SPF-116: Publishing 3.0 – with Jasper Joffe

Today I would like to share with you the transcript from SPF Podcast 116 Jasper Joffe 

I found it very interesting listening to Jasper explaining about his publishing company, Joffe Books (www.joffebooks.com)  From tomorrow (30/04) I will be running a rolling blog on what Joffe authors think about Joffe Books and Jasper and about their books.


©2018 The Self Publishing Formula. All rights reserved.

Jasper, welcome to the Self Publishing Formula Podcast. It’s a real treat to
have you on. I think we’re going to learn a lot from your experience over
the last couple of years.

Why don’t you start off by telling people who you are, and what it is
that’s happened in your business?

Jasper Joffe: Hi, James. I’m Jasper Joffe and I started Joffe Books about
four of five years ago. I mean, seriously.

Before that, I was actually an artist, a painter of pictures, and it’s been
phenomenal. The growth every year has been doubling.

In 2017, we sold 1.24 million books. An equal amount of books read on
Kindle Unlimited. We’ve been working with such great authors like Joy Ellis,
Helen Durrant, TJ Brearton.

Our topselling author, Joy Ellis, whose books are just really popular, she’s
alone sold a million books since she’s worked with us.

James Blatch: Wow.

Tell us a little bit about where you sit in terms of the old, traditional
industry, the new indie self-publishers … because I get the feeling the
way you operate is somewhere in between?

Jasper Joffe: Well, yeah. Actually, I came across Mark Dawson and selfpublishing
and I’ve learned a lot from it, and so when you told me you
wanted me to be on, I was really excited.

In fact, I’ve only ever read the transcripts of all the interviews. I never
watched the podcast, so strangely enough, this is strange to be in physical
form with you.

We are a publisher who works not as, obviously, a self-publisher.
Sometimes people go, “Are you a self-publisher?” No, we don’t publish our
own books.

We publish other people’s books, but we have some of the same flexibility,
I think, as a self-publisher. We work exclusively with Amazon. We only sell
through Amazon, so that simplifies our distribution. We’ve found that to be
just an exceptional and simple way of selling lots of books, but we work
with lots of authors.

We pay them royalties, so like a traditional publisher. We tend not to pay
advances. I don’t know, I think the difference is we don’t have all the
infrastructure and sort of … “traditions” is maybe the wrong word … of an
old-fashioned publisher.

We just do the things that we need to do, to get the books out to the
public, rather than probably all the other stuff that other publishers do.

James Blatch: I suppose one important difference is you’re a lean
organization because you’re just starting up and you’re agile and you don’t
have the tall buildings in West London or wherever to have to pay for every
day. Does that have an effect?

Obviously, I realize there’s commercial sensitivities about the deals
you do, but does that have an effect on the amount of royalty that you
take?

Jasper Joffe: Yes, I think so. I can’t, obviously, give exact details. That’s
confidential between us and the authors, but as far as I’ve seen from
traditional publishing contracts, quite a significant portion more to the
author.

The other thing is, we spend money on the things that help the books do
well, and make the books good. So of course, we get loads and loads of
submissions, and we only choose a very few of those authors to work with.
We spend a lot of money on editing and a lot of time on editing, and then
we spend a lot of money on advertising, and we don’t spend money on
other stuff, so my office looks a bit bare because there’s no need to have …
I don’t know, whatever anyone else spends money on, but I don’t
understand what the other stuff is all for, really.

We want really great books. We want to reach the reader, and we want to
reach as many readers as possible. So that’s as far as I can see … I mean, I’m
willing to learn, but what else would you spend money on?

James Blatch: I think that’s great. I think it’s really exciting. I suspect,
although you sit in your office and you say it doesn’t look great … The rest
of it looks fine, your office, by the way … but I suspect what you are starting
to realize is that you are in the vanguard of that type of industry.
My personal view is, I can’t see the big traditional publishers surviving in
the long term. I think people will either go indie or people like your
organization will come along, a much fairer split, in terms of … It’s just not
right that the person who writes the book ends up with something like 8%
of the cover price coming to them. For me, that’s unfair, an unfair split.
I know it’s difficult marketing and selling a book, but creating it has
got to be worth more than that, right?

