Good Company––Is it worth the effort to create your own press?

Guest post by Sophie Duncan and Natasha Duncan-Drake

We’d like to thank the folks at StoryDam and especially Patricia Lynne for inviting us over to their lovely site. We are Sophie Duncan and Natasha Duncan-Drake, and we run our own company, Wittegen Press.

There is one very simple reason we started up Wittegen: branding.

Back in the mists of time, okay, about 2010, when we were newbies, we decided to take some advice from the experts. We went to a self-publishing course run by HarperCollins. Now, apart from the fact that, at the time, they wouldn’t have known what to do with an eBook if it jumped up and bit them, they did have some good advice. One item of which was:

 
‘A brand gives readers confidence.’

 

What we were looking for was a way to package our books that linked them together. We publish books as:

  • Single authors
  • Co-authors
  • & as anthology authors

There is no easy way to do this except by grouping them under a publisher.

Coming Up with Our Brand

We designed our logo with a pencil and paper while sitting around the kitchen table during a holiday in Yorkshire. We were going for something that people would remember and we don’t really mind if you see a tree, an elf with hair, or even an octopus.

The name was harder, because everything we thought of, someone already had
.

Always Google a prospective company name!

You don’t want to clash with anyone else and you definitely don’t want to accidentally name your company with a slang term for male anatomy or something like that. Don’t laugh, a well known car company managed to give a car a very unfortunate name before now.

In the end we went with Wittegen because it’s a made up magical term from the first novel we published together, Sacrifice of an Angel.

So Now We Have Our Publishing Company…Erm

Having a company presence is not without effort: we run company social media accounts as well as personal ones, but the company gives us another avenue to advertise and offer cohesive promos. It is also a very useful umbrella for all our books, which come in many genres, lengths and availability.

As we said earlier, we’ve been doing this since 2010, and we’ve been flying by the seat of our pants at times, so there have been a few misfires as well as successes.

Our website has been through many iterations. Both of us are techies in alternative incarnations, so that was (mostly) an advantage, but we didn’t make it easy for ourselves in the beginning. We picked a technology that we hoped would be good for books, only to find it badly supported and very intensive to manage. Our techie knowledge got in the way here, we tried to be too complicated.

Our current site, WittegenPress.com, is run on WordPress. This is by far the easiest option we have found over the various technologies we have employed. It is well supported, but adaptable, and every man and his dog is writing plugins for it, which means there’s a lot to choose from. And because we found WordPress such a great platform and the new website building was so much better than our attempts before, we put together a HowTo with the exact steps and plugins we used to help anyone else wanting to go down the same road: How We Built This Site Using WordPress.


Oh Yes, This is About Publishing Books, isn’t It!

We have used many ePublishing outlets over the years to reach our readers:

  • Smashwords as an Aggregate (sends to all major publishers except Amazon, including libraries)
  • Amazon KDP
  • Amazon KDP Select (has to be exclusive to Amazon)
  • Google Play Books
  • Wattpad (we’re just trying this out for free novel serialisation)
  • Our own website for Freebies

Unfortunately there seems to be no magic bullet for reaching everyone, except that the more places the books are seen, the more sales there are. We’re also looking into moving into hard copy as well in the near future with the likes of Createspace.

There are lots of great places to promote books as well, and there are plenty of articles and lists of these, so we suggest a Google Search, since these sites are changing all the time and there are different ones for different genres.

Fights, Priorities & Twinly Things

Working together hasn’t been all plain sailing either, not even being twins has helped us all the time. We write together and the twin thing means we don’t always have to have long chats about scene and character direction, because we get what the other is saying pretty quickly. Still, there have been some stand up rows over what in hindsight were teenie weenie plot points.

Same with running the company: we don’t always agree on our business priorities ñ which books to develop in which order ñ how best to market our books ñ meeting deadlines. Tasha is a much more impulsive, go with the inspiration person than Sophie, who, as a project manager, likes to have a plan, and ñ yeah ñ let’s just say we butt heads from time to time.

However differently we approach our business, the most important thing to us is that, in the end, our presentation is professional and we represent our Wittegen Press brand in the right way. Our readers have to be able to trust us, that’s the whole point of representing ourselves under the banner of the company.

Brand = Trust = Confidence
 
~*~

About the Authors

Sophie Duncan

A British author publishing her books with Wittegen Press since 2011, Sophie has developed stories in multiple genres from young adult through murder mystery to adult romance.

Sophieís first work of fiction was written at the tender age of 11 and will never see the light of day again, but she never looked back from there. She jumped into the fanfiction community while at university where she expanded her creative skill set amongst the wonderful people she found there. Sophie considers herself something of a geek and enjoys watching and reading all sorts of genre offerings, especially fantasy and horror.

She is an IT project manager for part of her working life and uses these skills to keep Wittegen Press running while writing compulsively.
~
Natasha Duncan-Drake
Natasha is a British author with Wittegen Press and has been publishing genre fiction since 2011. Her work includes everything from horror to young adult fantasy and she has never met a genre she didnít like. A prolific producer of short stories and novels alike, she is currently exploring the joys of Wattpad as well as completing a new novel for more traditional publication.
~*~

Latest Releases

DeadBefore Dawn: The Vampire Curse
by Natasha Duncan-Drake

Max Statton is in Moscow for the premier of his new movie when a terrifying encounter turns his life on its head. Attacked by one of the city’s resident vampires, Max is bitten and infected. Only a team of local vampire hunters prevent him being dragged into the underworld of the undead.Fighting for his very existence, Max must resist the vampire curse with the help of Yulia, the hunter’s doctor. But with his humanity slipping away, Max only has two choices: ask the hunters to end it, or risk becoming a monster. His fame makes it dangerous to just kill him, but there may be no choice.When Yulia offers him a kill or cure option, Max must decide if he has the courage to take it. He wants to go home, he wants to see his family and friends, but his life is poised on a knife edge.

(Gay, Adventure, Paranormal Romance, Mature content, FREE)
~
The Burning Web
by Sophie Duncan

Is it symptoms left from his brain haemorrhage, or a guilty conscience that is making Tristan McCall see things no-one else can?

Forced out of the police by scandal and illness, Tris is trying to rebuild his life through the renovation of the home he hopes to share with Xander, his husband. A sprawling Gothic pile, Berwick House is in need of attention, but Tris soon realises the attention is not all one way. Faced with a presence in the house only he can sense, Tris must decide if his damaged brain is playing tricks on him, or if Berwick House really holds a dark and dangerous message from beyond the grave.

The Burning Web is an exciting novel length ghost story to send shivers down your spine.

(Gay, Ghosts & Hauntings, Horror)
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About Patricia Lynne 191 Articles
Patricia Lynne never set out to become a writer, and in fact, she was more interested in art and band in high school and college. On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head. That was the start of it and she hasn't regretted a moment. Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow. She writes New Adult under the pen name Patricia Josephine.

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