Thistle vs The Rest

M J Trow writes about his experiences with the agency’s imprint Thistle Publishing.

As the author of over forty fiction titles I do have, as one might expect, a rather chunky backlist and it was with this in mind that I began my collaboration with Thistle Publishing. It was nothing but seamless from the start, with great feedback from fans via my website who were suddenly able to re-visit books of mine they had lost over the years to flood, disaster and lending them to feckless friends who had omitted to return them. It seemed a very natural progression from there to place my next two new titles with Thistle and so Maxwell has been able to Return and Lestrade’s battle with the Giant Rat of Sumatra has been chronicled at long last.

As a totally non-digital person, I had always viewed ebooks with some suspicion but I must say that I now am rarely without my Kindle and this is the case for many readers who had always sworn undying fealty to the print and paper world. Thistle of course also publish, through the auspices of Amazon, paperback copies of all the books in their list and there are many people out there who still stick to this genre, being happier with something ‘concrete’ in their hand. Delivery is quick, quality is excellent and so, stealing a phrase from a more digitally-minded generation for a moment, what’s not to like?

But it isn’t just that Thistle were wise and perspicacious enough to publish my back (and also front) list. Their commissioning editor is a whizz Tweeter and also has learned the way to the heart of the Amazon machine, getting my books offered as Deal of the Day and many other promotions over the eighteen months I have been published by them. This has brought my titles to a whole new audience and this has been borne out by feedback from fans. Of course, everyone knows now that everything that is for sale, from birdseed to books, needs plenty of exposure in social media and other online platforms and this seems, sadly, to be where many publishers are falling down on the job. Thistle has grasped this principle where many of its bigger siblings seem to shy away from it.

Clearly, there are still many ways of publicising any book but the digital road, even for old dinosaurs like me, is very much the way to go these days. A nice ad in a trade magazine is still a great addition to the scrapbook, but it reaches a tiny minority compared with a Tweet, a Facebook post or a blog on Publishing Perspectives. I admit that I will never be as digitally aware as the nearest four year old, but it is to the next generations that we must look. Publishers in general – and there are some, along with Thistle who have done this already; you know who you are! – must shake off the dust of understated publicity and get out there into the big, wide, digital world, tweeting as they go!