I’ve been where you are. I’ve been writing for 20 years. I know how fun it is to write. I know how exciting it is to enter contests. I know the combination of terror and hope that fills you as you await the verdict. Do they want to see the manuscript? Did I win the contest? Am I at last going to get to write for a living—to do what I love?

The Problems with Publishing Companies and Agencies Today

Getting published in today’s world with a traditional type of publisher might be more impossible than making an Olympic sports team. You could be the best writer in the world, but if you can’t manage to produce the perfect query letter on the perfect day for the perfect agent—and that perfect agent is in the market for exactly the type of book you wrote—then your chances of getting traditionally published are extremely difficult. Even if you can get an agent, you still have to actually hope your agent breaks you into the hard shell of a publishing company. If you can name drop and have connections, you have a much better chance. But for most, that’s rare.

Writer’s Conferences and events where you can sign up to meet agents and make pitches…nerve-wracking. Your whole writing future depends upon a longline that somehow encapsulates your 120k-word fiction novel—with the potential to be a series. You’re simply crippled because the fundamental problem is that you don’t really know what they want; and you want them to want what you have. Half the time the agent bios on agency websites aren’t updated and they often already have all of what they want in a certain genre—and it just happens to be what you write. And, if you do have what they want, you can’t be sure you can communicate it in a way that they’ll see it.

There’s a whole other world of indie publishing that I could write paragraphs about. It’s hard too. It’s a full-time publicity and marketing job—on top of the writing—if you really hope to be successful.

A New Way to Approach Publishing

So, that’s where Kentstead Media comes in. There’s got to be a better way to do this! There’s got to be a way for publishers to better communicate exactly what they want and to help writers have the hope of submitting with a greater chance of success. There’s got to be a better way to make our slush pile smaller and your chances of getting published higher. We believe there is.

Here’s what we’re going to do.

  1. We’re going to tell you exactly what we want. We’re going to explain it in detail. We’re going to give you examples of what the writing we want looks like, sounds like, and feels like.
  2. We’re going to explain to you the kind of author—the kind of person—we’re looking for. Because we’re looking for truth-speakers, and that’s not “just anybody.”
  3. We’re going to break down into two general categories the types of fiction we want, and the types of non-fiction we want. We’re not going to max out on either at any time.

Here’s what we’re NOT going to do.

  1. We’re NOT going to say, “We’re looking for steam-punk with a strong female lead,” because that doesn’t actually communicate anything helpful to you as a writer. If you didn’t write a steam-punk novel what good will that do you? If you have a strong male lead instead of a female one, what good does that information do you? Not much.
  2. We’re NOT going to say, “We already have four historical fictions on our docket right now, so you need to come back with epic fantasy or romance.” If you wrote a historical fiction novella, what good is that to you? Not much.

So, trust me when I say we’ll make exactly what we want clear (for fiction and non-fiction) and that it will be of value to you. You’ll be empowered to submit, not running off to come up with a new story because you didn’t have that strong female lead or you wrote from your heart…in the wrong genre. If you wrote from your heart, and you’re a truth-speaker, we’re going to empower you, not discourage you.

If you’re ready to write for us, click here to visit our submissions page and watch the video!

The Problems with Book Marketing Today

Now, what about publicity, marketing, and getting your book out there? Because we all know that it’s one thing to get it nicely edited, printed, converted to eBook, and recorded on audible. It’s another thing to let people know it exists and convince them to buy it.

Traditional publishing companies don’t do a whole lot of marketing and PR except for their reputable, top authors. Break-out authors are rare. So, even if you get published by them, your chances of selling books is still very low. Even if there are people out there who would love your book, they may never learn that it exists. Indie authors struggle because it costs a lot to market and get publicity for a book.

A Wiser Way to Sell Books

This is where Kentstead Media comes in. There has to be a better way, right? We believe there is.

Here’s what we’re going to do.

First, we’re going to require all of our authors, and potential authors, to create a community for themselves prior to being published. We’ve all got community around us: family, friends, old school mates, extended relations, acquaintances, our work crowd, etc. Each author has to assemble and engage their community long before they get published.

It’s the tendency of some of us to hide our writing, hoping interest and credibility will come later, or naturally, with being accepted for publication by a big publishing house. We want the mantle of “getting published” to do our work for us. Well, that’s too late to wait. To build a community, an author has to involve the people around them in their journey—from the very beginning. If you’re determined to be a writer, don’t wait until you have won five awards and published a bestseller. Start now!

If one of your friends asks to read what you’re writing, how do you respond? No, I really couldn’t. I’m not quite ready for anyone to read it yet. It’s still a work in progress. No! Here’s your answer: I’m scared to death to let anyone read it because it’s still a work in progress, but I’ll let you if you’ll promise to share it with a couple of your friends and you all promise to give me honest, understandable feedback. Do you see what you’ve just done? You’ve admitted you’re still learning—saving your dignity—and you’ve just involved a friend, and potentially three-to-five more people, in your community. When you get published later those same people will say, “I read the early copy of that!”

If you love to write, your community needs to know about it NOW. If you’re learning to write and still have work to do, your community needs to know about it. If you submitted to a contest and failed, your community needs to know about it. If you write a quick article for some obscure website and they accepted it, your community needs to know. And, there’s a positive way to spin every aspect of your writing journey. We’ll teach you how to do it! This is what we’re calling personal publicity.

Personal publicity is…wait for it…FREE. And it’s the most successful kind of PR.[i] If you involve your community in your journey, they are going to be the first to support you when your book does at last get published. You won’t be begging them to buy your book. They’ll be invested in YOU! They’ll be invested the fact that you finally made it! They’re going to want to tell their communities.

A community invested in you as a writer is priceless. And, starting that—or to continue doing that—is critical to being accepted for publication with Kentstead Media. So, if you’ve already got that community, then you are half-way there.

If you’re ready to write for us, click here to visit our submissions page and watch the video!

How We Support Our Authors

Second, we’re going to induct all of our accepted authors into our community. The one we’re already building and the one we’re going to continue to build. We’re going to talk about your book. We’re going to talk about you! We’re going to involve you in our community events and invite your personal community into our community. People who love what we publish are going to love what you write. Over time, this is going to produce natural sales for our books. How? Because we know exactly the kind of books we want to publish and we’re building a community of readers who read exactly those books.

Third, we’re going to give you a digital media kit. We’re calling it a digital proof-copy. We’re not going to publish your book and then leave you high and dry. We’re going to set you up with materials to share with your community; materials you can also use to create excitement for your book and market it, when you’re ready. If you want to learn more about what’s in this digital proof-copy (or media) kit, then click here to watch the video!

Fourth, we’re going to graduate—in the future—to a Marketing/PR Match Program. Once an author has sold a minimum number of books, any money the author spends to promote/market their book Kentstead Media will match, up to a specific amount. If you’re going to put in the effort to invest in your success, we’re going to support you.

So, in the end, publishing your book with Kentstead Media gives you two part-time jobs. You’re a part-time writer and a part-time community builder. If you know that before you submit, you’re going to have a great experience with us.

The question might arise, “What happens if I’m on the right track, but an editor decides I’m not quite ready to publish?” We have plans for that too! Click here to watch the video!

Bethany Tolley, CEO Kentstead Media

[i] The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR, ©2002 Al Ries and Laura Ries. The Ten Awful Truths—and the Ten Wonderful Truths—About Book Publishing, BJ Gallagher, December 6, 2017, Huffingtonpost.com, retrieved on 9/15/19.