We often get questions asking” What is Windtree Press? How does it compare to other independent publishers? How much do we charge authors to publish their book? Are we a “real” publisher?
Let me take these one at a time.
What is Windtree Press?
We are an author publishing cooperative founded as a means for independent authors to join together and publish under a single press name. We agree to quality products and production professionalism at every level. We agree to support each other in our careers and marketing.
We were founded on an important philosophy for members:
Good people, of like minds and career goals, help each other to grow in their writing craft, to improve discoverability, to keep on top of the changing publishing landscape, and in cooperating to rise together.
The key part of that philosophy is the belief that by working together and helping each other we all rise together. In other words we don’t believe in living in a hyper-competitive environment where we are competing to outshine the others. That is neither healthy or helpful. We also encourage a truly supportive environment where members take time to brainstorm ideas, take classes, some have partnered as critique partners or beta readers, others give advice on various aspects of marketing.
We have a variety of authors in the press with different academic backgrounds, cultural backgrounds, religious or non-religious beliefs, and who write about a variety of issues that are important to them either in fiction or nonfiction. In addition, our authors have different time constraints and resources around writing regularly. Some of our authors have written one or two books over several years and are slowly building their backlist. Others have written many books. We have several people over 20 and one with over 50 books. These are authors who are publishing regularly, often creating 3-5 books each year. And there are many people in between three and twenty books. We value all of them.
Every member is 100% responsible for their own books and their own career. The press does not dictate what their books look like, how they are formatted, or what type of marketing plan is created to promote them. Outside of the requirement to be professionally edited, prepared, and packaged we do not force a particular point-of-view on the author. We do offer opinions and support as needed to help the book do well in the marketplace.
Are there things we won’t publish? Yes, we won’t publish books that promotes the abuse or sexual exploitation of children, contains pornography, glorifies rape or pedophilia, advocates terrorism, encourages active racism or promotes hate speech of any kind.
We also take intellectual property laws seriously. We won’t publish anything we believe violates laws for copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity, or other rights.
What is a Publishing Cooperative?
In general cooperatives are built as an excellent way to do business in harmony with a specific set of values. This cooperative was originally founded by Maggie Lynch and two other women who are no longer part of the press. Soon after they began recruiting author members who had made the decision to publish independently. At the time, all the author members had published at least one book with a traditional publisher. Most of them had published several books. They all believed in the philosophy stated above and knew that the independent publishing landscape was changing very quickly. They believed that together they would make better decisions than separately and then they did the hard work of determining the structure, leadership, and decision-making process of the cooperative.
In the case of Windtree Press, it is an entity where the author members have agreed to publish under a single press name, and the make a number of choices to take advantage of economies of scale in their publication and promotional process that a press can create where an individual author could not–at least not without significant resources. Maggie Lynch serves as the CEO and she manages the web presence and contracts related to the press. Others have taken on roles around social media presence, marketing, bringing on new members, keeping everyone informed of new opportunities and training, etc. Day-to-day operations and decision-making is primarily done by Maggie Lynch. However, members meet a minimum of once per year to discuss goals and direction. Whenever there is a major expenditure that would require all members to contribute, then a vote is required to pass it. Other expenditures may be taken on by individual donation or inviting those members who will use a specific opportunity to contribute and participate.
Membership is attained by current members recommending someone base on their personal knowledge of the writing quality of a potential new member, and the person’s belief and acceptance of the prime philosophy of the press. Members discuss every potential new member, making a referral and ultimately voting on acceptance or not based on their knowledge of the fit. The press does not “acquire” books. Instead, they take on members who have books already or are working on books that are shown to follow the rules of quality and professionalism. The press is an all volunteer organization. No one gets paid for helping to run Windtree Press. For members needing help with some aspect of publishing their book, we do have a robust referral network for them to use.
How Does Windtree Press Compare to other Independent Publishers?
This is a difficult question as independent publishers range from a single author who has created an imprint only for their work to a publisher of hundreds of authors and thousands of titles. At the writing of this blog December 2021, we have a total of 27 authors and 291 titles. So, we are larger than many similar independent imprints. I would argue that in terms of quality, we are equal in output to a number of small presses that are considered “traditional” presses. Whereas many small presses are very genre specific (e.g., only romance, only mystery, only nonfiction, only children’s books), we are genre agnostic spanning most genres of fiction and many nonfiction categories among our members. We cover the age range from children’s picture books to middle grade, young adult and adult fiction and nonfiction.
Some of our authors also continue to have a hybrid career where they publish certain books with a traditional publisher and other books with Windtree Press. Finally, many members have also published short stories in several professional paying anthologies and magazines. These include but are not limited to: Women’s World , Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazine, Asimov’s, Fiction River Anthologies, Readers Digest, NIWA anthologies, and many others.
How Much Do We Charge Author’s to Publish Their Book?
Absolutely nothing. We do not acquire books, so we retain no licensing rights of other works. The only exception to that is with Windtree Press anthologies where the press gets print rights for a six month period of time before releasing it back to the individual authors to sell or exploit as they wish.
Authors are their own creators and publishers making all decisions around design, pricing, types of products they wish to offer (i.e., ebook, paperback, hardback, large type book, audiobook), release dates, reduced or raised prices, licensing additional rights or products outside of the press and anything else that may come up in their careers. Windtree Press offers some economies of scale in the discounts we can get or referrals we can make to get those books distributed in the best way possible. Windtree Press owns some assets that may assist with other exploitation of rights such as translation that authors may elect to use. Of course, we also provide support in brainstorming, problem-solving, and marketing.
Is Windtree Press a “real” publisher?
Yes! We are an independent publisher. We are a publisher member of the Independent Book Publishers Association and of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association. Our authors are members of a number of professional organizations as well, including The Author’s Guild, The Alliance of Independent Authors, The Northwest Independent Author’s Association, and several genre-specific associations such as Romance Writers of America and Thriller Writers of America. Our authors win awards regularly, and are eligible for most awards that require a publisher submission. Finally, just as with any publisher, our authors a part of a great network that begins with the other members in Windtree Press and then leverages each member’s own networks outside of the press.
We hope you enjoy our books and these blogs.
Maggie Lynch is the author of 26 published books. Her fiction tells stories of men and women making heroic choices one messy moment at a time. Her nonfiction provides authors with information and tools for self-publishing from the basics to creating a professional package, loading to vendors, and marketing. You can check out her personal website at maggielynch.com