors partners in the creative process from the moment they begin writing until their book is published, and to, consequently, ensure that they have a greater share in the rewards of their efforts. In the traditional publishing model, the average author’s share from the sales of one of their books can generally be measured in cents, rather than dollars. We feel that this needs to change, not just for moral reasons, but because a more equal sharing of the rewards of the publishing industry will, we believe, lead to a healthier and more diverse literary atmosphere in the long run.
These are, of course, lofty goals. What we are proposing is nothing short of changing the entire structure of the publishing industry. Do we think that we’re going to do it by ourselves? Of course not. We do believe, though, that we are part of a rising wave of like-minded individuals who finally have access to the means of making our dreams a reality.
Along the way, we plan on having a lot of fun, and producing a lot of great fiction. We hope that you will join us in this journey. We’ve had a pretty good launch with our first two projects as a company. A Hero By Any Other Name is an anthology full of stories about B-list and over-the-hill superheroes, sidekicks, and hapless villains by authors like Aaron Allston, Maxwell Alexander Drake, Jean Rabe, Michael A. Stackpole, Janine K. Spendlove, Bryan Young, R.T. Kaelin, and Maggie Allen. Time Traveled Tales is an anthology of stories about time travel, different worlds, supernatural phenomenon, and amazing beings. We funded this anthology through a successful Kickstarter funding initiative that reached 379% of the initial funding goal. We have plans in place for several other Kickstarter initiatives over the next 18 months.
So, again, please join us and keep track of our updates on our News page.
Our plan is to put up a blog post each week. While I will be blogging occasionally, we will mostly be inviting various authors to guest blog and share their experiences in this changing publishing industry.
Thank you all for your time, and please check back next week for our first guest blog post.
Ron Garner, CEO, Silence in the Library Publishing