Get to know Cranthorpe Millner Publishers
Cranthorpe Millner Publishers was established in January 2018 and now has a family of around 15 authors, the first big title being Shaun Wallace’s autobiography, Chasing the Dream. Cranthorpe Millner's Chairman, David Hahn, has worked in the media industry for longer than he’d care to admit and he brings with him an enviable wealth of contacts in the media and an abundance of experience. It is through him that this publisher has access to celeb clients, which is brilliant exposure for the company and for their other authors.
We touched base with Cranthorpe Millner's Managing Director, Kirsty-Ellen Smillie to learn more about the company and how hybrid publishing works:
Can you tell us a bit about your company and how you work with authors?
It is really important to us that we are open, honest and friendly. There are absolutely bigger publishing houses than ours out there, but we pride ourselves on being a close-knit group of people who encourage constant communication and help through every step of the publication process and beyond. The last thing we want to be is a faceless corporation churning out books. We take time and care in choosing the authors we want to work with and we nurture those relationships.
How do you think indie publishers are changing the publishing landscape?
Well the publishing landscape has changed so substantially over the last ten years or so that you desperately need Indie publishers. Small publishing houses are mavericks. They are imperative to the industry because it’s through houses like ours where untapped creativity and genius can be found. We take risks and we commit so hard to all of our authors because our success relies solely on them. The ‘Big Five’ don’t and won’t take risks on an unknown author, Indie publishers will. It’s such a shame because usually as soon as an Indie publisher starts to do well, they get absorbed by a bigger publishing house. I genuinely believe you need Indie publishers. I don’t see how the publishing industry would grow without them.
You operate using a hybrid publishing model, can you explain to authors what that means and the advantages?
Hybrid essentially means the halfway point between self-publishing and traditional publishing. The first can be too time consuming with too few rewards, the second can be simply too hard to come by. Hybrid means the author invests a small amount in the publishing process alongside the publisher, and in turn the author receives a traditional publishing house experience. Every author receives traditional distribution and an experienced editorial and production team, while – probably most importantly of all - retaining full ownership of the project. The author retains copyright over their work at all times as per our contract. It is a collaborative project. With a traditional house you lose creative control over your work, we would never take that from an author. Furthermore, it means we are happy to accept unsolicited manuscripts. A lot of publishing houses won’t do that because they are so inundated with submissions that if it doesn’t come from an agent they won’t take the time to look at it. A literary agent can be just as hard to come by as a publisher!
Once you decide to sign an author, what is the next step for both yourself and the author?
The author is immediately assigned an editor, with whom they work very closely. We often arrange a meeting face to face at this point as it definitely helps when the author knows their editor well. Proofs will be exchanged – as many as it takes until both the author and publisher are happy they have made the manuscript the best it can be. A cover is created, in collaboration with the author, and then they are passed over to their Marketing Coordinator, who they will continue to work closely throughout all stages of the marketing process. The main thing is that at every stage the author always feels they have someone they can reach out to and they are never kept in the dark over what’s happening with their book.
What do you think is the biggest mistake authors make when submitting to publishers?
Personally, I don’t like it when it’s very clear the author is just blanket submitting their work to anyone they can find which shows they haven’t done their research. It just shows a level of nonchalance on the author’s part which makes me nervous about working with them. We are proactive and enthusiastic and dedicated to every book we work with – and we need our authors to be the same. Complacency will get you nowhere!