Recently I wrote about the core ideology and values of Immanion Press. Now I want to share our Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs). These are the goals that we shoot for in our publishing efforts, but more than that, they are what motivates us each day in our service to our communities. These BHAGs inform a lot of what we do and how we do what we do, and right now they are part of the evolution of our company as we look toward the future we’d like to help shape with the writing we publish.
Our first BHAG is to provide our authors with the best possible service we can, not only with editing, layout, and distribution, but also selection of the cover, marketing help in terms of how they can market themselves and even how we treat our authors as it applies to our contracts. We’ve always take a for us, by us approach to working with authors. Both Storm and myself are authors, and most of the people who do work for us are either authors or artists (sometimes both). We understand what it’s like to be an author or an artist.
One of the reasons Storm founded Immanion Press was because she was tired of her books having the shelf life of a magazine. One of the reasons I published Pop Culture Magick with Immanion Press was because I wanted to write a book in my voice and have that voice respected, instead of having it mauled by people who probably didn’t even practice magic and so wouldn’t have an understanding of the content that is necessary to have to effectively edit it. Those reasons still inform our work today and also inform the BHAG mentioned above, as it applies to working with authors. We want our authors to know their voice is respected and that their vision of how the book should look will also be respected an worked with.
Likewise its important to us to help our authors succeed with their books. Something I’ve implemented in the last year is offering teleclasses and one-on-one coaching sessions with authors on how to market themselves and their books. I offer this service free of charge because they are my authors, but also because I want to equip them with the possible resources they have for marketing: themselves. What many authors don’t realize is that when you write a book you are just beginning a process of marketing yourself and your book. I tell my authors as well that what they are selling isn’t the book, but the expertise or creativity that is contained in the book. That’s an important distinction to make and its one that can help them realize that what they are really marketing is themselves as experts and thought leaders.
The contracts that we offer our authors are contracts based on a simple principle: We want you to choose to send your book to us. We recognize that we have a relationship with our authors and as such we don’t rope our authors into contracts where they are expected to write so many books for us or where they are expected to give us the right of first refusal. The reason we don’t include those clauses in our contract is because we don’t want to force the relationship. If an author isn’t happy with us, why would we force them to continue a relationship with us? I’d rather each and every one of my authors make an informed choice. Another aspect of our contracts that is in favor of the author is that we make sure the author retains the intellectual rights of their work. While its true we are helping them publish the book, we recognize that they wrote the book, that they put a lot of their own effort into the book and we want to honor that.
Our second BHAG is to publish high quality books, fiction or non-fiction and to be the number one independent press that comes to mind when people think about books they’d like to buy that bigger publishers won’t touch. We are very selective about the books we publish. We don’t want 101 books or just any book. We want books that will make people think, that will make people do some work and will even change their lives. We want our readers to look forward to what we publish and we want our authors to feel excited that they are publishing their book(s) with us. To do that we are committed to finding the right books that speak to what we feel is important to the communities we are apart of.
Our third BHAG is to prove that there is a market for unconventional intermediate to advanced books and to show that audience that we respect them and their taste. Our readers want books that speak to their needs and we understand that. Our authors want to write books that represent their voice and we understand that. We want to publish engaging material for discerning readers who know what they want and our looking for those books, but feeling frustrated because they can’t find them. With us, they will find those books that respect their knowledge and experience, while also helping them go to the next level of their spiritual practice. People who read our books are people who want more than the glut of 101 books out there. They want quality and they want to know that we’ll insure that the books have proper academic citations, as well as comprehensive knowledge and exercises to take them where they want to go, while also being able to backtrack to relevant sources.
Our fourth BHAG is to prove that going with an independent publisher can be a step in the right direction for your own success. Our authors are people who feel a calling to share their writing with their audience. We want to help them reach that audience and we want to support them every step of the way, up to and including supporting their decision to publish elsewhere. If we, in any way, can help our authors succeed then we will help them, because what matters to us is that they feel supported and believed in. We know we are successful when our authors can tell us that we are helping them succeed with what is important to them.