Wednesday 24 November 2021

Publishers' risk


Investment, Safe, Money, Insurance

When we publish your book we are taking certain risks.

Time risks

·         Editing time: this depends on the length of the book, how well it has been written and edited by the author and how efficiently the editor and writer work together. This has varied between six hours and forty hours.

·         Proof reading: this is in addition to editing. It has varied between two hours and twenty hours.  

·         Design. This can be as little as two hours or as many as twenty. It depends to a large extent on how well the author has formatted their work in the first place – which has more to do with using Word correctly than knowing about publishing conventions. We push the text through a template and if the use of Word formatting was constant the template quickly adopts the text to the publishing conventions we use. Some books have special features such as line drawings and tables. This adds a little to the time but not nearly as much as poor Word formatting.      

·         Cover design. This takes about ten hours. We prefer to do this in-house – there are technical and marketing issues that we understand and authors rarely do . There is a lot of toing and froing in addition between author and designer. We’re just a bit soft that way. Most publishers just send you a copy of the cover design and expect you to say “That’s lovely. Thank you.” In fact in all of the processes we describe here will include elements of that but it will vary from author to author. It’s particularly heavy in this area.

·         Set-up. We have to load up digital fields of the inside of the book and the cover. As we have super-super-fast broadband this now actually less than an hour – the uploads themselves taking seconds.

·         Admin. How long is a piece of string? But there is a process of post-production admin that takes about ten hours. Then admin and marketing carry on our whole inventory for a couple of hours a day.

·         Marketing: this overlaps with post-production and covers the areas of soft and hard launches.

Financial risks

·         Editing. Some of our editing is done in-house by Debz or myself, though Debz sometimes joins our free-lancers. We pay our editors £30.00 an hour, a little over the recommended rate for proof-readers. If we do the work in-house we work out our hours and gradually pay ourselves back from the other 50% of sales revenue.

·         Proof-reading also £30.00 an hour – a mixture of in-house and free-lancers

·         Design - all done in-house    

·         Cover-design – completed in-house. Occasionally we commission an artist and this costs a further £250 - £400.00. Sometimes, with a lot of negotiation, authors provide their own art work. This usually increases the amount of time we spend on cover design.

·         Post-production admin, just in the immediate soft / hard launch phase time x £30.00 per hour – currently all done in-house.   

·         Set-up costs – free on Amazon KDP books which we use for certain titles but for the majority of our books £71 for uploads and proof copy and a further £8.40 per arum for distribution costs.                    

·         British Library – we have to supply one copy of your book to them and the cost of this varies according to the size of the book. Usually under £10.00 including shipping. We are sometimes asked for a further five for the deposit libraries. Again costs vary. This usually comes in under £20.00 as shipping costs plummet with five books and we pay the same for a print run charge for one book a for five hundred or more .  

·         ISBN – we’ve just bought 100 new ones – they work out at £3.50 each.

·         Occasionally we advertise your book, usually spending up to $39.00.

·         Occasionally we enter your book for an award – free up to about £35.00           

·         Overhead costs: membership of Independent Publishers Guild, about £200 and 15p per submission via Duosuma (so tips gratefully received.)

·         Ongoing marketing and general admin just goes on without its time or finance being assigned to any one book or to an hourly fee.



Calculated for the period that your book is in the black. This in includes having to earn out your advance if you have been paid one. This will be in all new contracts and will be applied to all authors retrospectively if this wasn’t in the original contract.      


Publishing patterns

Traditional publisher      

This is us. We never charge anything for any of these services and we take rights so we are a traditional publisher. We use print-on-demand and digital selling, which in my books makes us very modern. We use a financial model that protects us and that means we can carry on publishing books.


Self-publishing services

This includes editing, proof-reading, cover-design, book design, marketing, formatting for print and formatting for e-book. You pick and choose which services you require and who to buy them from. The providers never take your rights. We are looking at offering this service as well.   


Hybrid publishes

They provide all of the above services and take rights. To be avoided? They tend to be expensive though actually buying all of the packages mentioned under self-publishing can cost even more but as you choose who provides what you can create a better package. And you may not need all of the services.


The main point is- this is what we risk when we take you on. And we’ll never drop an author because they don’t sell well. That is what probably makes us different from the Big Five and indeed from some other indies.       



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