New Biz Oly: Mud Flat Press

News Business

Mud Flat Press and Publishing

By Holly Graham

                  Aside from being well-known Olympia peace activists working with Families United against Hate for LGBT and human rights, Alec and Gabi Clayton have a wealth of many years’ experience in writing, publishing, filmmaking, the arts, and humanitarian pursuits.

In New York City and Mississippi, Alec and Gabi ran soup lines and homeless shelters while Alec, a self-taught writer, wrote for a newspaper and Gabi did news page design and layout. Alec subsequently published his own paper with Gabi’s help in Mississippi in 1977 before the couple moved to Olympia, where he is now a freelance reporter for The Ranger, a prolific visual artist, novelist and web designer.

Gabi, who studied film, video animation, drawing and painting before earning a Master’s in Counseling, still pursues these arts and was recently honored by USA Network’s Characters Unite for her efforts to make schools safer. Now, Gabi and Alec bring their expertise to Mud Flat Press, an imprint of their original Clayton Works Publishing.

Alec says, “We still offer desktop publishing and web design through Clayton Works, but with Mud Flat Press we help writers self-publish their books and prepare them for print-on-demand publication. This is a fairly new technology, and our service depends upon what the writer needs. We can format a book, design it, edit, proof it, create covers, etc., but the more an author does on their own, the less it costs them. With print-on-demand, writers get a beautifully printed, professional-looking book of their own design complete with barcode.

“Gabi and I arrange online writers’ accounts for sales and distribution through Amazon and their subsidiary, Create Space. Once a book is ready, we upload it to POD specifications, and the author can order copies for themselves as needed at a set cost, plus shipping, with cost determined by the book’s size and length. Once a base cost is decided, the author gets the profits directly after charges are deducted. This way, authors’ royalty percentages are greatly increased, and a check is mailed to the author directly once $25 in orders has been reached. Create Space offers more in royalties than does Amazon,” Alec adds, “but it’s possible to order through distributors Ingram or Baker & Taylor, too.”

Gabi continues, “Customers can buy an online book through Amazon or Create Space and a copy of that book is printed to order and sent to them. For an author, there are advantages to this kind of self-publishing…a book never goes out-of-print and nobody buys the copyright, but the author is responsible for distribution and getting their books into bookstores at their own cost.”

Alec says, “There is no fee to join. We work for an hourly wage depending upon what’s needed, which is $30 – $40 an hour so far, and we are willing to negotiate. We spent seven months redoing the website and then changed the company name. We do not solicit writers. If a book fits within the philosophy of Mud Flat Press, we put authors on our website if the authors so choose. Authors and works listed there include Morrison Phelps, Ricker Winsor, Jack Butler, who was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1980, and Sherrilyn Reed, who has written a vegan cookbook.”

Gabi adds, “Visit the Mud Flat Press site for author bios, reviews, synopses, and ordering information. Alec’s own books are listed there, too. They are Until the Dawn, Imprudent Zeal, As If Art Matters, The Wives of Marti Winters, The Back Side of Nowhere, Reunion at the Wet Side, and Return to Freedom. His books are available locally from Orca Books. “

Alec smiles, “We love our book sellers!”


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