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  • Martyn Ellington

GOING FROM BEING AUTHOR'S TO CREATING A PUBLISHING HOUSE AND THEN USED CAR SALESMEN.

Ahh, writing, the great distraction. At least it is for me. When I write, I create characters, I flesh them out until they become real people and then I create a world for them to live in—which is normally then destroyed or some such, but hey, I don’t do happy-ever-after stuff. Besides, there’s enough of that out there already. And that’s great and all but what about when the novel is finished? What are the next steps before you, the paying customers, can get hold of a copy and tell us, the writers, where we went wrong or what you would have done differently?

After Steve and I had completed the first draft of Tomorrow’s Flight back in late 2017 we sent it into an industry competition run by Pipeline Media called, Book Pipeline. Out of 2000 entries, our rough draft became a finalist. To be clear this competition seeks to find the next great concept to become a movie or show. Wow, we thought, this is great! And yet, even with this accolade when it came time to begin shopping the final version around in 2019 we couldn’t get a single publishing deal we thought was acceptable.

While we were being exhausted by the process of finding a publisher or agent, and just as the pandemic hit, we started a small production company called MESS-Flicks. The aim of this was to develop our film and TV projects to a point where they would be commercially viable and then either sell them or team up with other production companies to produce them. After we failed to land a publishing deal for Tomorrow’s Flight we decided to do it ourselves and so MESS publishing was born in 2021. This seemed an elegant solution to a problem that shouldn’t really exist. But boy, were we wrong about that.

You see, the thing is, neither of us had any experience in running a publishing company or even publishing a novel. We’d both been published and dealt with publishers, but we had no real idea what they did and we had no time to prepare. With the book launch set for July 2021, we had three months to get it done. Whilst I won’t bore you with the details, we did of course manage at the literal twelfth hour to get it done. So, we had a book, which had been professionally designed and laid out (You can see an interview with Kimberly Richie about that on this site) and we had a publishing imprint. Great, we thought, what’s next? Oh yeah, now we have to sell it! Ah, crap…


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