The Ezis Press: Indie Publisher

Posted by jlubans on November 07, 2017

Caption: The Ezis Logos

The Ezis (rhymes with basis) Press is the publishing arm of this blog, Leading from the Middle. Ezis Press, as the logos clearly displays is named after the beloved Latvian hedgehog, ezis. Hedgehog Press was already taken, so I went with Ezis. It fits my hedgehog style, prickly but loveable.
The Press’ first book is “Fables for Leaders” and a second book is in the works. No. 2 will deal with freedom at work, drawing from the many blogs I have published since 2010 and from my teaching of the Democratic Workplace.
I prefer the term “indie publisher” not “self publisher”.
Self-publisher - unlike many respected “unaffiliated” indie movies, indie bands, and indie bookstores - still suffers from a clinging disdain left over from the pre-Internet days of “vanity presses”.
In olden days, an author, for a fee, could always turn to a so-called vanity press to get published.
Some vanity presses were unethical, (publishing wretched poetry in purple limp leather bindings), others were and are perfectly reputable and deliver good value for every dollar spent. E-books and print on demand (POD) have also greatly altered the economics of self-publishing. With POD, there is no need to guess at how many copies to publish in a first edition; that’s a huge cost savings.
One factor remains unchanged: reviews will make or break a book – whether independently published or from a giant aggregator. There is fierce competition for book reviews and it is in this area in which the indie publisher may struggle the most.
Fiammetta Rocco, the Economist magazine’s culture editor, to whom I sent a review copy of “Fables for Leaders”, told me there would be "800 books a day coming out in October alone"!
It’s easier for many review editors to divert the self-published volumes to the resale store and to only focus on the allegedly pre-vetted books issued by the traditional publisher. Less risk.
Indeed, in my business, several allegedly highly influential blogs (self published no less!) sneer at self-published work.
These self-declared bastions of intellectual freedom look down their collective long noses at anything not vetted by a traditional publisher.
In any case, Ezis Press came to be because of what I have long observed about this day and age:
“Never have so many written so much to be read by so few, for free.”
Above all, authors want to be read, so being the 2 millionth blog under the “long tail” of the blogosphere, is probably not the best place to be if you want to get your message out.
Since I do not aspire to be an eyeball grabbing “island of bigotry in a sea of prejudice”, my eyeball count is negligible.
So, I’ve concluded that putting out a nicely done traditional book or two is a better way to reach new readers and to increase traffic to the blog.
But, as the Economist anecdote suggests, we are still in fierce competition with the traditional publishers. And, while social media can be an effective way to get the word out about one’s book, there is an ever-growing gaming of that system, the Internet.
Take a gander at the very sophisticated social media postings to sow dissent during the 2016 election. Those posts were put out for millions to see – if they bothered to look at them – for mils an eyeball.
What is not mentioned is the labor cost behind those postings. These posters from a foreign power speak better English than most Americans. Their language is perfectly colloquial – no weird juxtapositions and disagreements between verbs and nouns, etc. Maybe the perps have been watching American TV all their lives.
In any case the social media advertising is cheap but the labor is not.
So again we have a choice. You can send your book with cover letter and press release to dozens of magazines, print and online or you can take the deceptive route and pay for likes and clicks and reviews. Yes, reviews. Kirkus, the once famous review magazine, now charges hefty fees – in the hundreds - to review a book.
Somehow, this is seen as OK. The youngish author of a recent “New Yorker” essay was sputtering mad about the re-editing of a Kirkus review. He made no mention that the review was bought and paid for.
So, not a pretty picture, but it is not stopping me from publishing. I wanted a beautiful book in Fables for Leaders and I got it. We’ll see how many reviews it gets. (BTW, one unpaid review declares Fables a “Treasure” – I hope you will think so, too.)
Obviously, going the indie route still has costs. Will I sell enough copies to recover the costs? That will factor into a decision for a second book, but it will have no effect on “Fables for Leaders”, I am quite content in having produced a fine book and to have worked with a splendid team of editor, designer and illustrator.


Fables for Leaders, with original illustrations by Béatrice Coron and designed by ALISE ŠNĒBAHA, launched September 30, 2017 ($19.99- NEW PRICE pending).
Ezis Press
ISBN: 978-0-692-90955-3
LCCN: 2017908783
BOOKBABY’s BOOKSHOP! The BookBaby listing features a “See Inside” the book.
NEW PRICE at BookBaby: $19.99

© Copyright 2017 John Lubans
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