Aionios Books is a publishing house that specializes in young adult fantasy and science fiction novels. In order to remain competitive in the publishing industry, it establishes strategies to maintain the quality of its publications, optimizes its resources by collaborating with its partners, and builds strong relationships with its authors and community.
Media Context speaks to Gerardeen Santiago, owner and publisher of Aionios Books, shares her insights about how her company has successfully implemented this strategy.
Building a Brand with Strong Stories
In order to remain competitive, Aionois Books clarifies its mission statement by selecting specific genres to specialize in. According to Santiago, Aionios Books caters to young adults who are primarily interested in YA science fiction and fantasy, as “these are the genres [they] most love reading and therefore are what [they] choose to publish. [Aionois Books] gets especially excited about discovering and helping launch new writers with new stories to tell.”
As her company’s primary decision-maker, Santiago ensures that the titles that she publishes have engaging storylines and relatable characters.
“Our next book, launching on Halloween, is Tithe by Chani Lynn Feener. It’s the first book in the Roses Red trilogy. Chani’s an exceptionally bright and talented young author who’s been writing since the age of ten and reading before she could walk. The story centers on a freshman at a small college. Arden Archer—along with all the women in her family, past, present, and future—is cursed: she can see the Unseelie fae and is fated to be driven insane and die an early death because of it. But she has the chance to alter her family’s destiny by competing in the upcoming Tithe, where the winner is saved from her curse but will lose her soul forever.” Santiago describes.
Aionios Books has established clear strategies to overcome the challenges of its evolving publishing process. For instance, Santiago states that her company’s primary challenge is balancing a difficult workload, which they have addressed by focusing their resources on a select number of titles.
“Editing a full-length novel is a lot like running a marathon. It requires a great deal of focus, dedication, and skill to do the job well. An editor usually can only focus on one book at a time. So, our solution is to stay small, to foster close working relationships with our authors, and to focus on publishing only one to three books per year. This way, we are able to dedicate our resources on one book at a time, one author at a time.” Santiago explains.
“We love beautiful books and our goal is to produce beautiful books. We want every aspect of our books to shine: the story, the characters, the writing style, and the production value of our e-books (we custom-code and design all our e-books) and our print books. We take pride in the fact that each book we publish represents our very best efforts. We strive to continue to improve with each project.” She continues.
Collaborating with Partners and Developing Talent
Aionios Books also collaborates with its partners to expand its resources and develop budding authors. Not only does this strategy reduce the company’s expenses, but it also creates a channel of fresh ideas for the company to acquire.
“We’re also fortunate enough to work with editorial interns in partnership with San Diego State University. In this way, we can minimize our costs while expanding our editorial resources and helping students acquire real-world publishing experience. I personally have gained so much from working with our interns: they bring a new perspective and an indefatigable enthusiasm.” Santiago explains.
In order to train aspiring authors, Aionios Books regularly works with debut novelists, and establishes clear strategies to assist them.
“We especially love working with debut and fledgling novelists. We love their enthusiasm, their energy, their openness to learning and their willingness to improve. We manage our risk by doing most of the editorial and design work in-house and by working with a stellar group of interns from San Diego State University. But we require our authors to develop a robust online presence.” Santiago elaborates.
Santiago acknowledges the importance of building a robust community for her authors and encourages her novelists to develop their own audiences.
"We encourage our authors to continue to develop an online presence (i.e., Instagram, Goodreads, YouTube if they’re not too introverted, their own website, and so on). We love the growth in YA books. We also love the YA communities on social media—especially on Instagram. It’s a place where the bookish can find kindred spirits and express a shared passion for YA books." She explains.
Working with Authors
In order to sustain the quality of its products, Aionios Books establishes a strict selection process for the titles that they publish. According to Santiago, “first, the manuscript must be in young adult science fiction or fantasy genres. [She] personally [reviews] all submissions, searching for that special story, that unique voice, that one that stands out above all the rest.”
According to Santiago, Aionios Books accepts submissions from an international database of authors: “The plethora of communication channels available today makes working with authors anywhere around the globe so easy. We are currently working with a South African author who lives in The Netherlands.”
Furthermore, Aionios Books works with authors who are personally invested in their work. For instance, Santiago “[looks] for query letters that [shows] that the author has done targeted research about [her] company.”
“Because we focus on developing one author, one book at a time, it’s critical that the authors we choose to sign want to work specifically with us. We believe that a strong publisher-author relationship is necessary to the success of our book projects. And so that is what I look for from the start.” She explains.