Just over a year ago now, perhaps a little longer, my friend Jerry Mooney and I sat down to talk about the ghost of an idea that had been chasing around in my head. I wanted to take our talents and those of the people around us and harness them. I wanted to start a publishing company.
But not just any publishing company. The publishing industry has a problem, especially big, traditional publishers. Well, they have several and I’ll talk about a few here briefly because they are the “why” behind what we do. Since I already had the name “Unbound Northwest” and my own company, Unbound Media, we decided to go with Unbound Publishing, not for lack of other ideas, but because of the meaning of the name.
We wanted publishing to be Unbound. Open. We wanted to be transparent, and to help authors understand how publishing works. We also wanted to go on the beach of traditional publishing and kick some sand in the face of those big bullies. We’ve written about that a little bit before, here, and I’ll talk about it a bit more in a second.
Why the Name Change?
Well, this is where things get a bit complicated, but stick with me. When we went to get the domain name unboundpublishing.com it was already taken. By whom? Well, a pharmaceutical company somewhere in the Midwest who have some kind of app, and own the domain, even though that is not the name of their app.
No problem. We grabbed unbound.pub, unboundpublish.com, and a handful of others. No big deal, right? We figured eventually the pharma company would give up their name, and we could scoop it up then.
Then we were approached by an agent in the UK and formed our partnership with Agent Fox Media and Rick and Beverly Mayston. Rick mentioned our name, and that there was another Unbound in the UK, but a company who focused on crowdsourcing as a way to publish books. That was not their legal name, and in fact, they operate under a different business entirely. So there is not a legal issue with the name.
However, as we released our first couple of titles under the partnership and a couple of US titles, some confusion arose, because both crowdsourcing and our own model don’t follow the traditional model. So on Twitter of all places, there was some confusion regarding who was who.
Rather than fight the confusion and fight over who the real “Unbound” was, we decided to change our name. Although Lambert and Mooney was tossed around, it was too close to a cigarette brand in the UK, so we reversed the names, and ta-da! Mooney and Lambert.
What Else is Changing?
Well, not much and everything at the same time. We’re growing up because we’re growing. Also, 2020 has been interesting to say the least. The publishing industry, including us, has been tipped upside down and forced to look at the way we do business in a different way. Here are the details you need to know.
- We’re staying in the Print to Order model. We won’t do print runs generally speaking, and not just because of cost, but because we want to minimize our environmental impact.
- We’re author-centric. Our contracts are designed to reward authors, to increase royalties based on sales, and to cap out with a healthy return for authors and their agents.
- We’re exploring new tech that lets us control printing and printing costs more directly.
- We’re working to change the pricing model Ingram and other distributors use when selling to bookstores to make sure the indie shops who carry our books have the greatest chances of success too.
- We will continue to be nimble. Big publishers take a long time to bring books to market. We want to be faster but without sacrificing quality.
- We want to give stories a chance. Large publishing houses are resistant to newcomers or some niche topics. We want to embrace those.
- We are about equality and diversity. Everyone deserves a voice, and their voices should be heard. A story should be evaluated based on merit, not on race, gender, sexual orientation, or other factors.
- We’ll use AI and the latest technology to make publishing affordable and accessible for as many people as possible.
- We will build networks and creative ways to assist authors even if they want to self-publish or just need an “assist” from a professional partner.
Our goal is to change publishing and the way we think about it one book, one partnership at a time. Our name change will simply help us stand out from the “unbound” crowd to enter a new space we can call our own.
We have an exciting lineup of books for next year and beyond. And we are not done yet. We are looking for strategic partnerships with agents, editors, other publishers, bookstores, and authors.
Stay tuned for book announcements, new partnerships, exciting developments even for you indie authors and self-publishers. We’re looking to change the future and even the conversations we have about publishing.
Are you ready?