SR Condor | Pre-Press Self-Publishing Services with SilverWood

We're delighted to share the latest in a series of case studies, where we find out more about the publishing journeys of SilverWood's committed and successful authors. Cosy Mystery writer SR Condor shares his thoughts on publishing the first in a trilogy with SilverWood support.

First in Series For Fynley Publishing

Cosy Mystery writer SR Condor shares his thoughts on publishing the first in a trilogy with SilverWood support, focussing on pre-press self-publishing services and setting up his own imprint.

Pre-press self-publishing services allows the author to work with SilverWood through the book production process, and then self-upload their final print-ready files to Ingram Spark and Amazon KDP. Authors have all the quality of a professional SilverWood-produced book - with the benefits of managing their own print afterwards, and monitoring sales almost in real-time. This has many benefits, including being able to identify what promotional activities are working.

Author Profile

SR Condor is a playwright and marketing consultant who has launched Fynley Publishing as an imprint for his book series. His plays typically involve dark comedy; however, he had wanted to write a novel with a focus on producing a story that readers would enjoy as well as be intrigued by the mystery.

Based in Whitstable, Stephen’s love of cycling takes him all over north and east Kent, admiring and gaining inspiration from the countryside and coast. While riding through the University of Kent campus, he spotted a figure in a window of one of the buildings, drawing his attention to the forensic science taught there. His book title came to him first, when thinking how funny it would be to have 'Chris on a Bike’ as his mystery-solving amateur sleuth.

A Faster Publishing Route with Greater Design Control

At first Stephen researched the publishers which might be interested in his book, by looking at bookshop shelves for his genre. However, he quickly realised it could take a long time to find and secure an agent to support his submissions.

He says, "Traditional publishing is essentially a slow process. I knew it was just going to delay things and could take me twelve or more months to see my book in print. One of the attractions of having a publisher is that they will do all the marketing and publicity for you, but I found that’s not always true and you don’t have any creative control over the book once it's accepted. You don’t even choose the cover design."

While working with his editor, they referred him to four different self-publishing firms, which Stephen then researched, preparing a checklist of what services he needed and wanted. SilverWood offered all the services, and he contacted Helen as he felt it would be a more bespoke service. He says, "My first impression was that Helen was hugely helpful and understood books really well. She supplied the illustrator’s details and the illustrations were returned to me really quickly. Part of the joy of bringing in a designer is that they bring something different to your ideas. Then, with the production steps, it felt like my hand was held throughout, but not in a patronising way. Some people might say you can do some of these things yourself, but would I really want to? And do I have the time - or could I do them as well as SilverWood can? No. And Helen responds to emails quickly too, so the feeling is, you’re not alone."

Stephen felt he retained control over the design of the book throughout and when he wasn’t perfectly happy with the title typeface and cover, SilverWood changed it immediately according to his feedback.

Creating a Publishing Imprint

Another author with more than 12 published books of her own had reassured Stephen that self-publishing was a more accepted way of doing things in the current times. The statistics back that up, as the self-publishing market has grown over 264% in the last year (Source: WordsRated). However, with the costs of paper and printing now reducing the margins for authors, Stephen took guidance from Helen at SilverWood to design and create his own publishing imprint.

Given that he aims to write several more novels, she knew he would benefit from better royalties and wholesale print prices by directly holding the printing and distribution contracts with the two major Print on Demand (POD) distributors, Amazon and Ingram. SilverWood helped him to artwork the logo and develop the brand for Fynley Publishing. One key step was for Stephen to buy the ISBNs and prepare to open accounts with Amazon and Ingram, which Helen supported him to do and then ensured all the publishing files were in exactly the right format. The advantage of doing this is that Stephen has direct access to the platform’s author dashboards and can see results instantly. He can change the Recommended Retail Price at any time and control other marketing opportunities offered by each POD distributor.

Developing More Light-hearted Mysteries

Self-publishing turned out to be a really fast route to market for Stephen, as once his proofreading and illustrations were complete, it only took 5-6 weeks to produce the book (although it can take longer, depending on the book and its content). Stephen felt reassured about the standards being overseen by SilverWood. "I’m grateful the book we’ve produced is really good and well-edited, because I’m aware anyone can self-publish any book now, of any quality, and you do see some with mistakes in. Ultimately, I want to devote my time to writing. So it’s great to have SilverWood take away all the nuts and bolts work to ensure the publishing files were correct and it was a simple, smooth process to upload them all to the right platforms."

As a personal view, Stephen feels crime novels are becoming more extreme and graphic, making them difficult to read for some. His aim was to create a cosy mystery with a lovable character, with plenty of twists and turns in the plot to keep readers in suspense. The early reviews describe his book as razor-sharp witted and highly amusing. He has plans for a sequel to be published under the imprint and potential storylines for eight more books in the series.

Want to know more?

• SilverWood's Quick-Start guide is here.

• Contact Helen Hart to discuss your book and find out how she can help here.

• Connect with Stephen via social media and see his website at

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“If you’re thinking of self-publishing, I hope you don't go at it alone. With a team like SilverWood behind you, you have the support you need to publish the best work you believe in.”

J A Higgins