Jasper Joffe: Yes, the author comes first. I always say that to our authors. I
say, “Look, we do our job and we try and do it as well as possible, and we
pay attention to every little detail, but you’ve written the book. You’re the
important person. You’ve put all that work in. You’ve put months of writing,
and we think you’re really good at writing books, so we just wanna get you
out to the people, and get you selling your books because you’ve done the
amazing bit.”

I don’t see there’s a sort of war between indie and trad publishing. I love
reading books. I don’t care whether they’re on Kindle or in paperback or if I
read them on my phone. Actually, I like reading on Kindle the best, but
there’s room for everyone.

Whether that model of doing all those things that traditional publishers do
will hold up or not? Honestly, I hope they do, because I want to read some
of the books they produce. I want to read some of the books that indie
publishers and self-publishers write.

I don’t think there has to be a hierarchy like, “Oh, I’ve got a trad publishing
contract. I’m publishing indie. I’m self-publishing.” What matters is, the
book is good.

James Blatch: I just think about the fairness to the author in terms of how
the traditional industry works at the moment, and whether there needs to
be an adjustment.

So not necessarily that they won’t be around in the long term, but they
would have to adjust their model, particularly if your type of company is
better known and more obviously an option for people, then they’re gonna
start to do those sums and think, “But why would I go with a bigger contract
where I might get a bit of initial attention, but then it kind of slides …” and
that’s a very traditional story we hear from the trad publishing.

I noticed you went to school with Zadie Smith. The big names, they get
constant attention. There’s momentum.

But for every one of them, there’s a hundred other names that have
one or two books on the advance and they didn’t really get any
traction after that.

Jasper Joffe: Yes. The other thing is, we pay quarterly for example, because
I used to be an artist. I’ve published a book.

For some publishing companies, they pay yearly. How can anyone live on a
yearly payment? We get the money in, we pay it out to the authors. That’s
how I think it should work. There’s not so many layers of people.

I also work with some authors who have agents, but the more people you
have involved, the slower things are. It’s not just that, at every stage, they
take a bit of money out. It’s also that you can’t make decisions very fast.
If we think we’ve got something wrong with a book, we change it that day. I
tend to answer emails within an hour, and I’m running the company, so
there’s this kind of flexibility and we adapt to, if readers start wanting
something else, we can change the cover. We can change the blurb.
It’s that indie kind of spirit of being able to do everything and do it yourself
and not have 50 people who you have to pay, who you have to talk to, who
you have to reach some sort of compromise decision with, and maybe
that’s not the best decision.

But as I say, I’m not against trad publishing. They obviously produce some
amazing books, which I want to read too, so I don’t want to see it as them
and us.

James Blatch: Yeah. You say you tend not to do advances, but I suppose if
you’re investing advertising and editorial rounds, that is in a way an
advance, so you’re investing in the book.

And then I’m assuming the way it works is you’ll pay that off from the
royalties as they come through?

Jasper Joffe: Well, no. It’s very simple. We pay the authors a royalty and
whatever our costs are, of course we don’t take it out of their percentage.
They get the same percentage however much we spend on the book.
We spend an awful lot of money on advertising at the moment, but
obviously we think that’s getting a return on investment, but no, there are
no costs to the author besides. They get their percentage and that’s it.

James Blatch: That makes more sense, and that seems a very fair way of
doing it. Well, let me ask you then. I can see some of the growth figures
you’ve had look exceptional.

I’m guessing that some books fly, other books are harder work, but
overall you’re making great progress, yeah?

Jasper Joffe: Yeah, we’re doing well. At one point this year, we had 16 of
the top hundred Kindle books. Some days I can’t believe it. Some days the
authors can’t believe it.

We work with Faith Martin, who’s a great mystery writer, and we just sent
her a royalty statement, and she was like, “Is that for the year?” I was like,
“No, that’s the quarter.” It’s fantastic.

These are people who’ve worked, often their whole life writing books, who
are extremely talented, and just to put it in brass tacks, they’ve never
earned that much money before. And it’s so exciting.

Their lives are changing, of course where my life has changed being a
publisher. Even in the last three months, we’ve sold 700,000 books, plus an
equal amount … because we’re exclusive to Amazon, all our books are in
Kindle Unlimited, so we reckon about the same number if you add it all up
in terms of Kindle Unlimited.

