Writing is an art. Publishing is a business.
A tough love guide for authors
An author writes a book and hands over to a publisher. Traditionally they then have a bit of a barney over cover, editorial changes etc, after which the publisher goes out and sells the book to bookshops and generates media coverage, while the author sits back and waits to be called to appear at signings, book fairs and interviews.
If that’s how you think the industry works, then this is a short and somewhat brutal guide for you.
Written a better Mousetrap?
- Sources claim that over 1m books are published annually. With modern tools and platforms, putting a book out is easier than ever before. The corollary is that with a million other books being launched, standing out and selling a book is in some ways harder than ever before.
- Over 50% of books are believed to be sold via Amazon. While they are arguably important for building a base of recommendations to their readers, independent bookshops only account for 6-8% of sales (and due to trade terms over discounts and returns they are difficult to get to stock books and generate lower royalties when they do).
- When readers are asked the reasons why they buy a book, surveys suggest 80%+ is because they have already read and enjoyed something by the author (so first novels are particularly difficult to sell), while 75%+ are through a friend’s recommendation (so building social word of mouth is vital).
Publisher as producer and promoter
- Not only create great material,
- But who can also demonstrate the ability to promote themselves and their work (generating that social word of mouth).
- We fund and help to produce your content, turning your manuscript into a polished and well packaged product, properly formatted to fit into the retailers’ supply chains.
- We fund and help promote your work, creating a launch marketing campaign, providing sales information for the book trade, creating supporting materials and undertaking PR using our professional agent.
- And we work in partnership with you as the author to help support you to sell your book.
- You provide the content,
- We fund and provide our experience in production and promotion, and
- Once we have recovered our investment, we share the proceeds equally.
So what are we looking for?
Firstly, we want a submission that provides us with the basis to judge your content. This generally means:
- The full manuscript – so we can see how it reads,
- A full synopsis of the plot – so we can see how it develops,
- Of a suitable size – so we are dealing with something actually publishable,
- That meets our criteria of edge-alternative fiction – so it fits with our imprint.
Secondly, we are looking for evidence of ability to promote and sell your work, so details of your social media presence and any relevant experience.
Think of your submission as a sales pitch / investment proposal to us in which we will be looking for a professional approach. So for example:
- We’d expect it to provide the content we’ve asked for above. If it doesn’t, it shows us you’re not paying attention to the guidance we’re putting out for you.
- While copy editing and proof reading are part of the expertise that we bring to the production process, we’d still expect a submission to be reasonably proofed. If you can’t be bothered to run it through a spell checker before sending it in, that tells us a lot.
Sorry if that all sounds a bit harsh but we believe in being up front about the realities.
If we’ve not put you off then great, please have a go at our submissions process.