January 7, 2024 - (This press release appeared first on our public Facebook page on January 5, 2024. It is released here in it's entirety. Modification was made to the original statement on the same day on our Facebook page and included here as well.)
Over the past week, we have released authors whose books are out of contract, or in contract but have reduced sales and no active rights deals in negotiation, per the authors’ wishes after conversation with them. Each situation has been carefully reviewed and taken on a case-by-case basis.
**Modification: City Owl Press did initiate email conversation with authors who, either on social media or via email, expressed unhappiness with their current sales and City Owl Press’s level of support regarding their books. City Owl Press did offer rights reversion as an option to some authors before a request was made by the author due to the author’s unhappiness in their current publishing with City Owl Press; other authors initiated the request for rights reversion via email first. Each case is unique to the author and their books, but we want to be clear that the rights reversion option was never meant to take away anything from the authors or their hard work, nor did we want to stop publishing their books with City Owl Press, but rather it was intended to give the author the option to leave their contracts early, if that was what they preferred. We have changed the language from “per author’s request” to “per authors’ wishes after conversation with them.” We hope this clarifies our statement.***
We wish these authors well in whatever comes next for them. And we hope to see their books back on the market, if they choose to re-release them in the capacity that best serves them and their careers.
Every author has a choice in their publishing journey. Small press is but one option. Some authors will sign with an agent and submit to trade publishers. Others will start their own business and self-publish their books. Every road is valid, and every author must decide what’s best for them and their books.
City Owl Press is for those who want: the indie methods and strategies without having to run their own business, and the trade connections to industry partners in audio, foreign rights, commercial media, and film/tv. We support authors as a small press with a release budget allocated to every new release, and a backlist budget to authors who publish three or more books in series with us. We aim to provide as much education, information, and transparency with authors as possible so they can make informed decisions about their careers.
Having started City Owl Press in 2014, we built it on the founding principle of “by authors for authors to bring the best books to readers.” We have made no secret of the fact that the founders and several of our team members are authors too, beyond their range of editorial and administrative experiences in trade publishing. The company formed because the founders and senior team saw a gap in the market between trade and indie publishing; many authors were turned down by trade because their books didn’t fit the industry interests at the time of querying, but those same authors didn’t have the time, desire, and/or financial means to self-publish. We wanted to be a third option with as much fairness, equity, and clarity as possible built into the foundation of our organizational model.
We are not going to be the correct path for everyone. But many authors who begin with us go on to be very successful in self-publishing. We are proud to be a part of their journey toward that goal. We have a vast amount of information available to our authors through our Author Guide and our FB group that provides hundreds of posts on every facet of the publishing industry. Being an indie author is hard work and benefits from a solid foundation of knowledge about publishing. If we help to provide that foundation, even in part, at the start of our authors’ careers, we are happy and grateful for it.
That said, we are not perfect. City Owl Press has real people behind its organizational face, and we make mistakes. Yet, we have and will always take accountability, apologize sincerely, and do our utmost best not to repeat them. Ten years is a long time to be a small press, when so many have come and gone. But we always strive to learn and grow from any issues that arise. It is never our intention for our authors to be unhappy in their time with us.
Despite the bumps in the road, we and our authors together have achieved a lot of success. Our track record over the last decade is clear via our deals on Publishers Marketplace, reviews in Publishers Weekly, and the bestselling status of several of our authors. Last year, we had a booth at New York Comic Con, and many of our authors signed their books. It was a milestone moment and one we are excited to have reached. Yet, we are continually aiming to bring greater opportunities to and for our authors. We adapt and change in an ever moving market. Our yearly retreats for our authors and editors is a time where we can slow down and connect, but also make progress, brainstorm ideas, and discuss all the highs and lows of the book world and what’s to come.
As to our team, they are a capable group with a range of talents, strengths, and abilities. Our partners are well respected in the industry and provide an enormous network of global connections. We could not do it without them. All information regarding our team members and partners, including bios, is easily accessible on our Team page.
We also have a FAQ section on our website. And we welcome the opportunity to add to it. Please feel free to use the Contact Us section with any questions. Thank you for your support, and we look forward to a great new year.
Yelena Casale and Tina Moss
City Owl Press