So effectively, we’ve sold 1.4 million books in the last three months alone.
Which is a lot of books. I sort of sometimes can’t get my head round it, that
there’s a lot of people reading these books.

James Blatch: That’s terrific. Congratulations on that, and you’re obviously
getting a lot right in the way you do it.

I agree with you about the exciting bit is sending that check to the author,
because I think, since I’ve been in this industry, I have read two articles,
almost identical, both published by … I think The Guardian, so there’s
possibly just sort of a recurring theme here, of Booker Prize-nominated
authors who’ve gone back to their professions, because they haven’t made
any money.

One’s gone back to being a solicitor. I can’t remember what the other
profession was. Everyone who reads that, you think, “Well, they must have
sold a volume of books as a Booker-listed author, but I’m wondering how
much of the money they ever saw?”

Jasper Joffe: Exactly, and it’s probably only at that point where they’re
nominated for the Booker prize or win the Booker prize that they get all that
money and then the sales probably decline.

It’s a great moment every quarter just paying out more and more money to
the authors, and the authors are just … They’re really happy. They’re
overjoyed.

James Blatch: And so they should be. Okay, let’s talk a little bit about the
detail on this. You say advertising.
Principally, where are you advertising and spending on?

Jasper Joffe: We actually signed up for Mark Dawson’s course, so I just
want to say thank you for that. I’m not trying to publicize it. I learned a lot
from it. I try and learn all the time.

That’s the other thing about running the company as an indie, is that you’re
always looking for new information. I’m following your podcast. I’m
Googling stuff all the time. I always want to learn how to do things better.
Haven’t got it all sorted out. It’s not perfect. We could always get better.
Our main advertising platforms are Facebook and AMS ads. Up to about
probably six months ago, it was all Facebook. I sometimes see the bills and
they’re shocking. Obviously I see the bills all the time, but sometimes
you’re like, “What, we spend 2000 pounds in three days?” Sort of thing.
And then, AMS has got better lately. I’m sure I’ve seen you guys talking
about that. AMS being advertising on Amazon itself, which makes a lot of
sense because people are buying books on Amazon.

Why not advertise to them on Amazon? And I’m slightly worried that I’m
gonna tell you this and my cost per click is gonna rise for my AMS ads, but

James Blatch: We always remind people that it’s actually a very small
percentage that we talk to on this podcast. It sounds like thousands of
people, and it is thousands of people, but it’s out of the wide world of
people who are doing this, there’s this small percentage of you and Mark
and other people who know this is happening, so I wouldn’t worry too
much about that.

Jasper Joffe: Okay.

James Blatch: Mark’s convinced we have no effect on the cost per click of
anything. Good, well that’s great to hear.

Thank you for name-checking the course, I’m sure Mark will be thrilled with
that when I come back to chat with him again in a moment.

I’m intrigued by this, because we occasionally go to the literary launches,
which is very nice, and have a glass of champagne at the big … I won’t
name them, but the big traditional publishers, and when I start to have this
conversation, they’re fascinated with us, but they are also clueless. I mean
clueless in a polite way.

It’s just not really in their area of expertise, and a lot of them have said to
me, “Oh, can I have a look at the course? That sounds amazing,” and I’m
thinking, “You’re selling books. You should really be all over this stuff.”
Jasper Joffe: “You should know this.” Yeah.

James Blatch: But they’re not.

Jasper Joffe: Although recently, I have to say … because I’m always on
Facebook looking at our ads, checking our returns. There have been more
traditional publishers using quite similar Facebook ads to the indies and
the self-published authors.

The funny thing is, I see them but they’re not … What I think is, as I say,
they’re just not integrated in the company. They probably have a
department doing that, or they outsource it to someone, and so you don’t
feel like they have that knowledge of the book that they’re selling. The
readers, their audience.

It’s like getting a Facebook comment and responding to it straight away, as
opposed to someone who runs an advertising department for a company,
who doesn’t probably have that same engagement with readers that we
can have.

Obviously at a certain point, we’re going to get so big, we will have to have
more people doing all this stuff, but I still think there’s a real advantage is
being so hands-on.

