Here's the way I understand this new company called LitPub: founder Molly Gaudry got an idea at a writing conference earlier this year, an idea to connect small presses and authors and those that care about indie lit and want to make bigger connections between readers/writers/bookstores. There are some distro companies doing this, sure, but it feels like there are a lot of dots scattered about and very few people trying to connect them in the right way.
The Lit Pub wants to be the connector. It connects publicity with the selling of books and is off and running. Molly took some time to answer a few questions.
You're a writer who now is declaring to the world that you're an independent publicist of books. What are you doing?
Well, okay, a few things: first, I’m not writing much anymore and I’m not sure when I’ll get back to it (someday, yes, but I won’t push until I’m ready, and I’m okay if ready ends up taking years); second, the reality is I will probably always need a second job, so trying to sell books online, from the comfort of my own home, sure beats waiting tables or tending bar; third, I feel there is a place for a new kind of publicity—whether we call it social media marketing or what, I think it’s worth a shot—which is to say: I want to try to locate and encourage wider reading audiences for books I love, and I think this is possible with the help of new media and new technologies.
Why is this a need? And who's on board?
While I like to think that The Lit Pub is needed, I can’t say for certain that it is. But I want to give it a shot.
So many people love to read, and so many people hate to read; it seems that if only they knew what other options they had, those same people would discover new books they’ll also love, and that those other people might simply discover books, period, that they might like.
As for who’s on board, Christopher Newgent is our Sales Director, Mike Bushnell is our Director of Business Development, Erika Moya is our Social Media and Marketing Editor, Elizabeth Taddonio is our Community Manager, and Mike Young, on behalf of Magic Helicopter, will be our first guest publisher. We also have a wonderful team of publicity assistants, and our Board of Advisors consists of Richard Nash, Michael Griffith, Kevin Sampsell, Zach Dodson, and Adam Robinson.
Is your format a “copy” of the big publishing houses or are you doing something completely different? I guess in other words, what's the emphasis for a Molly Gaudry & crew repped book?
I think what we’re trying to do is relatively new. On the business end, we’re not only hyping books we love but we’re also selling them in our Community Bookstore. This way, we can eventually try to make a case for the relationship between our publicity efforts and actual book sales. On the more public side of things, The Lit Pub is offering the kind of publicity that I think a lot of authors wish their publishers could provide for them. If authors are lucky enough to have been published by presses with in-house publicists, then those authors are probably going to get some book reviews from some well-known review venues; they might also be sent on a national reading tour. This was, and is, great for authors. But authors need more now; they need fans that they can connect with, fans that are willing to blog or Facebook or Twitter or otherwise help spread the word for them. Really, they need the power of the Internet behind them, and The Lit Pub is going to try to provide this, in a very grassroots way, for authors.
How are you hoping to get other creative people besides just authors involved?
We are really interested in developing our film department. One of my first-year goals is to produce one short film for at least one of the books The Lit Pub represents. For example, we will hire film editors who can choose to work with any of the regional actors in our actors’ database, and then our directors can select music from any of the bands, composers, or musicians in our music database, and if we need animators we’ll call on them. All of this is in service of collaborating to make book trailers, which we’ll post online, and short films, which we’ll hope to screen at indie bookstores across the country in conjunction with the authors’ reading tours.
We want to work with other artists; we want all independent arts to thrive, and we see The Lit Pub as one step toward making this happen. Additionally, outside of the films, we’re calling on graphic designers and visual artists for book cover art. We’d really like our database to grow and grow, so that more artists allow us to link them from our site, so that our publishers have more options when it comes time to select cover art, to decide to make book trailers, etc.
And how are you finding your own time to write during all this literary publicity craziness?
I’m not sure I have another book in me. I’m okay with this, because I think We Take Me Apart is pretty good. Like, if I only publish one book in my life, I’m okay with that being the one. If another book comes, I’m open to that. But for now, I’m more interested in reading and writing about other people’s books than writing my own.
What books do you have coming out that people should know about?
At the time of our launch, The Lit Pub will be featuring Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Chronology of Water (Hawthorne Books), Ethel Rohan’s Cut Through the Bone (Dark Sky), and Ofelia Hunt’s Today & Tomorrow (Magic Helicopter).