Saturday, 5 June 2010

Independent Publishing - A South African Perspective

I’m thrilled to be able to kick-off the Independent Publishing week here at Lindsay’s Romantics, and to have the opportunity to introduce CRR Publishing… Thank you, Lindsay, for your invitation and for setting up what should prove to be a valuable foray into the world of independent publishing.

For those who don’t know me, I’m a South African based romance writer, which gives me a somewhat unique perspective on the world of romance publishing. Unique because things work a little differently this side of the world. For one thing, South African romance readers have yet to discover the delights of e-book downloads, let alone the concept of e-book readers in their various shapes and sizes. We’re fearfully “traditional”, I’m afraid, and the old “to have and to hold” adage can be very easily applied to the print book.

No doubt, in time, this will change. Right now though it has a significant impact on book sales – as I discovered when promoting my books this side of the globe. In a nutshell, unless you’re a print author (be it mass-market or on-demand) you don’t see South African shelves. And, if you do, it’s usually at prices that make the chances of someone actually buying your book pretty much a fat zero! (e.g. one of my books retails for $13.99. By the time it reaches the bookshelves here, it would sell at the equivalent of $35!) The result? A large portion of the international market never actually gets to see your book. No matter how much you try to disguise it, for the average author out there looking to increase sales, losing a significant chunk of the international market is a giant problem.

The reason for this is simple: shipping. Most bookstores in South Africa buy from the global distributors such as B & N. Most of these are printed outside SA, and by the time the shipping is added on, along with the bookstore mark-up, the purchase price for your book is way over the top… This is the issue that ultimately birthed CRR Publishing. I decided it was time to quit “lion” around and get proactive.

But first I’m going to take a step back and throw in a little history. CRR stands for Classic Romance Revival. I founded the group to create a place to bring together readers, writers and publishers of “classic” romance (books falling into our categories of sweet, sensual and sophisticated). The goal of the group is to grow the classic romance genre within the romance industry as a whole by creating a support structure for authors and publishers, and providing promotion and advertising opportunities at reduced rates. The group has grown rapidly, and shows signs of continuing the trend.

In the course of discussions within the group, I have discovered that I am not the only author that experiences the “cannot get my books into my own country” issue. It seems this is a global problem. My publisher has graciously extended me the print and distribution rights to my books in SA, but not all publishers are willing to consider that as an option.

So I’m a tenacious girl. Where there’s a problem there has to be a solution. If I don’t have one, it’s only because I haven’t found it… So I stuck my neck out and along came CRR Publishing. Essentially we’re no different to any and all of the independent publishers out there. Our goal remains one of growing the classic romance genre, and although we’re SA based the USA (and other major outlets, e.g. UK) and e-book market is obviously our first port of call. That, however, is where the similarity ends. We’re concerned with reaching beyond the norm and tapping into markets on “home ground”. So what does this actually mean?

Simply put, we’re working towards being able to distribute our books via print and demand in individual countries to minimize the negative impact of shipping. This, ultimately, will make books affordable to readers all over the globe (those who prefer the print version) and hopefully add to sales.

CRR Publishing is new. We’re also small. But we’re set for slow but steady growth and are committed to working with our authors to promote their work locally and abroad. To this end, our affiliation with Classic Romance Revival is invaluable. The group has the infrastructure and the promotional opportunities to launch our authors and assist them with marketing. All CRR Publishing books will be made available through the Classic Romance Revival site, and the bookstore there is currently being upgraded to showcase our authors. (In addition, CRR, will offer opportunities for authors to list their own books that are self-published or for which they now own the publishing rights). We also will look at re-publishing out of print books under the CRR Classic imprint, providing all the legal requirements are met, and have a strong commitment to launching new (previously unpublished) talent through the First Flight imprint. All in all, our wide range of submissions offers opportunities for all authors in the “classic” genre of romance.

We launched with the release of The Cupid Diaries: Moments in Time, a romance anthology from Classic Romance Revival authors (available here) and the first of a long series. Currently submissions are open for the Forever Love release, the second Cupid Diaries. We are also reviewing submissions from a number of authors, and will soon have details posted of our contracted works which are already in the editing phase.

If you would like to find out more, visit us at:

Or feel free to email us at:

I look forward to hearing from you!

