Through Peach Publishing, Sheil Land Associates was one of the first agencies in the world, certainly in the UK, to embrace the opportunities that the electronic revolution could bring to authors in getting their works published into the market.
In the last five or so years, larger publishers started shrinking the number of books acquired to the extent that unless an author was a celebrity, had won some award or, in the case of published authors, had been a bestseller with the potential for television or film of book rights, they would reject a book on the grounds that they saw little likelihood of selling in economic quantities. To be fair, bookshops also went into difficulties and publishers lost many of the platforms to display their books to the market resulting in fewer debut authors having their works accepted.
So we started investing in some authors’ works that we believed were good enough to be published but had not been given a chance by mainstream publishing. We also gave authors the opportunity to bring their backlist or out of print titles back into the public eye. We realised right at the outset that Amazon were revolutionising reading. They had invested in Kindle (no publisher had ever thought to create a new medium in this way!) which has since become a by-word for electronic reading. We just took advantage of this new ‘creation’ to open opportunities rather than lie down and let our authors ‘give up the ghost’.
Together with our authors, we’ve learned how to aggressively promote the books electronically and we now attend, monitor and work on the eBooks of our clients regularly rather than just leave them there to work out for themselves. Our objective is to make our eBooks bestsellers and enable our authors to make a reasonable living through sales/downloads of their books so that they might go on writing their next book and the next... and we will not withdraw our support until our objective has been achieved. And most importantly, authors can now see their works published rather than collecting dust on shelves.
We still believe in the printed word. We vigorously try to place our clients’ works and it is only where no publisher shares our own view or will commit to publishing the work that we offer to publish that book as an eBook. We believe that a good book ought to be published and to give literary pleasure to the readers irrespective of whether one is holding a physical book or a Kindle (or other) in one’s hands. With certain titles, we’ve also utilised Amazon’s Print On Demand facilities and the authors have had their works sold as a print copy.
And the other good news is that a number of our authors are being noticed by mainstream publishing houses and have had their works published in other foreign markets! We’ve even had a couple optioned for film rights. None of this would have happened had their work not been published in the first place via Peach.