By Ashley Ruggirello
The publishing industry changes in, what seems, a blink of an eye. The power has shifted to the authors, who are given so many publishing options they can pick and choose the perfect route unique to their needs. Agents, pitch contests, self-publishing, and indie publishers — authors are no longer limited to the Big 5.
Recognizing these opportunities, there quickly came a time when I had to evaluate my own path to publication, whatever that might entail. Throughout my researching and writing, reading and writing, querying and writing … I learned a lot, but even more, I realized one very important thing: I couldn’t find that one best fit publisher for my work. To me, that publisher didn’t exist.
There’s a well-known quote I’ve been referencing lately, made famous by Toni Morrison: “Write the story you’d want to read.” This quote is the fuel many authors need to push through the writer’s block and to complete the story they’re working on. It’s important, as creatives, to create something for you, to make you happy — not someone else, not your mother, brother, fourth cousin twice removed. And certainly not a complete stranger.
The quote meant as much to me as it does to many other writers. That’s when another light bulb flashed brightly in my mind’s eye, a thought with similar sentiments, but which would better apply to what was missing in the industry, and what I wanted to create:
“Be the publisher you’d want to publish with.”
As if the waters of the Red Sea parted before me, I saw an opening, an opportunity to fill the void of what was missing in the publishing industry. Effectively, I saw REUTS (though it wouldn’t be aptly named until a little later on).
There was something missing from the publishing industry, something focused on benefiting the author, introducing stories no one has ever seen before, and making dreams, essentially, a reality. That quote, those eight simple words, became the building blocks of REUTS. From my own experiences, I developed a baseline of what REUTS would function by:
I hated when I received a form rejection letter, or even no follow up at all. Therefore, REUTS would personally sculpt a response to every submission we received, with feedback uniquely catered to the author’s manuscript.
It didn’t seem fair that an author, the individual who put her heart and soul into creating something for the world, would only get 5–8% royalties on NET sales. Therefore, REUTS proudly proclaims above-industry-standard royalties, at 30% NET sales for paperback, and 40% gross profit on electronic. The beauty in REUTS is that the author is paid first. REUTS would take nothing out of the profits for any work performed until the author received his cut. It’s a partnership, after all — a publishing company couldn’t exist without a steady supply of authors and their stories.
People in the publishing industry seemed distant, as in too far and out of reach to interact with. Therefore, REUTS has created a community for authors to ask questions, to make friends, and to grow as writers. Our entire team is fully accessible, ready, and willing to answer questions should anyone ask.
That’s why the art of publishing should function as a symbiotic ecosystem — a partnership between two parties who share a common goal. Without an author, a publisher is just an empty shell. And authors who seek out a publisher are hoping not just to build a brand, but to build a relationship with the professionals fully invested in their creation. That’s why small publishing houses, with the ability to adapt and to evolve in a moment’s notice, have become so important to the industry.
ASHLEY RUGGIRELLO is a New Adult (NA) Dark Fantasy and Science Fiction author, from beer and cheese land, Wisconsin. When not lost in the fictional world of Skyrim, she can be found exploring typography, manipulating responsive DIVS, or with pen and paper in hand (figuratively though, as she uses Google Docs much more often). She considers herself a designer by nature and writer at heart, though she always wanted to make video game walk-throughs as a child. Ashley’s favorite color is chartreuse, and she has an undeniable attraction to moss (not of the Kate variety). Find her at her website,Twitter, and Facebook.
As the Founder, the Creative Director, and an Acquisitions Editor for YA/NA boutique publisher, REUTS Publications, she touches every story through the publishing process, from writing contracts, to designing book covers, and everything in between. She equates her love for all things vampires and paranormal to her family history rooted in Romania. Quirky prose will catch her eye; a unique twist on what’s considered the “norm” will pull her in and never let go.
Spotlight post originally published on 3/28/15