Ligature is a cooperative electronic publishing platform developed by me, Matt Rubinstein. I’ve been writing for 20 years with some degree of success and some degree of frustration. I’ve had three novels traditionally published, and the last one sold into a number of overseas territories. I’ve also written books that I haven’t been able to get published—sometimes because they weren’t good enough, but sometimes because of bad timing or the way the numbers stacked up. Later, as a judge of a literary award for unpublished manuscripts, I read many very good entries that could have been great with the right editor, but I knew that very few of them would get that chance—largely because of the economics of the publishing industry.
I hadn’t thought much about electronic publishing until I moved to the United Kingdom, leaving most of my books behind and finding myself reluctant to accumulate new ones. I started buying e-books, and missed paper books less than I’d expected. I did a lot of research into the industry, the technology, and the legal issues, for a long essay that won the Australian Book Review’s Calibre Prize in 2012.
Later that year, I began to publish some of my old books electronically. I explored all the technical formats and the platforms offered by Amazon, Apple and the rest. I learned that self-publishing has many opportunities but also some limitations. There were things that I missed from the world of traditional publishing, in particular the chance to work with a sympathetic editor, and the knowledge that I wasn’t the only one who thought the book was worth publishing.
Ligature is designed to address these limitations. By focusing on electronic publication we can operate with low overheads, pay high royalties and publish books that would be considered too risky by traditional publishers. We encourage a wide range of editors to invest their time in books they believe in, and give them a considerable financial stake in the books they have helped to realise. We don’t charge writers for anything, but share in the risk and the reward.
I hope you’ll join us.