Friday, 22 August 2014

Spotlight on Acorn Press


By Dorothy Adamek

It’s my pleasure to welcome and introduce Dr Kris Argall, Senior Editor at Australia's Acorn Press. Since 1979, Acorn Press has published a wide range of books – ethics, theology, Bible studies, biography, spiritual issues, cross-cultural mission, world  religions, indigenous affairs, women’s leadership, as well as ministry and pastoral care. 

Acorn Press Website ~  http://acornpress.net.au/

Kris, your website says you’re a not-for-profit company. What motivates Acorn Press to do what they do? 

The five individuals who founded Acorn Press in 1979 were bemoaning the lack, at that time, of any really strong Christian publishing originating in Australia. Even distinguished Australian authors were having their works published in England or often in the USA. Except on a denominational basis for specific in-church needs, there were very few opportunities for authors to be published for the wide Australian market without being restricted by Australian importers, who would choose titles that they were sure would sell. So the thought was expressed that, “Somebody ought to do something about it!” Then another said, “Well why not us?”

As to the content of the titles that followed, this was mainly determined by the manuscripts that surfaced and were considered on their potential value to the general Christian readership. At the same time Acorn hoped that non-Christians would also read some of the appropriate titles.
Developing this vision, in recent years Acorn has broadened its focus to publishing books written from a thoughtful, well-informed Christian perspective that would be suitable for a secular audience. Books we have published along these lines most recently include 'Eating Heaven' by Simon Holt and even our first fiction title, 'The Songs of Jesse Adams'. 
Happy Acorn Press Reader
Our ultimate motivation is to advance the gospel by encouraging Christians in their walk with Christ and providing resources to help them use their God-given gifts, and to help those who don't know Jesus to find out more about him. We very much rely on God's provision and grace to supply the resources we need to publish each of our titles.

How many books do you release in a year? 

On average, 5, but it varies between 2 and 7 per year. This year Acorn will publish between four books (although there's the possibility of a fifth).

What do you look for in an author platform? 

An author who is enthusiastic about working with us to market their book. They need to show initiative, perseverance, and a willingness to promote themselves and their book. An author who is highly regarded/respected in the field in which they are writing.

Someone who has plenty of opportunities to publicise their book. For example, they may be asked to speak about topics related to their book or they may be a popular speaker at conferences.
Someone who is prepared to develop a presence on social media platforms - for example, Facebook, and develop their own blog or website.

An author who has a wide variety of networks which can be used to publicise the book.

Do you market your books internationally?

Generally speaking, no. In future, we may take up the option of using an overseas distributor for our book titles, especially for the North American Market.  Our eBooks are available internationally, but we do not allocate any resources to overseas marketing. Overseas customers can buy our books through our website, and most overseas orders are from North America.


How do you receive submissions? 

By email. Potential authors can email their submissions to me, using the email address listed on the website.  We provide information for prospective authors on our website - as a subcategory under the main menu heading, 'Our Authors' - http://acornpress.net.au/new-authors/

I notice you have added a fiction title, The Song Of Jesse Adams, this year. Are you open to fiction submissions? 

We will wait to see how well The Songs of Jesse Adams sells before we decide whether to allocate any more resources to fiction publishing.  While we are open to fiction submissions, it is unlikely that we will seriously consider any further titles in this genre for some time.

Thanks so much for sharing the heart and mission of Acorn Press, Kris. I’ve enjoyed reading Acorn Press books and look forward to The Songs of Jesse Adams, next. 

****

Please welcome Dr Kris Argall. 

What have you read from Acorn Press? What would you like to read? What are your questions for Kris? 

*****

Dorothy Adamek lives in Melbourne with her Beloved and their three gorgeous kids.
She's the winner of the 2013 FHL ~ Touched By Love Competition. 

Enamoured by all things 19th century, she writes The Heartbeat of Yesteryear, Historical Romance - Aussie style. 

Come say G'day at her blog, Ink Dots. 

23 comments:

  1. Thanks for the interview Dotti and Kris. It will be good to see you both at the conference in Melbourne. I've had a quick look at the web site and I like your aims. The range of books sounds really interesting.

    Kris, I just had two questions. You mention that Acorn is a not-for-profit company and that you rely on God's provision to supply the resources needed. I'm just wondering if authors pay any subsidies? I'm also wondering if that means there are no author royalties

    God Bless.

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    1. Hi Nola,
      Some of our authors do pay subsidies, and this varies from author to author. Some may like to contribute funds to cover extra marketing, or some authors' workplaces contribute funds. For other books, we can request money from a trust or similar that is interested in the topic of the book. The reason we need subsidies is that it often takes a long time in the Australian market to recoup the costs of publication. We are less reliant on subsidies if the author is a frequent speaker, highly motivated and active in promoting their book, and has a wide network of support in their community.
      We pay authors royalties. For hard copies of the book, we usually pay between$1 and $2.50 per copy sold, depending on the size of the book. For eBooks, we pay 30% of net sales.
      Cheers,
      Kris.

