The 16th to the 20th of November is ‘Work in Publishing’ week. To discover more about the industry, I asked Loredana Carini how she started her own independent publishing house, SmashBear Publishing, and how the business has grown over the first couple of months.
1. What led you to create your own publishing company, SmashBear?
I always knew I wanted to start my own company, I just thought I’d get a job in the industry first to gain some experience and then when I was around 30, I’d start my business. But, the publishing industry is incredibly competitive and getting a job in an established publishing house seemed impossible. This was the main reason I started SmashBear, but I also want to make a difference.
I want SmashBear to pull the old and established industry into the 21st century. I want to help get rid of this power hold that publishers seem to have over authors. I want authors to feel like they’re not signing away every right to their work and surrendering all creative control. SmashBear authors have so much input into their covers and marketing campaigns that it really helps keep the vision authentic and I think audiences can feel that. Our books aren’t money grabs; they’re published because everyone at SmashBear is passionate about the project.
2. How have your first few months of business been? What have been your successes? Were there any hiccups?
As I think with all businesses, the first few months have been a huge learning experience. There’s so much that I’ve learned from delegating to and organising large teams, production of books, contracting authors and freelancers etc. It’s been a great experience and I can’t wait to see what more there is to learn.
I’d be lying if I said there haven’t been a few hiccups along the way, but these are normal and it’s important to keep the hiccups in perspective. Sometimes you’re having a bad day, you make a mistake and it all feels a bit much, but it’s not the end of the world. It’s something I like to emphasise to my teams as well, it’s okay to make a mistake, but own up to it as soon as it’s happened because then we have time to fix it.
3. Currently, SmashBear is focusing on eBook publication specifically within Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Horror and Science Fiction genres. What are your goals for this?
Ideally, we would like to be the best producer of eBooks in the industry. We are also looking into going into print, but our main focus will still be on eBooks.
4. What are your plans for the future? How are you planning on growing?
Our plans for the moment include staying steady with our current growth while taking on new projects. We’re hoping to get a lot of projects out next year so now’s the time to keep steady.
5. Are there any insider secrets you could share with people who would like to know more about the industry/ work in the industry?
I think publishing as an industry is pretty transparent. I’d just say to authors, make sure you’re signing with legitimate publishers who aren’t charging you money (unless you’re self-publishing and want an all in one package, but it’s still cheaper to do it yourself).
6. As the founder of a publishing company, there must be a lot of stress. How do you relax?
I get through my to-do list. Whenever I work, I make sure I have a key set of tasks that are high priority or need to be done that day. Once my to-do list is done, I can relax.
7. What are your favourite books?
I wouldn’t say I have favourite books, I have favourite authors and I tend to love everything in their catalogue. Ilona Andrews are my ride or die. Whenever I feel like I need a break or need something familiar, I can pick up any of their books and feel at home. I also love Patricia Briggs, Jeaniene Frost, Rachel Caine (who was such a sad loss to the community this month), Richel Mead etc. My favourite genre will always be urban fantasy, but Christopher Paolini's ‘Inheritance Cycle’ and Trudi Canavan’s ‘The Black Magician’ series are tied for my top fantasy spots.