PGP BOOKS is the official blog of Paper Gold Publishing Ltd.


I am setting up a new category, here at PGP Books – Beautifully Penned.

My aim is to create a gallery of indie and new authors whose talent and writing quality is consistent and a model of their own genres, something the public can rely on without fear of bias.

The whole idea of delving into indie books is so that we can enjoy a wider perspective, a greater variety of subject, and an uncensored view of life, whether politically correct or not. New authors are pioneers of sorts, and it would be sad to lose the really good, enjoyable, and in many cases life-changing works of such talented people simply because they are hard to find.

Beautifully Penned is my solution to the overcrowding problem in e-book publishing nowadays. I will be biased, of course – these posts will be relaying simply my own opinion – but for each entry I will explain why I believe that particular book is worth the recognition, and what exactly caught my eye. Where possible, I will include excerpts, so you can judge for yourself. And I assure you, after the many thousands of novels I’ve read in my life, and many years of working in content editing, it takes a lot for a novel to grab and hold my attention.

These works will not be simply good, they will be examples of almost-perfection in their genres. Only talent that truly impresses me will make it here.

Watch this space.


BRUCE BLAKE – a talent to watch.

Ranked 6th in Metaphysical & Visionary

Ranked 12th in Epic Fantasy

You can get both books of the Small Gods Series for a total of 99c today.


Tip: also try Bruce Blake’s KHIRRO’S JOURNEY – my absolute favorite. God, I loved those books!

Bright colors of clouds and sun at sunset

Connections Magazine – Summer Issue – Feature and Review

Just a quick note to point out an easy way to increase your exposure: Connections Magazine is a quarterly publication full of news, reviews and other literary goodies.

And yes, PGP has a spread in there – look for it in the promo section towards the end (pages 56-57). There is also a review of Proof and Edit 101 from Pelicanfreak (page 64), a resource available for free to all Paper Gold Publishing members.

See all our free resources here:

Visit Connections Magazine


PANDE101 review small

PANDE101 review

Publishing: The New Question

P1010477The new question in publishing is no longer whether or not to publish. After the maelstrom of the last fifteen years or so, everyone has settled on the obvious. Because it’s easy. And why not?

The new question is HOW.

Traditional? Small press? Indie? A combination of the three?

Accounts abound, from both never-before published authors, as well as already successful names, on the journeys, troubles and pitfalls of taking one path over another while struggling to make the publishing dream a reality. From where I stand, there is no best way. So much depends on your personal comfort, the activities you are best suited to perform, your patience, work ethos, how you feel when interacting with the public, and your willingness to adapt and compromise, invent and re-design, in a time when all seems to have already been invented.

Read one such account from Harry Bingham, guest on Jane Friedman’s blog.

Bingham is a well-known author of thrillers and mysteries (among others). He has clearly identified the developments in the publishing industry, and with them the obstacles that stand in the way of a natural path to modernization. Common sense is something that is obvious to the man on the street, it seems, but not the massive corporation.

borders_Palo_altoHere’s what led to Bingham’s decision to go it alone. You can read the article in its entirety here.

[…]I was pretty pleased. An author’s turbulent life looked, for once, to be pretty calm. With hindsight, I was like the pretty teenager in the weird, creaky house who decided, “Nope, there’s nothing to worry about here.” The quiet bit before the horror starts.

Because the two books I did with Random sold well as ebooks, they pretty much failed in print. The $27 hardback isn’t an obviously desirable product for today’s crime/mystery reader—certainly not when debuts are concerned—and the book basically flunked. Because retailers couldn’t shift the hardback, they didn’t want to be burned twice, so they ordered the paperback only in very limited numbers. That too sold horribly.

What we had was a paradox—emblematic of that third era in publishing—where a book could have (a) great reviews, (b) a good author-publisher relationship, (c) excellent production quality, (d) strong ebook sales, yet (e) be a print failure. What were we to do?

To me, it was obvious that we needed to establish the series in stages. We’d start with ebooks, priced so as to attract the risk-averse buyer. Then, once we’d built a base, we’d start to issue affordably priced paperbacks. Then, once all that was strong enough, we’d offer the premium priced hardback too. Simple.

Only not. For one thing, Random House wasn’t set up to work like that. There were e-only imprints (Alibi) and there were hardback imprints (Delacorte). There wasn’t, and isn’t, an imprint able simply to publish a title in whatever was most natural to that author and that book.

And then too, if I was going to be published e-only by Random House, I would receive just 25% of net ebook receipts. That’s about 17% of the ebook’s cover price as opposed to more like 70% by simply publishing direct with Amazon. I couldn’t understand why I’d want to do that. I mean, yes, I’d have listened if they’d come to me saying, “Harry, I know giving up 75% of those net receipts sounds like a lot, but we’re going to add a whole ton of value to the publication process. We’re going to do a whole heap of things that you can’t do on your own. And here’s a stack of in-house data which shows that we can boost your sales way past the point you could achieve.”

The Strange Death of Fiona GriffithsThey didn’t say that. They didn’t actually make any argument at all. When I said no to 25% royalties, that was it. No further conversation.

Bingham decided to take matters in his own hands. Was it difficult? No. Publishing is easy, if you know what to do and are bright enough to keep away from web-based con artists. Here’s what he did:

That book has just come out. It cost me about $2,000 to publish the book. That sum includes cover design, editorial work, manuscript conversion and some marketing activity—primarily an author blog tour and a paid Kirkus review. I know there’s debate in the indie community as to whether it makes sense to pay $425 for a Kirkus review, but the investment has come good for me. Kirkus described the book as “exceptional” and gave me some very quotable quotes. I don’t think you can easily quantify the impact of that review but, for me, I’m much happier marketing a book that has some potent third-party endorsements.

It’s way too soon in the publication process to evaluate whether my experiment has been successful, but my pre-orders were sufficiently good that I’d repaid my upfront investment on the day of publication itself.

How are you publishing your book? Is there a future for the bricks-and-mortar bookshop? As the founder of a very fresh, shiny and new small press committed to producing excellent content in the modern publishing world, I am interested in all you have to say. Comment below and let me know what you think.


Visit Harry Bingham’s site here (and what an awesome site it is!).

As for publishing resources and news about the industry, I wholeheartedly recommend following Jane Friedman.

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