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    2. Thanks Kris. That's really helpful. Look forward to meeting you at the conference.

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  2. Good interview . Thanks Dorothy and Kris.
    To date from Acorn press I have read and reviewed From Head to Toe: Men and Their Roles in the First Two Generations of Christianity.

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    1. Hi Dale,
      Thanks so much for your review, by the way. It was terrific, and a great encouragement to us all at Acorn, and also to the author's widow, Lula.
      It's a gem of a book, isn't it?
      Kris.

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    2. Yes, it's a terrific book. I've just finished reading it and hope to post a review in a couple of weeks.

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  3. Thanks for the interview Kris and Dotti - it was interesting to read the history and aims of Acorn Press as well as a clear delineation of what you are looking for in terms of titles and authors. I applaud your enterprise and for promoting the work of Australian authors. Like Nola, I'm also curious whether Acorn functions as a traditional press or a subsidy press and your policy on royalties. Additionally, do you only look at completed manuscripts or are you also interested in book proposals?

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    1. Hi Jeanette,
      As you'll see above, Acorn functions as a traditional press, but we are broadening the ways in which we source funds. It helps to see Acorn Press as a faith ministry, and we are working out ways to spread the word more effectively that we need supporters - prayer and financial - to help us continue this ministry in a very tough publishing environment.
      We look at both completed MSS and book proposals. With the latter, though, we cannot guarantee publication until we've read the final MSS.
      Kris.

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  4. Thanks for this interview, Dorothy and Kris. I look forward to meeting you at the Writers' Conference in October as well. I'm sure I have other books published by Acorn on my shelves but one I found immediately was Robyn Claydon's 'One Step at a Time'. Looking forward to reading those two latest releases, however.

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    1. Jo-Anne,
      Looking forward to meeting you after having exchanged emails in the past!
      Kris.

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  5. Thanks for an informative interview, Dotti and Kris. Looking forward to meeting you at the Melbourne conference.

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    1. Ditto, Andrea!
      Make sure you come and say 'hi'! I'll be there on the Saturday.
      Kris.

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  6. Good interview, and especially interesting to know the background of Acorn Press.

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    1. Thanks Iola.
      I'm in the process of compiling a history of Acorn Press, as it's scattered amongst documents and archives from the last 35 years. Some of this information I didn't know myself until a fortnight ago!
      Kris.

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  7. Hi Dotti and Kris,
    Thanks for the interesting interview. As I've read a couple of Acorn Press titles, it was very interesting to learn more about the history and vision behind the publishing house.

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    1. Paula,
      My pleasure. As I mentioned to Iola, I'm working on a small history of Acorn - one I can use in situations like this, and to give to new staff and members of our Board, and also to students of publishing and writing when they decide to use Acorn as a case study for various assignments.
      Kris.

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  8. Kris and Dotti, great interview! Kris, welcome to ACW :) I know we have talked about this privately, but I just wanted to clarify for our blog readers that Acorn's standard contract meets the criteria of a traditional publisher. The boiler plate contract doesn't specify that the author must contribute a certain amount of money toward the book production process. A not for profit small press operates in a slightly different way to a business that is running a small press.

    On the subject of marketing, it's now normal for many publishers, large and small, to have a nominal or non-existent marketing budget for an individual book. Traditionally published authors are expected to partner with their publisher to market and promote their book.

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    1. Hi Narelle,
      Yes, you're right about our standard contract. We don't insist that an author contributes, and some are just not able to, but it's getting harder and harder to fund a book purely out of our own cash reserves. The Australian public is expecting to pay less and less for a book, and it's a real challenge to price our books competitively and still cover our costs over a reasonable time frame.
      If we truly believe a book has merit and must be published, then the author not being able to contribute will not stop us from publishing the book.
      And, yes, that's the impression I get from talking to other publishers about marketing budgets. Part of the issue is that the traditional avenues for marketing just don't work any more. It's all about the author's community, as you would all know, being writers yourselves and having investigated all of this, I'm sure!

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  9. Thanks for sharing some of the history and vision of Acorn Press, Kris. We so appreciate what you're doing and look forward to hearing more book announcements.

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  10. Thanks for that informative interview Kris and Dotti. So glad there are publishers like you out there! :) We need you. Looking forward to connecting with you at the conference in October.
    Blessings.

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    1. Anusha, thanks for this encouragement! Kris.

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  11. Thank you so much, Dorothy, for introducing us to Kris. I have heard of Acorn over the years but have not known much about Acorn at all, Kris, until heard you were going to be at the Christian Writers Conference. I so admire the faith and enterprise of those who set this up as a needed ministry here in Australia. Am looking forward to meeting you and also reading your history of the publisher. Way back in the 1980s I first started submitting my first ever Christian romance novel and learnt very quickly how tough it was for Australian publishers then. Wonderful to know Acorn has persevered during such difficult circumstances back then as well as these days too.

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