Meet the Member: Ocean Reeve Publishing

1 What's your company called?

Ocean Reeve Publishing.

2 What do you publish?

We are an assisted independent publisher, so we publish all genres where the authors wish to collaborate in marketing and distribution. Primarily, we focus on non-fiction and children’s books, but we do have a department that manages some fiction—though again, we need authors to commit to promotional activities to fit our model.

3 What's the story of the company?

After working in educational, traditional and self-publishing since 2001, I have become all too familiar with the gaps in the industry and the traps authors fall into. In 2016 I felt I didn’t want to continue working in an environment that didn’t offer the full complement of author services and options, and still have rights retained by the author. For example, I couldn’t justify in my own mind why an author had to purchase books from their publisher at such a high rate, or have marketing fall back on them with no support or training.

There needed to be a distribution model to retailers along with independence and incentives for authors to promote. A model where they paid for print costs only and gained full return on sales they would initiate in tandem with the traditional distribution model seemed more productive and fulfilling—and it turns out I was right. Authors were trained in promotion both physically and digitally, and can reap the rewards from the efforts they put in.

Success for our authors motivated us to expand what more we could do to grow awareness, and we now show them how to use their book as a platform to build additional revenue streams. Ocean Reeve Publishing brings stories to life and creates creative careers for our authors. We model the superhero philosophy of hope, faith, belief and community and create as many superhero authors as we can.

4 How's business?

After stepping out solo and creating a brand that utilises my actual name, I soon had a publishing manager who has now become a shareholder. After three years we have a team of ten including a stable of four trained and qualified editors who manage all manuscript appraisals and editorial processes, three professional designers, two marketing mentors, a distribution manager and a video production manager.

We have published more than 180 books, and several have received international awards. We have secured authors previously connected with traditional publishing houses but wanting more control, and built the confidence of many self-published authors. First-time authors who passed through a writing mentorship have gone on to be published with Penguin, Allen & Unwin and other reputable publishers.

Our reach began in Australia, where we are based, and we now service authors in the UK, Canada, the US, Singapore, India, Hong Kong and New Zealand. So how’s business? Well, it isn’t work when you love what you do and you’re creating a positive impact in a creative space, so business is fantastic!

5 What do you enjoy about being independent?

Saying no. In the past I was doing a job where I was instructed to work with an author or manuscript when neither were ready for the journey. I felt like I was selling out. Now we can say no to authors who we feel are not quite there yet and can give training and support to get them to where they need to be to become an author in this new world. We can guide them to improve their manuscript to a trade standard so it has the best chance of success. No more selling out or compromising integrity.

6 What do you think is the biggest single issue in publishing right now?

Author buy-in to marketing. Major publishers should be training their authors in both physical and digital marketing: having a great story or book is not enough nowadays. Readers want to know more and want to feel connected. I feel our job as professionals in the industry is to show authors how to create those connections and generate longevity. Unfortunately, some publishing houses still feel that profit is more important than people. People are everything and we buy from emotional valuation—so it’s critically important that we do our best to bring authors into a space where they can stand on a stage and confidently, proudly, influence others.

7 What one piece of advice would you give to a fellow independent just starting out?

Create a platform that aligns with your integrity. Realise that you are not selling a book, you are influencing. As an indie publisher, own that position of a mentor and show your authors that their voice is just as loud in person and online as it is in the pages of their book.

8 What do you hope to get out of belonging to the IPG?

Audience. I want to speak more about book marketing, creative expression and the value of telling your story. We say all the time that there is a story in everyone—well, it’s not wrong. I want to empower people to share their unique and independent knowledge, stories or insights so they can establish their footprint and legacy. The more I connect with organisations like the IPG and the individuals within it, the more this vision can be realised.

Visit the Ocean Reeve Publishing website.