Lou Johnson founded The Author People and is located in the same offices as Murdoch Books and Allen and Unwin. She is currently in the role of Publishing Director at Murdoch Books as well as running The Author People – so Lou has a lot on her plate! With a long career in publishing that includes stints at Simon and Schuster and Allen and Unwin, Lou has vast experience in publishing and wears many hats in her job. At the Author People, Lou works with a team that looks after design, editorial, Spanish Language Rights, Books Without Boundaries, and looking for the “story behind the story”, as she told me on Friday the 30th of June, at the book launch for A Reluctant Warrior by Kelly Brooke Nicholls.
I first came to find out about The Author People and their mission through Kelly Brooke Nicholls, when she advertised for an intern to help her research places to market and promote her book. Through this internship, I was introduced to a side of publishing and book marketing I had not really thought about before, but having experienced this side, the side of the reader and reviewer, and the submissions side with Pantera Press, I have seen that all of these thing combined, plus many more, are crucial for a small publisher like The Author People to succeed. Below is a direct quote from the website and Lou’s profile that reflects the mission of The Author People:
“We publish books without boundaries – We currently publish into paperback, eBook and licensed audiobook formats and are excited to see what will come next. Our books are available simultaneously worldwide through our shopping cart, affiliate networks and participating retailers and partners.
We publish Authors, not just their books – We know that the relationship between Authors and People transcends books so our partnership will usually start with a book but it may not end there. We help Authors and People connect in all the places, spaces and forms that work best for them, all around the world. Examples of this may include events, speaking engagements and partnerships.
We connect Authors and People – We are always looking for opportunities to bring Authors and People together and love working with other content developers, platforms and associations to explore ways of doing this.”
Lou had big plans to build The Author People when she was offered her current position at Murdoch Books, but felt it was too good a position to pass up. She still works with her company, nurturing new authors that have a powerful story to tell, stories that perhaps might not get published elsewhere. Lou is not offering internships with The Author People or seeking new submissions, nor do they give feedback – not unique in the publishing world but understandable given that Lou is the main fixture at The Author People alongside her job at Murdoch Books, which is just as demanding.
The Author People’s list on their website has eleven books out at the moment. A list of these and which ones have been reviewed for the challenge can be found below:
A Reluctant Warrior by Kelly Brooke Nicholls – reviewed by
Sky by Ondine Sherman
Saving Sarah: Learning to Live, Love and Laugh with ADHA by Susy Parker
The Cleanskin by Laura Bloom – reviewed by
In The Mood by Laura Bloom
Step by Step: Finding my Way Back to Me by Linda Buchan
Jewel Sea by Kim Kelly – reviewed by
Wild Chicory by Kim Kelly – reviewed by
Dogs of India by Polly McGee – reviewed by
They publish both fiction and non-fiction across several genres, and publish in print and e-book to appeal to both sides of the market, and can be bought online through the publisher and online booksellers, as well as bricks and mortar stores across the country that opt to supply them. So far, it does not look like any of the books have been nominated for prizes.
Working with Kelly, and meeting Lou has given me insight into how small publishers are a good thing for the book industry – they are a valuable resource when it comes to finding a home for a book that might not fit elsewhere, but also to give first time authors whose work might otherwise slip into the slush pile a chance. Reading through the website, most of the books that The Author People had published that I found were by women writers, which may be coincidental but at the same time, is working to raise the profile of women writers in Australia.
Glancing at reviews across the Internet, Kim Kelly might be their most popular author, primarily based on how many books she has published through them and how many people know her name.
The Author People work hard at telling human stories and the story behind the story, working with the author for the best outcome. It is a philosophy that I can get behind, and whatever the story, whether it is kidnappings and human rights abuses in Colombia (A Reluctant Warrior by Kelly Brooke Nicholls), or a teenage girl passionately fighting for animal welfare (Sky by Ondine Sherman), each book has a powerful message that makes you think and leaves room for the reader to consider their own choices.
Lou is happy to share digital editions of books published by the Author People for review by AWW participants and they occasionally drop their eBook prices. Keep an eye out at your local bookseller for special deals on books published by The Author People.
About Ashleigh: I’m a book reviewer, student, aspiring author and hopeful editor living on the Central Coast, NSW. I blog at The Book Muse and can be found on Twitter @TheBookMuse1.