You and your wife, Marieke, run Satalyte Publishing. For those unfamiliar with Satalyte, what kinds of services does Satalyte offer for writers?
Satalyte Publishing is a traditional publishing house. If your novel is accepted by us we will edit and design the novel. We talk to the author through every stage of the process, producing a result that we will both be happy with. A novel needs to find an audience, and if an author is not happy with the way their novel looks, then they are going to struggle to sell it.
Currently our submissions process is closed, as we had well over 200 submissions in the first six months. We will open it on an ad-hoc basis, but at the moment I am approaching the authors I want to publish.
We have also started a new branch: Satalyte Book Services. This offers the opportunity for a self publishing author to work with us and allow them to create something they would be proud to release. This service will brand the author’s novel as they wish. If you want to self publish, we will build a professional product for you. Obviously, this is a fee based service.
Satalyte is still relatively new. What has it been like starting a publishing business?
When I decided to start the business, Marieke announced that we were pregnant. Even with the knowledge of having that new difficulty in our lives, I pushed on. To say that it wasn’t my wisest choice would be an understatement. Would I change it now if I got the opportunity? No.
For the first nine months of getting the business set up, Marieke was carrying our youngest daughter. A week before Elizabeth was born, we released Great Southern Land. We both hope to build this business up as a legacy for our children, and to make a difference much like Text does.
It’s exciting, frustrating, intense, difficult, fun… and that’s a standard week. We put in a lot of hours a week to produce our works, and struggle to do so much between Marieke, myself and our incredible intern, Lyss. (PS: If you would like to intern with us, please contact us! Help us bring great and creative literature to life.) We love the thrill of meeting our readers, and the best way we see to do that is to get to as many events as possible.
Satalyte has some established authors such as Jack Dann and Dirk Strasser, as well as some early-career authors such as Tarran Jones, whose short stories Dance of the Gods and The Old Jenson Place were shortlisted in competitions on this site in April 2011 and December 2011). What makes Satalyte different from other publishers and attracts authors to choose Satalyte?
We’re not sure, to tell you the truth. I think it’s that everybody is getting to know us, and they see that we do get to the events and that we push all of our titles all of the time. We like to think of Satalyte as a big family, and this means that the authors pitch in! That means if we do a convention, such as Supanova, we will have authors there behind the desk selling not only their book, but the range of Satalyte titles to a customer.
I think that they feel part of something new, exciting and potentially big. That’s how we see it.
When you have Jack Dann telling you that you’re making all the right noises, you have to believe it.
Satalyte promotes authors’ books at events such as the recent Foster Show in regional Victoria. How important is marketing and publicity – an area that is sometimes neglected by small publishers – to what you do?
Marketing is everything after the book is released. In the case of the Foster Show, it’s a chance to meet our potential new readers in our most immediate vicinity. The other side of it is that we need to keep selling books to keep relevant, and the best way to do that is to be out there. As we have authors in almost every state, we can have someone signing almost all the time. That gives us an opportunity to market an event as a Meet and Greet.
Also, we try to launch as many of our novels as possible. This gets us into the bookstores, which gives attention to our releases, which, if the event goes well, has the bookstore more willing to stock Satalyte titles. It all about push, push, push, but being seen as doing it the right way.
What do you look for in submissions sent to Satalyte?
This is what got me into so much trouble early on. I found so many great works out there, just being neglected by everybody else, that I signed up way too many books for our own good. I think we have just got through that initial block and still have a great backlog of titles. We also have some of our authors wanting to release more than one title with us, which is the main reason we have closed submissions.
We also have a bulldog! Our intern, Lyss, does all of the submissions reading now, and we have found she has a very good eye for it.
At Conflux, we were involved in pitching sessions, which really exposed Lyss and I to the authors. That changed things for me, as it was the first time I looked at an author for both their words but also how sociable they appear. In the day of social media, I’m starting to see that an author needs to be willing to get amongst the readers, as they love being able to be personable with their favourite new author.
Satalyte publishes across a variety of genres but are there some particular kinds of fiction that Satalyte is becoming known for or would specifically like to build on with more books of that kind?
This was all personal choice based on my reading over 35 years. I suppose I’ve read more science fiction and fantasy than anything else, and that shows with our releases. Another thing may be that I was known in the spec fic scene a little more early on.
We realised this and made a determined effort to fill out our list with a select set of genres. We continue to look for titles in as many genres as possible. We see this as the best way to be found, using the logic that if you like one of our titles in a specific genre, then you may just be willing to try one of our titles in a different genre.
We will probably continue to have more speculative fiction titles, due to recurring authors, and I don’t mind that. It gets us to the Confluxs, Continuums and Nat Cons, which are a buzz.
What are some of the new books can readers look forward to from Satalyte this year?
Are you really for this? We look like having some twenty more titles (in both paper and ebook) out this year, including:
The Rebel: Second Chance by Jack Dann
Tales of Cymria by K. J. Taylor
The Cloak of Calliver (The Talismans Book Two) by Satima Flavell
Into the Heart of Varste (Across the Stonewind Sky Book Two) by Ged Maybury
The Art of Effective Dreaming by Gillian Polack
North of Dragonlands by Stephen Dedman
A Quiet Place by Andrew McKiernan
The Morgan Template edited by Paul Collins (including names like John Alderson, Patricia Bernard, Russell Blackford, Paul Collins, David Lake, Sean McMullen, Wynne N. Whiteford, Jack Wodhams and A. Bertram Chandler).
Our titles are (usually) listed early as pre-orders.
Satalyte Publishing’s website: www.satalyte.com.au
The Australian Literature Review