Crossroad Press was formed in 2009 as Macabre Ink Digital. The original intent was simply to bring my own out of print books to Kindle and other eReaders, and to try and get a few of them done as audiobooks. My background, besides being an author, is in IT. I’m IT Manager for a very successful company, and have extensive background in web development, networking, and computers. All of this made learning the basic tools of the trade a short and simple task.
When I started getting my titles digitized, a few friends noticed what I was doing. EBooks had just begun to take off. Everyone was afraid of being left behind. Some publishers were moving into eBooks, but seemed bent on making as much money as they could while, as usual, excluding the authors. Those friends asked if I’d help them with their books. They offered to pay me. I declined. Instead, I asked for a small percentage.
That is the backbone of Crossroad Press. We are now a growing, widely distributed digital publishing company. Our books are on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple, Diesel, Kobo, and Smashwords. We are also distributed to libraries through EBSCO (once Net Library) and Overdrive.com, as well as through direct sales to several library consortiums. We are on the verge of a major deal with libraries in North Carolina. We have published over 1600 titles, and expect growth to continue exponentially. We are approached by new agents, publishers, and authors almost daily.
The beginning was simple. We set out to find out of print books that had been forgotten, the horror and sci-fi and mystery books we enjoyed that could not be easily found, and that had missed the switch to digital completely. We found a lot of authors with boxes of books in their garage that no one was ever going to read. I developed a quick and simple way of scanning these, and between myself and my associate editor and partner, David Dodd, a database and programming whiz, we figured out how to reconstruct those OCR scans into word documents. We have a small army of folks working for us proofing and copy-editing, mostly for the love of books, or for free reading of the rest of our library.
We keep our bottom line as low as possible. Most cover art is handled in house. We are committed to never changing the original model. Eighty percent of all net sales of eBooks go to the author. A clean copy of any scanned book goes to the author. We handle everything, and the author gets 80 percent, mostly on works that are just not available. If you are an author with a back-list, and your agent, or friends, or anyone, really, is urging you to publish digitally through someone who charges fees for the “service” of publishing you – you should contact us before you make any decisions.
We keep the prices of the eBooks reasonable. Most old, novel length paperbacks can be had in print from Amazon for .99 plus shipping. We sell most reprint genre books for $2.99 – $3.99 to hit the minimum price Amazon will pay out 70 percent on. Scarcer or larger books we scale upward. The most expensive eBook we’ve sold is $6.99. I remember when I used to read incessantly, and I remember that around $5 a book is where it was no longer an impulse buy for me, and I had to think a lot harder before buying something new.
Along the way we’ve picked up authors like Clive Barker, Jay Bonansinga, P. F. Kluge, James Dalessandro, Joe Lansdale, Jack Ketchum, Chet Williamson, the estates of Hugh B. Cave and Irving Wallace, International best-selling authors Thomas Sullivan and William Bayer, most of the estate of Charlie Grant, works by John Farris and Neil Barrett Jr., and even the eBooks for the Stargate Series. We have developed some original series works, and are pursuing those aggressively with some good results.
We have also branched into Audiobooks. To date, we have more than 500 titles produced. We started out doing our own books and distributing widely, but found that almost all sales of digital downloadable audio are through Amazon, iTunes, and Amazon. When Audible started up their ACX program, we jumped on board. We expect great things from this program, and have worked with world class narrators like Dick Hill, John Lee, Jeffrey Kafer, and Nick Sullivan, to name just a few.
We have a POD hardcover and trade paperback program as well, though print books are a harder sell. This program is mostly dedicated to new works that we are the first to publish, though we have added KDP paperbacks through Amazon to the editions we publish for some of the backlist books.. We pay a high royalty percentage on audio and print as well as digital. We are not looking for new ways to twist it to make more money for ourselves. I’m foremost an author, and I’m sick to death of authors getting the shaft on their work. There may have been a time when expensive 5th Avenue offices for publishers were necessary; that day has passed. You can publish from a garage in Hoboken and have a wonderful presence on the web, and that’s the home of digital.
So, our dedication is to our authors, and to keeping the prices down for our readers. I believe that this is the future of publishing. I don’t think the bigger publishers are “getting” it fast enough. They still own rights to people like King, Koontz, Patterson, etc., and until those cash-cows begin to fade, they will continue to charge too much for electronic editions, gobbling up rights to old titles they never push, and trying to shore up the walls of a crumbling, changing business. Witness our growing relationship with horror great Clive Barker.
In the end, I’m sure they will figure it out, and they’ll continue, but in the meantime, I’m thinking it’s time for a new breed of publisher to step forward and help pave the way. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I’m fair, prompt, and pretty darned good at all this. We are expanding our marketing into cards with QR codes that authors can carry and sign for fans that will offer discounts, as well as press releases, and a newly improved relationship with Barnes & Noble online that we are excited about.
I would love to work with you on the backlists (and whatever property you have available) at Crossroad Press. Thanks for your time.
We now have so many titles that, as you’ll have noticed on the front page of the site, we’ve broken the list into imprints. I hope you’ll take time to explore them and see what we have t offer. Welcome to the cutting edge of digital publishing.