Why should I pay for self-publishing when I have found a company that says they’ll publish my book for free?
Conventional trade publishers, those who take on all the expense of editing and producing a book on behalf of the author, are (understandably) extremely selective and will take on only those books which they are confident will sell enough copies to make money, usually from established authors. They will rarely deal with an author who does not have an agent (and agents are just as choosy about which authors they take on). If a trade publisher does agree to publish your book, it will exercise control over the content, text, format and cover design and will naturally expect to profit from sales, allowing you only a modest royalty. It will also retain a share of the rights.
Beware of the many companies which suggest on their websites that they will publish your book free, but in fact once they have ‘reviewed’ it, they will come back to you asking for a substantial contribution. They know that by the time they ask you for money, you’ll feel engaged with them and flattered by their comments, and you’ll probably agree to pay up.
Is my book suitable for publication?
We will publish your book in return for the appropriate fees, provided it is of a reasonable standard, the text is in good English (we will edit it as necessary) and the material does not contravene the laws of libel, obscenity, confidentiality, racial discrimination etc. We do not publish hardcore pornography.
It’s your book and you are paying us to publish it, so we will not insist on a high literary standard. But please be aware that only the best and most original books are likely to be successful outside the author’s own circle. Do not rely on the opinions of relatives and friends about the merits of your book, as they are unlikely to give you a truly honest answer.
Can you edit my novel?
We are happy to edit works of fiction – we can improve the flow of the text, handling of direct speech, punctuation, sentence construction etc and sort out any problems with narrative order, repetition, contradiction or exposition (telling the story in the right way). We can also make suggestions about inconsistencies or plot devices that don’t work well or are not credible. However, we cannot turn a fundamentally poor novel into a good one. If the plot does not work or the characters are not properly developed or differentiated, if the story does not make the reader want to turn the page to find out what happened next, we would advise you not to have your work edited until you have addressed these problems.
How long should my book be?
Preferably not less than about 20,000 words or much more than 100,000 (most novels are around 60-120,000 words). If you feel your book is too short we’ll advise you on how it can be developed. Very long books (much over 100,000 words) cause problems, because they may cost so much per copy to print and distribute in small numbers (on top of the increased editing costs) that the retail price will be pushed up to a level which buyers won’t pay. For this reason, if sales are important to you, we strongly suggest keeping your book reasonably short.
Will my book sell?
Perhaps! If it is truly original, topical, funny, sexy, shocking, enlightening, moving or inspiring – the sort of book that gets talked about – it may sell hundreds or even thousands of copies, particularly if people start recommending it to their friends and posting enthusiastic reviews on line, or if you are very well known. But please don’t assume that just because your book is out there, people will buy it. The book market is overcrowded and extremely competitive (something like a quarter of a million books a year are now being published in the UK alone, and Amazon lists over six million titles). As a publisher we cannot be responsible for the number of sales your book achieves, as we do not control what the bookshops choose to stock or the media decide to review and recommend.
Your book is very unlikely to sell in any quantity without investment in promotion. Accordingly we do advise you to use the promotion and PR services we recommend (at additional cost) if sales are important to you and your book is suitable (see the Sales & Marketing page).
I’m a professional writer with qualifications in English, do I still need to have my book edited?
Even the finest writers make mistakes, particularly in punctuation, spacing etc. We will not publish any book without at least checking through the manuscript for errors. If it needs very little work, the fee will be modest.
I’ve already had someone edit/proof-read my book, do I still to have to pay you to edit it?
It depends how good a job they did! We will take a look at your MS, and if we find it is of publishable standard we will not need to charge a fee for checking it through and correcting errors. However we nearly always find that further work needs to be done unless the manuscript has been professionally edited, and sometimes even then.
What does it cost?
We charge a fee for the writing or editing work required, plus the costs of design, printing and publishing. We’ll give you an approximate estimate on sight of your manuscript. Broadly, costs are influenced by the length of the book, the number of illustrations and the amount of editing work required.
Can you help me to sell it?
Yes, if your book is suitable. We will advise you on the various options for marketing and promoting it, and the cost implications. See our Sales and Marketing page. If your book is of interest only to your friends and family or we don’t feel trade marketing is likely to be worthwhile, we will not advise you to spend money on it.
Can I sell my book myself?
Absolutely – our most successful authors are those who put time and effort into promoting their books themselves, using their own contacts and the social media such as Facebook, Twitter and email. You will achieve the best profit margin on copies you buy from us and sell yourself.
How long will it take?
If you are submitting a complete MS which is in reasonable shape, we should get it back to you within 3-6 weeks depending on how much work is required. Writing a book from scratch, or rewriting it from rough notes, will naturally take longer. Once we have the final text, you should see a book design within a fortnight, a proof within a further week and your printed books within a further three weeks, provided there are no major revisions or other delays.
Could there be any legal problems?
Though we take no responsibility for any legal issues such as libel or breach of confidence, we will alert you if we see potential problems. We usually suggest that if your book is a true life story and includes critical comments about living people, their identities are disguised so that they cannot be identified. We will not publish a book which we feel is likely to expose us as publishers to legal action.
Do I own the copyright?
Yes, the copyright for the book will be exclusively yours.
Do I need an ISBN number?
Yes, part of our service includes providing an ISBN number for every book we produce.
Can I get more copies printed later?
Yes. We keep digital files of your book indefinitely. We can also provide your files on disk if you wish, though it’s unlikely that you will be able to edit them further yourself because of the specialist software we use.
ebook readers and distribution
We produce each book in a range of formats for easy distribution and downloading in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, United States, United Kingdom, France and Canada. We supply books in a wide variety of electronic formats for Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Nobles’ Nook, plus most other ebook formats.
We have a dedicated sales team who help to sell our books into bookstores, where the book has commercial potential or you wish to promote it on the open market. We also offer a PR service, which enables us to give your book initial publicity by sending out press releases to appropriate publications and editors to encourage them to review it, including radio and TV if appropriate. Please see our Sales and Marketing page for more information.