is the independent imprint under which Janis Pegrum Smith publishes her novels, with the support and hard work of her husband, Nicholas, who has the hard and thankless task of being her editor, backed up by some very lovely, kind and generous volunteer beta readers – without whom, none of this would be possible.
or ‘indie’ publishing, as it is more trendily known, is the route many authors now take to get their books from manuscript to reader. It is nothing new, indie publishing is as old as books, it is just that modern technology has made it all so much easier. More and more authors, even some extremely well established famous ones, are choosing to cut out the middlemen of the traditional publisher and agent route in favour of doing it all, or in part, for themselves. Some may deem indie publishing as nothing more than a new word for vanity or self publishing, though these terms generally imply that one has attempted to be traditionally published and failed miserably, having received enough rejections to paper your whole house, and so turned with desperate narcissism to a vanity press and paid good money for boxes of very poorly turned out paperbacks, which will clutter up your spare room for the rest of eternity… this is not what we mean by ‘indie’ publishing in the 21st century.
Most modern indie published writers, like myself, have never even attempted to set one single toe upon the traditional road of being published. Thanks to the wonders of technology and the fabulous support from the likes of Amazon, with the right set of skills and knowledge, why wouldn’t you publish independently? Indie writers tend to be the sort who don’t feel they need the establishment to rubber stamp their work. As creative artists, the freedom to speak to your reader directly through your words, to not have a commercial buffer between you and your audience, has been the most liberating advance in literature since the invention of the printing press. Up until a few years ago, becoming a published author was more about who you knew than what you knew – and currently the bankability of celebrity books leaves fewer and fewer spaces for the unknowns to be picked up by publishing houses. Mainstream publishers are generally run by accountants, not book lovers, and so they shape what the reader gets to see, based on what they think the reader wants to read… based upon what sells; but, if all that a reader has available to buy is the filtered literature that has been mathematically picked by logarithms and pie charts – what choice is that in reality?
Janis Pegrum Smith chooses to be in complete creative control of her publications from the initial concept of the work right through to the delivered product that lands in your hands, whether it is via paperback or Kindle. From her head to your hand, Janis creates, writes, typesets, designs the cover, uploads the e-book and paperback, writes the copy, the blurb, does the marketing… creates the websites, runs all her social media (she has a very long hat rack with an awful lot of hats on it) every aspect is done by her in-house (or in-cottage in this case, for we view ourselves as a publishing cottage, rather than a publishing house). She is, as in all things, supported and aided in this by her stalwart husband, most especially in the editing department. The production of a novel from start to finish is a long, and fairly arduous process, but the end result is so worthwhile. We most certainly do this purely for the love, rather than the money. A writer generally sees pennies per book from their toil, in this case TP Books aim to keep their prices as low as possible. Production costs and Amazon takes a sizable chunk of what the reader pays for a book, TP Books look to make around £1 a book from each novel sold, either in Kindle or Paperback. As you can see, no ‘get rich quick’ scheme here — so why do it? Why go to all the bother of spending months, if not a year or so, producing a book that is not going to even give you the income of the lowest paid in China? Well, occasionally, just now and then, a person leaves a comment on social media, or some ‘author’s gold’ (a review) on Amazon or Goodreads, or a neighbour will stop by to mention how much they enjoyed… occasionally (and this has happened so beautifully, serendipitously) a complete stranger will start talking about ‘this amazing book’ and Janis will suddenly realise they are talking about one of hers… and that is why she carries on writing… that and because the million and one characters in her head won’t let her have any rest until all their tales are told.
TP Books Production Process and Amazon Exclusivity
Amazon, as a company, often get an awful lot of bad press about taxes and stuff, the thing that generally goes unmentioned is the almost silent revolution that has taken place beneath their banner, for it is Amazon who have carved the route we indie authors generally take to getting our books out there. There are other companies who can help you in all or varying stages of book production, but the buck usually stops with Amazon – whether it is producing your book through them or selling through them – even for traditional publishing companies. It is an extremely sad fact of life that the bookshop and the library are the dinosaurs of our modern world, changes to the book pricing laws was the initial disease which began their demise aided by online retailers, e-books, and the simple fact far fewer people read books these days. I truly believe that without Amazon the book marketplace would be a lot worse off and sorrier place. Amazon keep the book business alive, yes there are other pretenders, but, at the moment, Amazon is still the number one place most people buy their books from. Some years ago, Amazon came out with Kindle Direct Publishing or KDP as it is generally known, which quickly developed into an easy to use, first class service via which, those with the technical know-how, could upload their work into Kindle format and sell it on a level playing field alongside traditionally produced books. Createspace (an arm of Amazon) in the USA soon followed, which allowed an author to also get their work into paperback without too much trouble. Now KDP have brought paperback production under their umbrella, and the process is even easier – especially for those of us UK and European based. TP Books – ie Janis and Nicholas, started indie publishing in the early years of the availability of the technology to do so, they have tried most ways and means to produce their own books, and with the relaunch of Janis’ writing career are happily embracing and greatly enjoying the technological advances in this area which have made indie book production even easier, for those who know how (and yes, TP Books are considering offering a service to other authors who are not completely confident in how to get their work into print themselves – if you might be interested in such a service please use the contact page to get in touch).
TP Books is Amazon exclusive because Amazon control almost 70% of the paperback and e-book selling market worldwide, and they happily make us a very small part of that worldwide market for no upfront fee (all Amazon’s fees come out of actual book sales, they even supply free isbn numbers). TP Books has attempted to work with bookshops over the years, but initially found that they were generally looked down upon by the bookshop owners as ‘self published nobody, wanna be’s’ authors and not the real deal, and the 40 – 50% cut of the book price they wanted to sell the books meant it was fairly nonviable, as it is calculated on the ‘book price’ not the author’s royalty – therefore, the author can be easily out of pocket as an indie. That aside, the author’s need to see their work on a bookshop shelf is as much an archaic mindset as needing to seek a traditional publisher – if anything is ‘vanity’ publishing, this now is. Some aspiring authors still feel they have to have their work rubber stamped by them that know, rather than see that the industry has evolved and the traditional route employees are desperately trying to keep their jobs by perpetuating the myth that any book which has not been through the ‘proper’ channels is not worth the cover it is wrapped in. Luckily, readers have got wise to this, and indie book sales are booming… so much so that in the last few years the attitude of bookshops to local indie authors has rather turned around and they are being a bit more supportive, perhaps they have seen the future, for the future is undoubtedly indie!
Amazon have supported the indie author for years, and constantly strive to make book production for the average person straightforward and easy. Anyone who wants to can write a book and publish it, thanks to them. Yes, I know they haven’t done it solely from the goodness of their heart and they make their share of the money from every indie book sale, but the thing is they bothered — they put themselves to the trouble of developing systems by which any person, anywhere in the world, can write a book and publish it, with worldwide distribution, and what is more they continuing to develop the ways and means to make it continually easier, and that to us here at TP Books, is a rather beautiful thing, which is why we publish exclusively through Amazon.
Why TP and not NJ Books?
We are called TP Books after Nicholas and Janis’ pet names for each other of Teddy and Peggy, — simple as that
And… why a Heron?
The heron on the logo is a tribute to Janis’ ancestors, the Heron family. Among all her other interests, Janis is a keen genealogist and uncovering her Heron roots struck a cord with her, especially Helen Heron. Janis has always viewed the spotting of a heron a lucky omen, long before she even knew that Heron was one of her family names, and so it was the obvious choice as a mascot for the revived TP Books and the relaunch of her career.