Judah Raine


Lindsay Townsend said...

Thank you, Judah, for opening this Indie/Self-Publishing week in such style! I found your account very clear and your whole CRR Venture very exciting. I'm proud to be part of The Cupid Diaries and very proud to have my own copies of this anthology.

I wish you much success with CRR publishing.

On a lighter note, I do like your photos - especially the lounging lion and zebra elephant!

She said...

Good luck with your endeavor! It's long overdue.

Rebecca J Vickery said...

Hi Jude and Lindsay,
What a wonderful kick-off to an exciting week. I'm looking forward to reading all the articles coming our way.
Jude, excellent planning and goals for CRR Publishing. Wishing you every success!

Judah Raine said...

Thanks Lindsay - and yes, the pics are my tongue in cheek take on what can be a stressful industry!

Thanks She, I agree and working hard to make it happen.

Rebecca! Good to "see" you (we still need to chat, lol! I haven't forgotten...) Thanks for the good wishes and take care,


StephB said...

Jude, really cool pictures. I think they captured the feel and essence of South Africa well. I think it's cool that you come from such a unique place in the world and have the perspective that you do. It was also interesting to hear about about the costs and I was surprised to hear that shipping drives up the cost of the book. I can definately see the benefits of ebooks and I hope they catch on. There are several "Affordable" ebook readers to include the KoBo and Sony about $159-179 and Kindle and Nook which are about 259. I wouldn't want to pay more than that for my ebook reader.


Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Lindsay and Jude,
Great job ladies

Celia Yeary said...

JUDAH--a big congratulaitons on the new CRR Publishing. with so many authors behind you, it's bound to be a success. I admire your drive and abilities. good luck--we're behind you. Celia

LK Hunsaker said...

Jude, great kick-off post!

I'm also glad to be part of CRR and the premiere anthology.

Here's to the growth of CRR Publishing!

Ive said...

Judah and Lindsey,

Thank you for sharing the new company with both readers and writers. Great information, fantastic pics. I can't believe the "inflation" that local books undergo when they travel overseas. And I though $13.95 for a book was expensive. $35! Yikes!

I visited the site. Very detailed and to the point submissions. Very strict, I might add, LOL, but you let your potential authors know exactly what you're interested in, and that's the best way to go about it.

Best wishes.

Judah Raine said...

Gosh another batch! Hey Loraine and Margaret and Celia! And Steph - wouldn't it be nice if ebooks found a place here! And yes, I'm very blessed... I think I live in the most beautiful place on earth... biased? Me?

Hey Ive - I hadn't thought about the strict bit, lol, but I guess they are... I'm a straight out there and to the point kind of gal!


Savanna Kougar said...

Jude, great vision and enterprise. May you have every bit of luck and success.

Have you managed a way to bring POD machines, that kind of tech to South Africa?

Obviously, it would cut down on expenses, especially once it pays for itself.

I wish I had a submission for you CCR... but I only have so much time to write.

Adore the pics. That lion guy is something else. I had to 'lift' him!

Kathleen O said...

Fantastic blog and kick off to CRR Publishing.. You do a great job Jude with CRR site and I am proud to be a reading member of the group..
Good luck

Judah Raine said...

Hey Savanna! POD machines would be a real bonus, and it's something I've tucked away to work towards soon as I get CRRPub up and running. I've made a few brief forays into that area and it's definitely got potential!

And yes, the lion guy... couldn't resist it either!

Take care,

Judah Raine said...

Hey Kathleen - and we love having you at CRR! Thank you for your support.


Linda Banche said...

Hi Jude,

A big thanks from all of us at CRR. You're the engine behind CRR, and we appreciate everything you've done.

Linda Acaster said...

What a great post! I'm catching up after being away for a few days, and found your stance very informative. Good luck with the venture.

Kimm said...

Hi Judah. Lindsay put us in touch ages ago so I was delighted to see how far you've come in such a relatively short time. I had a similar problem in that I'm an American living in the UK so had an audience on both sides of the ocean. I used a traditional print company in the UK where I sell most of my books at speaking engagements and workshops. In the USA I use Createspace's pod and that works well, too. I also had a small audience in Australia but haven't been able to source a pod company there. Any ideas?