James Blatch: Yeah. It’s not like the old days of advertising where you sit
and design the billboard or the newspaper ads and so on, and then sort of
fire and forget.

Facebook advertising is a hands-on experience of day-to-day
experience, and those little tweaks, those margins, that can be where
the difference is.

Jasper Joffe: Yeah, exactly. People say, “How do you become successful?”
And I say, “There’s no magic. It’s just attention to detail on every single
aspect of the book.”

The first thing is getting the right authors and getting great books. It always
starts with that.

It’s then really good editing. We send every book through two whole
editing processes. Copy editing, proofreading. Still things go wrong, but
that’s a lot of work on each book, and then it’s the same with the marketing.
It’s the same with the blurb. It’s the same with the cover, and being
adaptive, and massive attention to detail on everything, and learning from
the readers and listening to them as well. You might get a comment on
Facebook saying, “Oh, why have you said this?” Or, “This is wrong,” and
you’re like, “Okay, so we’ll change the blurb.”

Or you get readers writing in saying, “When’s this book coming out?” Or,
“Why have you called it this?” And it’s all great and useful information.

James Blatch: I think a close relationship with the reader is very important,
and that’s a real trait with indie as well. Lots of traditionally-published
authors will tell you they don’t meet their readers very often, apart from the
rather staged exceptions where they’re book-signing in a shop.
Whereas that’s a very different experience with people like Mark, who has a
daily interaction with his readers. I think he did a Facebook Live a couple of
days ago, making some announcements with lots of comments coming
down.

You’re having that from a publisher point of view, this close
relationship with the immediate impact the book’s having on readers,
which of course helps shape the way you market them and do the next
book.

Jasper Joffe: Exactly. I love it, and even the authors … They all have their
own Facebook pages. We have a Facebook launch group, so the authors
talk to each other. They get people who like their books talking to them.
They get great feedback from the readers, but we get on our own
Facebook page, just a lot of feedback.

We have an email in every book so that people can write directly to me, tell
me what’s … Even if there’s a mistake in the book, we wanna hear about it. I
mean, if we get a typo sent into us … I’m afraid we do get the occasional
typo, we haven’t managed to eradicate them completely … We can fix it.

You know how KDP works. We can fix it within an hour. Compare that to
maybe a traditional publisher. How many layers would that have to go
through before they could fix something?

James Blatch: Yeah. Yeah, it’s a different culture, isn’t it?

Jasper Joffe: It is.

James Blatch: And you say you’re exclusive to Amazon, you talk about
KDP a lot, but are you using the print on demand service as well?

Jasper Joffe: Yes. Every single book is now paperback and Kindle. We also
sell audio rights.

We work with a really good a traditional agent who sells foreign and audio
rights and all sorts of rights, called Lorella Belli, who’s well-enmeshed in the
publishing world, and she’s fantastic. She sells, for most of our authors, she
sells the audio, foreign and translation rights.

We’re now, I suppose, we want to get our authors into all those kind of
things that maybe they could have only done if they’d had their own agent
or if they’d worked with a big publisher, we wanna be able to provide that
for our authors as well.

James Blatch: How do you manage? How many Facebook campaigns
have you got running today?

Jasper Joffe: I could tell you now, but … Well, we’ve only got about eight at
the moment, but we’re launching two books this week, so they’ll be up to
about … We have a UK and a US one for each one.

How do we manage? Well, there’s a lot of people doing good stuff. We’ve
had a lot of different people working here. Usually from home in fact, not in
this office, and I’m just on my phone 24/7 as my kids would say, checking
things, changing things.

The amazing thing is, 50% of the work you can monitor and do from your
phone. That’s why people get emails from me at like 11:30 at night,
because I’m not in the office. I’m just on the bath or something replying to
an email.

James Blatch: Is it a family business? How big is it? It’s not just you,
Jasper.

Jasper Joffe: It’s not just me. I have my amazing assistant, Rudy, who’s out
of the office while I’m doing this interview. There are lots of people. They’re
mostly, as I say, freelance, working from their own space.

