Today, we have an interview with Relay Publishing and their managing director, Harry Wallett.
WW: What first got you into publishing?
HW: I’ve always loved stories and working with writers, but it was the arrival of the Kindle in 2007 that really set things in motion for publishing books. In those first few years of the Kindle there wasn’t anywhere near the volume of books available that there is today, but what was there I devoured. You could fit an entire library on a device the size of a small notebook and take it wherever you went! Magic!
But what I also found fascinating was the reviews that were listed on the book’s web page and the honesty with which readers shared their opinions.
It was in the reviews of some of my favourite books, where I found myself nodding along to a reader’s thoughts on a title, that really started Relay.
What if this fantasy novel spent more pages on court intrigue and political alliances, than the repetitive battle scenes? What if the heroine had a grumpy dragon as her sidekick? What if this post-apocalyptic book was full of survivalist information? What if this romance story’s hero was a prince?
These were some of the explicit requests from readers that I began to see in multiple reviews. Readers were telling the world, practically shouting it out in some reviews(!), what they wanted from a story, but it didn’t really seem like any publisher was listening.
WW: How did Relay Publishing start?
HW: Relay began really as an experiment to see if we could create a book in a new, collaborative and reader-centric way. We started with a specific reader in mind, what they love in a story as well as what they hate. Then we build from there: a catchy premise, an outline, then a manuscript, before adding on all the packaging: cover, blurb and marketing. We had different people working on each stage based on their strengths—for example, a writer may excel as plotting and character arcs in an outline, but not enjoy actually writing the manuscript, so that would be given to another writer. The process was super fun and that showed in the finished book, which went on to sell 70,000+ copies.
WW: How have you grown since starting in 2013?
HW: We’ve expanded into more genres, more languages and more formats—and continue to grow!
WW: What do you look for in a writer you want to publish? What makes you choose a writer to work with?
HW: We look for writers that, first and foremost, are team players. Our process is incredibly collaborative, so you must be able to work well with others, take external ideas and feedback on board, and really just have a love for talking about stories.
WW: Why should a writer want to work with Relay Publishing?
HW: 1. You want to earn a living doing what you love: writing.
2. You want to work with a team of talented and hard-working creatives with a singular goal of creating a page-turning story.
3. You want to continue to develop your craft and improve your writing from professional editorial feedback.
WW: What's a mistake you see a lot of writers making?
HW: Not reading enough! Read the bestsellers, the flops, outside your favourite genre, re-read your genre favourites, reader reviews (3 stars are the best!), etc.
WW: Any advice you can give writers to help them improve?
HW: Getting editorial feedback from professionals is the quickest way to improve your writing. It can be costly hiring your own editor outside of a publisher, but the right editor will cut years off your development.
WW: What books of yours are you most excited for readers to check out?
HW: We always build our books around a specific reader, so based on your favourite genre:
Fantasy? Check out a fresh take on a dragon riding story with Dragon Tamer.
Post-Apocalyptic? When the world is plunged into darkness after an EMP, chaos reigns supreme in Survive the Chaos.
Thriller? Dark secrets and shocking twists await in A Mother’s Lie.
Romance? In the mood for red-hot SEALs, determined heroines, a sizzling romance and a sprinkling of danger? Protecting his New Family.
WW: What are you reading at the moment?
HW: I’m on a serial killer binge currently—L.T. Vargus, A.J. Rivers, Mary Stone, Lisa Regan and Leslie Wolfe are currently loaded up on the Kindle app!
Looking to join the Relay Publishing Team? You can check out their website here!