Motivational Monday

Last week, Brandon Sanderson released his latest book Oathbringer. It shot to #1 in the Amazon store and Brandon held the spot as the #1 author in the Amazon store (and the world) for several days. He has since been eclipsed by JK Rowling, but is holding onto #2. Both of these author's personal stories are familiar to fans of Fantasy, so I won't go into details, but I think it's worth thinking about where they are now and thinking about what is possible.

Every author is somewhere on the mountain of success. Some people are struggling to get into the foothills, some people are at base camp, some people are making the climb higher. A few people, like Sanderson and Rowling, appear to have reached the top of the mountain.

Except, in the last few weeks, I've seen online ads for JK Rowling's books and Brandon Sanderson has been on a major book signing tour. They're still marketing, they're still climbing, they don't think they're at the top. I've come to realize, as I think they have, there is no top of the mountain. There is no final place of success. You can always climb further. Whether you've got a manuscript not even mom has read, or whether you've got sections of Disneyland dedicated to your story, you can keep going.

That's exciting to me, and motivates me to try harder. Chances are, I won't be Sanderson or Rowling, but I can climb higher than I am today. Tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, I can be more successful than I am now. Importantly, there is no limit to that success - there is no limit to MY success, or YOUR success. Maybe someday we will get to their level, maybe we'll go higher.

A little over 20 years ago, neither Sanderson or Rowling had published a book. Neither one of them knew the level of success they would achieve. Where do you think they'll be in 20 more years? Where will YOU be in 20 years?

My goal - 20 years from now I want to be publishing your books, and writing a blog post about how you are motivation for the next generation of writers.

We'd better get climbing.


What Makes a Successful Author?

This weekend, I was at a writer's networking and marketing conference in Las Vegas. It was inspiring to meet so many people who have made a career of writing. There was a poll before we arrived, and out of a little over 400 of us, 4 were making seven-figures a year. Over 50 were making six-figures, and hundreds more had been able to replace their previous income and go full time. Very few attendees had been published for more than three or four years, including the seven-figure authors.

As a full-time writer and a publisher (sadly, not in the seven-figure bracket - yet), I wanted to understand what all of these folks had in common. What made them different that allowed them to quit their day-jobs?

I found no commonalities in regards to gender, age, race, previous career, professional training, time spent writing, or any other demographic distinction.

The one thing everyone had in common? They did it. They started. They wrote that first book, and put it out there. Some of them self-published, and some of them went through a publisher. Every person in that room who was successful - Did It.

What are you waiting for? If you have a manuscript, and you're interested in seeing what is possible, reach out to us. We're happy to discuss what your options are. No hard sells, we only want to work with people that are a good fit for our company and business model. 



People think of me as an literary nerd, but the truth is, I'm a business nerd. I'm the guy who reads the Wall St Journal every morning and watches CNBC on the elliptical machine at the gym. I have undergraduate and masters degrees in business. Writing is my hobby. The business side of publishing is what I want to do professionally. I'm telling you this to give some credibility to what I'm going to say next. I think about this kind of thing - A LOT.

In my last post, I mentioned a conference I attended for the Houston Writer's Guild. While I was there, I spoke to a lot of authors stuck at the manuscript stage of publishing. They had a book, but didn't know what to do next. Getting an agent is intimidating, self-publishing is intimidating. Finding and applying to small presses like Cobble Publishing which don't require agents can be a chore too. The problem for many of those writers is that they didn't see an obvious path to success.

I want to discuss the concept of Specialization, and how using that idea can cut through some of the noise and make your path a little more obvious.

Specialization is the genesis of how people grew from hunter gatherers into today's expansive economy. When our ancestors started to specialize their skillsets, they no longer had to worry about the daily (and constant) struggle to obtain food. Instead, one person gathered or grew the food, and the other people could work on refining tools / building shelters / establishing permanent settlements /forming larger communities / etc. As time went on, those specialties grew more and more specific. Today there are doctors who work on just one part of the body, coders who work in only one computer language, craftsmen who come to your house and repair one brand of appliance only.

That is specialization. It makes our economic system more efficient because that craftsman knows EVERYTHING about the one brand of appliance. That person has put in the hours to become an expert. Without specialization, a generic handyman will have to spend a lot of time figuring out how each new device works. Now, you might be able to pay the handyman less which could be a good choice when your dishwasher breaks, but the overall system has lost efficiency.

Think about that in relation to your publishing career. You might be an exceptional writer because you've put in the hours to develop your craft. Have you done the same for formatting, cover design, in-person marketing, online marketing, book accounting, etc?

You can see where I'm going with this, right?

When you have that final manuscript, and you're thinking about what to do next, consider what you want to specialize in. If you enjoy the business side of publishing, then maybe self-publishing is a good path for you. You'll have to put in the hours to become an expert, of course, but it can be very rewarding. If you consider writing your specialty, and you aren't interested in learning the full gamut of business activities, then self-publishing may be a quick path to obscurity. There are sharks in the water, and unless you want to become one, it's best to not go swimming.