We have great editors. We have a person, Jill, running our social media and
blogging. We have a person doing everything, but it’s generally not all …
They don’t all have to come into my office and work 9:00 till 5:00. Some
people say, “Okay, that’s bad. That’s the gig economy.”

But for a lot of people who live all over Britain, even some in other
countries, that’s the way people work now, you know?

James Blatch: Yeah. I think there’s a bit of a transformation going on, and I
understand some of the concerns about the freelance stuff, but we do the
same thing.

“Virtual assistants,” we call them, and I think I’m right in saying I don’t think
any of them would want to change the arrangement, because it’s ultimately
flexible for them, and that suits our business as well, allows us to grow or
contract.

Luckily we haven’t contracted yet, we’ve just been growing, but it’s nice to
have that option.

Jasper Joffe: The problem we’re facing is this. We’re growing so fast and
we’ve still got room to grow, and we’re still looking for really great authors.
If you’re an author watching this and you’re interested in what we’re doing,
you can look. We have a very clear submissions page on joffebooks.com.
What we don’t want to do is just turn into an old-school publishing
company. At the same time, we want to grow in a logical way, so we may
need some of their infrastructure.

However, what we can do with our way of doing things I think is pretty
good, and our sales figures are getting up towards an old-school
publishing company, certainly in the digital realm.

James Blatch: Let’s talk about submissions then, because then some ears
will prick up here.

I can imagine in particular, the people who like writing and produce their
series, but have always struggled because for them, getting in the weeds of
Facebook advertising is just not quite for them, so I can imagine them
being quite drawn to this.

We’re often asked, “Do you do ads on behalf of somebody else?” We
don’t, and financially I think it would be difficult.

You’ve obviously got a process to go through to make sure you’ve got
the right book like a traditional publishing.

Jasper Joffe: Yes.

James Blatch: I know you said you’ve got your spread pages.
Can you explain a little bit about the submissions process?

Jasper Joffe: We have an open submissions policy, so an author could
email their full manuscript … I still don’t understand why people want three
chapters.

If you want to read the book, you’re going to read the whole book. If you
don’t want to read it, doesn’t matter whether it’s three chapters. It’s the
same thing.

A synopsis, a bit about you, what kind of book you’re writing, and your
book sent to us, usually in Word. It’s actually much easier to send a Word
document to Kindle than a pdf.

We get a lot of submissions. I’m afraid we don’t always reply to say “no,” we
only reply to say “yes,” just because otherwise we’d spend all day replying
to people, and we want to get on with publishing some books.

I know it’s disappointing. I know what it’s like to submit a book and not get
a response. I’m totally respectful and admire people just for having written
a book.

The main thing to remember, I think, for any kind of submission, is the
email is the first thing that anyone reads.

If you make that email to the point, you understand a bit about the
company you’re writing to, and you understand what type of book you’ve
written.

So many times you get an email and it’s like a blurb, but you don’t actually
know if they’ve written a mystery, a thriller, a romance novel. Because they
could just write at the beginning of the email, “Dear Jasper, I’ve written this
mystery book. It’s about a detective in London …” and I’d be like, “Okay,
that sounds interesting.”

I look at the submissions. We look at every single one. About half of our
authors did come to us via open submissions.

And then at that stage, we often send it off to another reader to check what
their opinion is on it.

I can’t think of anything else to do with submissions, but the main thing is,
as I say, just get that email short and sweet and telling us what type of book
you’ve written.

The thing I say is, indie authors are amazing, and the ones who can do it,
I’m like, “Well, why would you come to us?”

But there are authors who just don’t have a clue and don’t want to spend all
their time marketing and getting their profile up and finding someone to
format their book and finding an editor and all these kind of things.
At that point, you might want to spend more of your time writing and work
with us and we do all the stuff besides the writing.

James Blatch: I can imagine there’s authors who are good at doing at, but
don’t see themselves doing a lot of Facebook advertising, and do more
writing.

I guess they’re also in a strong position when it comes to the negotiation,
because they can turn their laptop around and show you their spreadsheets
of what they’ve been doing over the last couple of years, and that is a
different type of conversation that takes place now.

I guess traditional publishers might be starting to get used to that.
We’ve had a couple of guests on the podcast who have negotiated big
deals with traditional publishers on that very basis, because they say,

“Look, this is what it’s worth to me every year.” Makes a big
difference.

