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.       



Monday 8 November 2021


How we came to publish this one

We put out a call to all of the writers we’ve published for their creative responses to the new normal that is emerging as we’re learning to live with and cope with Covid 19. This is similar for what we did for our first response to the pandemic – which produced the book Covid 19: An Extraordinary Time. There is a slight difference thought. For the first book we used a time limit on submission and published all that we got in that time. For this second book we used the first 50 submissions that came in. This produced a book that was just over 50,000 words. This is very near to the sweet spot of 46,000 words for multi-author collections. The first book almost reached 60,000 words.  

The title

It really is simple and to the point.   

Some notes about the process

We did a minimum edit on this. It was really a copy edit followed by a couple of proof reads.

The cover

We went for yellow with an image of a coronavirus cell on the cover. This is a hardback book as we’re rather hoping people will keep their copies to hand on down to their grandchildren and great grandchildren.  

Some notes about style

We have a mixture of short stories, poems, pieces of memoir and diary entries. Not all of it is dark and gloomy. There is still some room for humour and hope.   

Who we think the reader is

Many of the readers will be other writers and the friends, family, fans and followers of the writers featured in the book. Other readers will be those who seek some rationalisation of and mitigation about this extraordinary time we have gone through.    

What else

We’ve had a few nice reviews and we’re pleased to report that the book is doing exactly what we wanted it to.

Review copies

It’s always great if you can buy the book, or download it if you have a plan, and give us a review. Just click on the link to be taken to our online bookshop. If you would like to review and you are strapped for cash, just get in touch for a free review copy.       


Thursday 4 November 2021

Two upcoming events

 Woman, Confetti, Sparkles, Blonde, Fun

4 December London: 13.00 – 16.00 GMT   

We are holding our annual get together in London on 4 December. We’ve returned to the Theodore Bullfrog Pub, near Charing Cross. We have the upstairs room which we get free for a minimum spend. As everyone needs lunch before the event, we decided to include that this time.  The event is free but everyone pays for the own lunch and drinks as appropriate from the bar. Thus, we easily cover our minimum spend. 

We’ve had to be very strict on numbers because of Covid, so if you find that you ore one of your guests can’t make it, please cancel via Eventbrite. We do have a waiting list and there are people on it. Follow the Evenbrite link if you would like to join the wait list. 

I did invite the Scribblers group first, and anyone reading this newsletter is entitled to join Scribblers:   Scribblers Sans Frontières This is a private group is for writers published by one of our imprints: Bridge House, CafeLit, Chapeltown, The Red Telephone. Here you can:
• Discuss all technical issues re our books
• Exchange marketing ideas
• Advertise and report on your events
• Promote any of your titles or successes
• Share good practice and ideas
• Get help with writing problems
• Anything else appropriate  

I also tend to let you know news that appears here earlier and in a little more detail.  It’s a sort of inner sanctum, if you like. You need an invite to join this: contact me for an invite.

Then I invited anyone published in 2020 and 2021, either with an individual book on in a multi-author collection.

Finally it was offered via our various pages to anyone else who in connected with us.

The event “sold” out in forty-eight hours.


2 December Zoom Celebration 19:30 – 21:00 GMT 

This is primarily aimed at the people who can’t get to London on 4 December but people attending the live event are also welcome.

There will be quizzes, readings, news, giveaways and of course it will offer the opportunity to put names to faces.

Do join us! Please book in order to get the Zoom link which will also be emailed to you again the day before.  Please book here: 2 December Zoom Celebration