Another thing to consider. When you specialize, you become an expert. You can charge more for your expert skillset, just like in the handyman example. Think about how you want to earn your bread - writing, marketing, publishing other people's books (guilty!). I can't tell you which option is best for you, because I don't know you, but specialization is a worthwhile concept to consider for any budding writer.

If you have any questions about this article, or are curious what Cobble Publishing specializes in, please reach out!


Houston Writers Guild - Indiepalooza

I spent last weekend at Indiepalooza - organized by the Houston Writer's Guild. It's a 3-day writing and business conference designed to cover a wide variety of topics relevant to Independent book publishing. Things like; the craft of writing, contract law, copyright and trademark issues, motivation, how to publish, new audiobook services, and many more.

It was great to connect with so many local authors, but it also reminded me how much of an uphill battle it is to get a book out there. I've spent years learning the craft, researching vendors, understanding the relevant contracts, and most important - how to successfully market a book. I couldn't believe how many authors I met who had finished a book, but weren't sure what to do next.

People like the ones I met this weekend are the reason I started Cobble Publishing. Getting a book into the hands of readers can be HARD. If you don't have the time and energy to spend learning all of the pitfalls around publishing, then frankly, readers won't ever see it. Even if you do get your book published and learn some marketing techniques, there are a million other books coming out every year. Without access to an established platform, it's nearly impossible to cut through that noise.

You see where I'm going with this? Cobble Publishing has a proven track record of producing and marketing Fantasy Fiction. We've sold over 80,000 copies and are rapidly gaining momentum. Our platform and network grows daily. Don't you want access to that?

For Cobble Publishing authors, we put in the effort it takes to make your book successful. We will invest in you in the form of advance royalties. We help with developmental, copy, and proof editing. We ensure a top quality product with professional formatting, covers, and promotional copy. We produce a marketing plan that we will contractually commit funds to. We sell to our exclusive list of Fantasy readers.

Publishing a book and finding a market is HARD. Don't you want to give your manuscript the best possible chance for success? If you are sitting on the sidelines, wondering what to do with that novel - submit it here. You'll never be a famous author without taking that first step :)


Independent or Traditional Publishing

With the rise of Independent Publishing, new authors are faced choices that didn't exist just a few short years ago. The old traditional routes to market still exist, independent publishing has become a lucrative option for those willing to put in the effort on the business, and hybrid solutions are becoming ever more popular.

When a new author tries to navigate these choices, the advice they receive is as passionate as it is inconsistent. Traditional authors vehemently defend their choice while independents can't imagine going that route. A simple question doesn't have a simple answer.

That's because the answer depends heavily on the person asking. If you want the prestige of having your books in stores across the country and being nominated for awards, then pursuing an agent then a Big 5 Publisher is the best way to do that. If you enjoy marketing and having complete creative freedom, then independent could be a good option for you.

Cobble Publishing is aimed at the ground in-between these two options. Our goal is to maximize revenue from an author's intellectual property, while allowing them to focus on what they love, writing. We treat our authors as partners, and we work with them to help sell books. We encourage involvement in marketing, and we provide coaching and support to teach our author's the most effective techniques.

Our authors aren't alone though, Cobble Publishing provides developmental edits, copy edits, and proof reading as needed for an individual work. We commission covers that capture the feel of the story while appealing to our target market. We commit to a marketing budget for a title and will use our expertise and platform to get an author's book in front of dedicated Fantasy readers.

At Cobble Publishing, we are completely transparent with our authors. We'll explain the techniques that made our founder, AC Cobble, one of the Top 5 Epic Fantasy debuts of 2016. If you want to achieve that level of success, reach out. We're happy to honestly explain the pros and cons of all of the different types of publishing. If our business model isn't right for your goals, that is Ok and we can part as friends. If, however, our model is in line with what you'd like to achieve, then we'd love to be partners with you.

Talk to you soon!


Cobble Publishing is Open for Business!

Cobble Publishing LLC is a brand new publishing company designed for the digital age. It is built on the experience of our founder, Andrew Cobble, who is a published author under the pen name AC Cobble. Our mission is to maximize the potential of each one of our Authors. If you would like to make writing your career, please carefully review our Submissions criteria then send in your manuscript.

We are accepting submissions for Fantasy Fiction and give preference to Swords & Sorcery, Epic, Dark, and Coming of Age tales. We like titles that have worldwide rights available for digital, print, and audio. Completed trilogies or series work best for our business model, but we can consider partially completed works of exceptional quality.

Cobble Publishing is not a vanity press - you do not pay us. If we like your title, we pay you an advance on royalties and we cover the cost of production. We commit to a marketing plan and will work with you to teach and schedule the most effective techniques we can use to sell books as partners.

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