Jasper Joffe: We have actually had some traditional publishers trying to
pick off our top authors, and they’ve said no. I mean, our authors have
generally said no to other companies.

If you’re thinking of submitting to us, at the moment we’re looking for
mysteries mainly, or crime thrillers. Definitely a series helps. And we’re not
… I don’t understand, some publishers are like, “If you’ve published it
yourself before, we won’t look at it.”

We’ll look at anything. I mean, obviously, if you’ve published it yourself and
you’ve sold 10 million copies, we’re probably not gonna add anything, but
if you’ve published it yourself and sold a few thousand, we can look at it.
We sometimes reissue whole series like that. We always edit and proof
them and put them up to our, hopefully, standard of publishing. We’re
interested in all sorts of authors. With a big back-list, new authors … so have
a look and think about it, and I think we have a lot to offer.

The other thing we have to offer, I think over time is, of course we are pretty
good at what we do now, compared to someone trying to do it themselves,
and we have economies of scale.

We know how to run Facebook campaigns. We know how to run AMS ads.
We know how to do book pubs. We do a lot of this, so you get better at it.
At that point, I think that gives you quite a lot to offer an author.

James Blatch: You say about half of your writers have come from open
submission?

Jasper Joffe: Probably more, in fact.

James Blatch: Where do the others come from?

Jasper Joffe: Sometimes I, in my sneaky way, go out and look for authors
just in the world. I see an old edition of their book on Amazon or I
practically seek out authors. I try not to poach authors from other
companies, generally. I don’t want to do that.

James Blatch: You’re talking about indie authors whose books you like
and think are going to work.

Jasper Joffe: Exactly, and I’ll get in touch with them and say, “Maybe we
could have a discussion about working with us.”

James Blatch: Yeah, that sounds fair enough. It is exciting. I don’t think
we’ve spoken to anyone quite like you, Jasper.
Do you know of other companies that are operating in the same way
that you are and growing like you are?

Jasper Joffe: Of course there was Bookouture, that was bought out by
Hachette I think, which was the sort of model for us.

I don’t know if your audience know about Bookouture, but they were an
independent publishing company focused on digital. They did some great
crime thrillers, some women’s fiction.

They were eventually bought by one of the big publishers, but I saw what
they were doing, and I thought, “That’s what we want to do.”

In fact, one of our authors who’s published a couple of books with us,
founded their own publishing company called Bloodhound Books, and
they’re doing a great job. They’re growing really fast. I think I’ve seen them
mentioned on your podcast at some point, but I can’t remember.

James Blatch: Yeah, I think Bloodhound have, and Michael Anderle also
springs to mind, who is getting a stable of indie writers into his, what has
almost by accident become a publishing company in its own way.

Just on this subject because I know people will be interested in this, you
read it and it goes through that process, which I can understand.
What sort of percentage are you getting at the moment in terms of
how many you can pick up realistically?

Jasper Joffe: Realistically, it’s not very many. It’s probably one in a hundred
or less.

It’s just because, in order for us to work with an author, we’re going to
invest a lot of time and money, and it’s not worth it unless we think that
author’s gonna do really well.

I say to authors, “I can’t guarantee anything,” but if we think they’re good,
we hope that they’re going to have pretty much a Top 50 bestseller. We
don’t set targets for them, but that’s where I feel they should be, if we’re
going to work with them on Kindle and hopefully, we’re also trying to go
for the American market as well.

Obviously that’s a huge market, and we want them to be able to do well in
both the UK and the US. It’s a very, very small percentage of our
submissions that we pick up. We’re happy to keep doing that and happy to
keep looking at people.

James Blatch: You say you’re looking particularly at mystery and thriller at
the moment, also crime thrillers. Is there a particular reason for that?
Romance is a big indie area as well, but is it just your own personal
specializations?

Jasper Joffe: Yeah. In the past we did have some romance writers, and
we’re still publishing them, but it seems that we’re better at selling
detective mysteries, basically.

That’s what I’ve noticed, and so we put our resources where we think we’re
going to add the most value.

We could publish more women’s fiction or romance fiction or literary
fiction, but I honestly don’t think we’re going to add as much as we’re
going to add to crime thrillers and mysteries.

