Meet the married couple turning the page on the traditional publishing model

One to watch

1.   Founded by crime writer Betsy Freeman and her husband Fred, Bloodhound Books is challenging the traditional publishing model by focusing on giving talented independent writers their break in the publishing industry

2.   Since its launch in 2014, Bloodhound Books has experienced phenomenal growth selling more than 3,500 books a day and 1 million books a year

3.   Bloodhound Books has more than 60 independent authors on its roster including several international best sellers.

VITAL STATISTICS

Company: Bloodhound Books

What it does, in a sentence: Brings great books to a worldwide audience

Founded: August 2014

Founder: Betsy and Fred Freeman

Size of team: 11

Your name and role: Betsy Freeman, Founder and Director

THE NEED-TO-KNOW

What motivated you to found Bloodhound Books? 

I’ve been passionate about reading and writing as far back as I can remember. At the age of ten, I wrote my first book about a princess who was kidnapped which ignited my love for crime writing.  

Writing became a release for me and helped me manage the struggles I face with my mental health, so I decided to pursue a career in it. After years and years of knockbacks, two poetry collections and five novels later, I finally broke through with an independent publisher agreeing to publish one of my books. However, whilst they did a good job of publishing the book, after a long discussion with my husband Fred, I decided that I could do it even better. 

I really wanted to break the down the barriers that so many talented writers face and give independent authors a chance to make their break. So Fred and I launched Bloodhound Books with a main focus on championing independent writers in the crime and thriller genre. Not only was I hugely passionate about this genre because of my experiences, but I thought that there was a gap in the market for this niche and I was up to the challenge of filling it.

What problem are you trying to solve?

As industries stand, the publishing industry has one of the strongest levels of rejection. J.K. Rowling had Harry Potter rejected by a dozen British publishing houses and reportedly got into print, only after the eight-year-old daughter of a publisher pleaded for it. C.S. Lewis got 800 rejections, and even the Diary of Anne Frank received numerous rejections. Yet despite the level of rejection, so many Brits have a desire to write and there is a wealth of talent in this country just waiting to be tapped into.

In the publishing model, there is unfortunately a lot of arrogance. Agents and publishers alike can be extremely rude to authors who submit and often reject work that goes on to sell extremely well. The industry is built on opinions not facts and I think that is often forgotten.

I wanted to create a publisher that is completely available to authors, giving talented crime writers a shot and ensuring they are central to every decision made in the publishing process.

What change do you think you can make to the industry?

We want to ignite a movement that puts some control back into the author’s hands, encourages talent and helps broaden cultural diversity in the publishing industry.

Our goal is to get those author’s voices heard who may have been passed over by the traditional publishingworld, but whose stories deserved to be heard. We also want to provide an excellent value and high quality read to the consumer.

How do you make money? 

We take a percentage of the revenue that is made on the books we market and sell. We sell audio rights and have partnered with Lorella Belli, a very respected agent, who will represent our authors for foreign, TV and film rights.

Where do you see the company in five years’ time?

 More great authors, more great books, more best-sellers. We are working on selling more rights for film and TV, as well as translation and we expect this to be a great area of growth. In five years, our goal is for Bloodhound Books to be the best known and most respected publisher of crime fiction in the UK.

What do you think the major trends currently shaping the publishing industry are?

The birth of eBooks completely turned the publishing industry on its head. eBooks offer convenience and are more adaptable to modern day life meaning they naturally encourage people to read. With eBooks you have the capacity to distribute your books to a global audience at the click of a button and they are read by the most voracious of readers who read large amounts of books.

Being a volume based business, this is our obvious market so we have structured Bloodhound Books to focus predominantly on eBooks with 90 per cent of our revenue now coming from eBooks. At present, we currently have 20 books in the UK top 1000 best-selling titles on Amazon Kindle.

This focus on eBooks allows us to be fleet-footed, move quickly to reach global audiences and gives us a competitive edge over traditional publishers.   

What distinguishes Bloodhound Books from its competitors? 

At Bloodhound Books we have an author who is primarily responsible for author liaison. She’s been there and done it and understands what working with a publisher is like for the authors. We involve the authors in every step of the process from cover design, to editorial and marketing. We don’t dictate to them, we collaborate.

What is your business mantra? 

Keep improving and treat others how you would expect to be treated. Also- never reply to emails when you are frustrated!

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