Friday, April 4, 2014

My Publishing Philosophy

Believe it or not, it has been 1 year since MartinusPublishing's first multi-author anthology came out, and it has been almost 2 years since I first started reading submissions for that inaugural release of The Temporal Element.  I have to say, it has been a slow and steady ride so far.  I've had the pleasure to meet a lot of really talented and entertaining writers, and I've had the sadder job of turning down some others.  Overall, the job of being an Editor has met my expectations, and very little has surprised me.  It helped having spent many years beforehand on the other side of the coin, writing, marketing, and working with Editors to release several of my books.  This invaluable experience showed me the way, and let me know that I could take on the responsibilities of running a small press.

Of course, starting out, I had zero capital, and I still can't boast of having a big war chest.  That first anthology offered contributors a "token" payment, in the form of a silver Mercury Dime and a Buffalo Nickel per story (though I offered a few dollars via paypal for foreign contributors, due to international postage rates).  This was a novel concept, which the contributing authors enjoyed, though a couple of non-submitters actually wrote me nasty letters, saying I was ripping people off.  Apparently, if you can't afford to pay "professional" rates, you might as well not be in business, as far as some arrogant writers are concerned.  Maybe they would enjoy a world with only big New York City firms publishing things, but without small publishers like Martinus, a lot of aspiring writers would have nowhere to go with their work.  They would have to compete in the ever shrinking big-business marketplace that often has no interest in publishing the kind of sci-fi and fantasy that I prefer to publish.

Even before the criticism of my "slave wages" came in, I had the concept of paying authors something more for what they write.  The big problem with that is balancing fairness and profitability with my diminished financial situation.  That is where I came up with the idea of offering royalties.  It's not something you see from a lot of anthology publishers, because it is quite a bit of work to keep track of everything and send out dozens of paypal payments twice annually.  However, it is fair, and it's all I ever asked for when I was a young writer starting out.  I never dreamed of "big advances," I only ever wanted to earn my fair share, and earn according to my sales.  So, I have applied this philosophy to Martinus Publishing.  I can't promise contributors that they'll get rich off of their royalties, but I can promise that they'll get a cut of each book sold.  Of course, the biggest payout is that they have a publishing credit and can read their work in print; the royalty is just an added perk.

The whole reason I started writing all those years ago was because I wanted to produce stories that I wanted to read.  I hold onto that philosophy as I continue as an Editor.  I am publishing the sorts of stories that I want to read, and I expect other readers will enjoy them as well when they pick up those publications.  That is why I started Martinus Publishing, and that is why I will continue it, for who else is going to publish stories that I like better than me?


  1. You would think than an up and coming author getting their name out and stories in print would be payment enough. Exposure is key.

    1. Indeed. For most writers, the credit is the most important part, though there are a few out there with entitlement issues. You can find them lurking at certain internet forums, as well.

  2. Martin,
    I keep my Mercury dime and Buffalo nickel certificate proudly displayed. It was my first credit and you have my undying gratitude.
    Soldier on.