I think we’ve got some great authors in that field, and of course we’re
building a big mailing list who are interested in those authors. There’s a
building and a cross-fertilization of the authors and their different
audiences.

James Blatch: Yes. Becomes self-fulfilling, I guess, after a while in that area.
You’re obviously a huge book fan, Jasper.

Are you a writer as well?

Jasper Joffe: Yes. I am quite old now, I’m 42, but in my 20s I wrote a novel,
which was traditionally published. That’s the thing, I understand. I
submitted it to agents. I submitted it to publishers. I remember getting that
“yes” from the publisher and just being over the moon, and seeing … Do
you remember Borders bookshop?

James Blatch: Yes.

Jasper Joffe: It used to be a big bookshop chain which went the way of
most bookshop chains, and I did a reading in the Charing Cross Borders,
and I remember like 30 people turned up, and I did one in somewhere like
York, and two people turned up.

Then I did one and no one turned up, and I was like, “I’m not doing any
more of these readings because no one wants to come to them.” Yeah, so I
wrote a book years ago, and I love reading. I read all the time. I read mainly
literary fiction, actually, for my own enjoyment.

James Blatch: You actually have time to read books for enjoyment, as
well as the huge amount of submissions you get?

Jasper Joffe: It is crazy, but I just read all the time. Obviously, I have a
Kindle. I read in the morning before I get up for work, and then I read
before I go to bed, and then I wake up in the middle of the night and I read.
I love reading.

I just read a phenomenal books at the moment. In fact, I’ve only been in
publishing for five-six years, but I read more than I ever did before, for
pleasure as well as for work.

James Blatch: Yeah, great. Well, sounds like you’re in exactly the right
place, Jasper. It’s been really illuminating talking to you. We should just
give the website again. It’s joffebooks.com.

Jasper Joffe: That’s right.

James Blatch: People will find the submissions there.
It just feels like you’re in the right place at the right time. Does it feel
like that to you?

Jasper Joffe: Yes, it’s amazing. It’s fantastic to be publishing and selling
books and people reading them. Someone is reading one of our books
every 11 seconds. That’s what I worked out the other day. Every 11
seconds, an actual human being is reading one of our books. Just imagine
that.

James Blatch: Yeah, that is amazing. Oh, I should say Joffe is J-O-F-F-E.

Jasper Joffe: That’s right, and you pronounced it correctly, which is actually
quite rare, strangely for a five-letter word.

James Blatch: There you go, yes. That’s probably a first for the podcast that
I pronounced something correctly, so I did well.

Jasper, look, thank you so much indeed for coming on. I know you found us
in a way, and we found you at the same time. It’s been really interesting
listening to you.

It’s another example of how this industry is changing, and it’s changing
quite quickly. Not everybody is aware of quite how quickly things are
happening.

You feel to me a little bit like a guy with a spade who’s just hit a well of oil,
at the moment. I don’t mean that in crude … “crude,” excuse the pun …
financial terms. I just mean in tapping into the way that the market is taking
publishing, and it’s exciting for everyone.

More books, better royalty rates for authors as it should be, better access to
the market and better access for readers to writers who otherwise might
not see the light of day.

Jasper Joffe: I completely agree. Firstly, it’s a real honor to be on this
podcast. Just want to say that. I honestly was thrilled to be asked.
And secondly, yes. I just wish that newspapers wouldn’t publish these
articles saying publishing’s dead, falling ebook sales … It’s nonsense. It’s a
really, really exciting to be in publishing.

The whole point about publishing is people writing books and getting
people to read them. Who the hell cares whether it’s Kindle, indie, selfpublished,
trad published, Big Six, whatever you wanna call it.

You can now publish a book the day you finished it, if you want to. That’s
what it’s about. It’s about publishing and reading books. That’s all it’s really
about.

The negative stuff about this is rubbish, I think. This is an amazing time to
be a publisher and a writer and whatever you want to be.

James Blatch: And a reader.

Jasper Joffe: And a reader.

James Blatch: I could not agree more, and that also sounds like a great
place to leave it. Thank you, Jasper.

Jasper Joffe: Thanks, James.

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