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Jonathan Miller Interview

Posted on 26 May 2005. © Copyright 2004-2024 WriteWords
A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
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WriteWords talks to Jonathan Miller of M-Y Books, a publishing and marketing resource for authors who self-publish

What prompted you to start the company?

After working as a creative marketing consultant for several independent publishers I could see that authors who self publish are often without the opportunity to get help in raising awareness of their work and obtaining support in an active way to promote themselves and their books.

Tell us about your background

I worked originally as a record producer and sound engineer until the late nineties, which has given me a great deal of experience in understanding creative people and their concepts. While in the music business the combination of creativity and message is allied with a commercial angle, I have found in my last 5 years with books that the same rules apply in many areas.

It is often said that marketing is the biggest problem facing self-publishers. Do you have any advice to offer writers about the design and general presentation of self-published books?

The cover of a book is very important; too often the authors rely on amateur design or illustration, allied with a concept that does not invite the reader to pick the book up. The only other area more misunderstood is that of the back cover blurb – I joke with some clients it should say: ‘Buy this book, this book is great,’ in a subtle and inviting sort of way.

How do you go about the marketing process?

The campaign for any book is based on what angle the book offers which can be used as the open door to the public and trade. It can be the genre, it can be the subject, it can be what the book offers in terms of education. Once we have established that then the Press Release and consequent marketing will be based on that angle whilst supporting any secondary elements also.

Could you give us some examples of books which you have successfully marketed, with details of numbers sold and a general overall cost for an average book ?

To date we have had notable success with Wings Over Nazeing, £19.99, Volumes One and Two, which is a hardback A4 history of Broxbourne aerodrome, also Leave a Light on for Jesus, £11.99, which is hard-hitting fiction about young people. Both titles have sold well with Wings looking to pass 1,000 sales this spring.

We start our services at around £500 and will advise outside of this cost should people not be sure of what they want or what would be best.

A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
Click here to learn more about becoming a member.

Comments by other Members

Zigeroon at 09:36 on 27 May 2005  Report this post

Facinating insight to an area which seems to be more and more a possible 'way in'. Food for thought.


Felmagre at 10:22 on 27 May 2005  Report this post
Interesting, but not too much insight into how they actually go about 'promoting' a book . It would have also been interesting to know if they simply take on the promotional side of a book itself or are only interested in whole printing and promotion package. The interview was not very clear on this.

Dee at 18:29 on 27 May 2005  Report this post
Yes, I am beginning to think that self publishing is becoming the only way new authors can breach the market.

This is an interesting interview but I would have liked to see more detail on how much promotion and marketing they do. That, I think, is the reason many writers shy away from self-publishing. Writers want to write – not sell.


Account Closed at 21:10 on 30 May 2005  Report this post
Yes, I agree - wonderful introduction, but please could we have more detail. Also a website would be useful! As well as being a marketing door for the company ...

Anne B

Felmagre at 12:25 on 01 June 2005  Report this post
Thank you for clearing up some of the points raised. I would be interested to know if they take on 'existing works' and if so what sort of commission levels they want. Also,if the responsibility for payment of royalities to the author stay with the original publishers.

In terms of their fees, do they expect payment up front of is it a commision deducted over a period of time based on results i.e sales

Thank you again, for your assistance in this matter.


PS> Website comes up 'Not Found' any ideas?

Felmagre at 08:28 on 03 June 2005  Report this post
Heloo Anne,
Thank you forfollowing up questions posed. I too have managed to locate website, must have been my server playing tricks though I tried several times.

Interesting, but not something one could not do for themselves if needed. 40 Miles is not much of a radius. I appreciate your 'detective' work
Kind regards

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