Here are the most frequently asked questions we receive. The chances are, you’ll find some helpful information quickly just by flicking through these. If you would like further clarification, don’t hesitate to contact us.
You can also check out our Help & Info section which is packed with How To articles and free resources. Get useful documents and templates, learn how to manage your publishing project and exchange ideas with other writers.
About Self Publishing
Self Publishing is a process that allows authors to publish their own books and to make them available for sale in the marketplace. Compared to traditional publishing, self publishing is fast, uncomplicated, and offers authors full control over the look and feel of their book.
As a self publishing service, what we do is help you turn your manuscript into a beautifully polished product and distribute it widely for sale. Unlike traditional publishers, we do not own your book or seek to control print, electronic and film rights. You retain full copyright to your work and can set the pricing of your book.
Self publishing is also a fast process. While it is the norm for traditional publishers to schedule a book on the waiting list for a year or more, you can hold your completed book and start selling it within a month.
Traditional Publishing is a business model that has many problems, causing many authors to grow disillusioned with it. Firstly, selling a book to a publisher today is an uphill task as publishers have become elitist and reject the majority of all manuscripts submitted. Secondly, they use a costly process that involves large print runs, and often do not recoup their costs when books do not sell. Thirdly, authors have little or no say in the design, pricing and marketing of their books, and must put up with things they dislike.
Self Publishing puts the power of publishing in your hands. Rather than having a publisher decide on the fate of your book (and get it wrong, like the 11 publishers who turned down “Harry Potter”), you can customise every detail of your book and put it out there in the market for consumers to judge.
In addition, you will typically earn much higher royalties from your book sales than with traditional publishing, which only pays 5-15% of profits.
Choosing Self Publishing is a big step and it’s important to do your research so you feel comfortable with your decision. Before choosing to self publish, it’s good to read up on the differences between traditional publishing and self publishing (our Resources page is a good place to start), as well as to research the various self publishers out there. Remember that there is no publishing method that promises bestselling success, but self publishing puts a lot of control into your hands. If you’re a hardworking and savvy author, the sky is your limit!
A Literary Agent’s work is essentially to represent the author in business matters such as negotiating better contracts with the publisher, such as larger advances or higher royalty rates. In exchange, they are typically paid 15% of your author’s earnings. In traditional publishing, literary agents have become a kind of gatekeeper—many publishing houses only consider agented submissions and ignore all other manuscripts.
In self publishing, there isn’t really a need for a Literary Agent since you are publishing yourself and have control over your royalty rate. Unlike traditional publishers, we do not buy exclusive rights to your work, nor pay any advances. You may still choose to employ an Agent to represent you for other matters like negotiating an offer from traditional publisher or a film production studio. However, do note that an Agent can be expensive so do your research to see if you need one and be sure to avoid those who charge upfront fees.
You should always have an International Standard Book Number because this is the code that publishers, booksellers and buyers around the world use to identify and distinguish between books. Every book code is unique and contains information about the publisher, title and language it is written in.
An ISBN number is included in all of our packages, for each version of your book. For example, if you have a printed book and an eBook, they will receive two different ISBN numbers.
Copyright Registration is not strictly necessary as you automatically own the copyright to anything you write but offers you a higher level of protection. Registering your work creates a official record, which will be useful should you ever be involved in a legal suit over copyright or plagiarism.
As part of our packages, we automatically register your book with the U.S. Copyright Office and send copies for cataloguing. We will also apply on your behalf for a Library of Congress Control Number, which will enable libraries to order your books.
No, self publishing is not a scam. It is an exciting and viable alternative to traditional publishing which allows authors much more control and flexibility over their books and their careers, at the same time retaining all their rights and being able to set their own profit margin. Many bestselling and established authors like Barry Eisler and J.A. Konrath have switched to self publishing, while others started out by successfully selling their self-published books before attracting traditional publishers.
The reason why some people have dubbed self publishing a scam is mainly because of two factors. Firstly, some authors enter into self publishing expecting it to be similar to traditional publishing when the two business models are in fact very different. For example, the traditional publisher bears all the costs of preparing, publishing and marketing the book, while giving the author little or no say in the process, whereas in self publishing, the author partners with the publisher and shares the costs and profits.
Secondly, some companies have misled authors in believing that they were signing traditional book contracts when they were in fact self publishers. Or they may have deceptively sold authors publishing packages with many hidden costs. But the problem here is with business practices, and not with Self Publishing, which is completely legitimate.
We believe in helping our authors make well-educated, well-informed choices and encourage all our prospective clients to carry out as much research and ask as many questions as they need.
We know there are many publishing companies out there and it can be confusing! Here are some competitive differences that we offer.
- Limited clients, personalised service, rapid turnaround time. We are a boutique publisher that takes on fewer clients so that we can give each one our full attention. We are not a massive company operating under multiple names.
- No hidden fees. You get everything you need to publish your book in our package. Many companies charge extra for essentials like ISBN numbers and copyright registration but we don’t. If it’s a must have, it’s included.
- Distribution to major booksellers like Ingram, Amazon and Barnes and Nobles.
- “Search Inside The Book” feature for both Amazon and Barnes and Nobles. Many companies will offer you this feature for only one bookseller.
- No sales calls. Some companies will call you repeatedly to sell you their marketing packages or persuade you to upgrade your packages. We never do this. We know if you like our work, you’ll call us.
- Order author’s copies of your title at close to cost price.
- No extra charges for eBook version of book (for printed packages) or to insert additional graphics/images.
- Cancel your project any time before publication and get a full refund back. You will always own the rights to your work.
- Low tax rates. Because of our location, we enjoy some of the best tax rates and can pass the savings on to you.
First of all, we decide on what your payments will be based on the type of package you have, and the types of services or requests you need. Based on that, we will present an agreement which will state the payment amounts in key milestones. Typically, this will be: 50% upon embarking on the project, 30% after receiving the first proof, and 20% when the project is published.
Do remember though that we have a Money Back policy which will give you a full refund should you cancel your book before completion. That’s our promise to you that you will be 100% satisfied by our work.
We offer a royalty of 80% of profits from the sale of your book. Your royalties are calculated by subtracting the trade discount and the printing cost of each book from the cover price. We will recommend a minimum price you can set for the book, but you can choose to set your own price to for greater royalties. No royalty is paid on copies ordered by the author as they are already close to cost price. We send out royalties by check twice a year.
As an author, you should be aware that all profits earned from publishing are considered taxable income, both for the publisher and the author. Depending on the country you reside in, you could see a large percentage of your royalties consumed by tax.
Because we are based in Malta, which has a special status in the EU, and extensive tax treaties with most of the world, we are able to offer both a reduced tax royalty banking, and tax free production fund facilities for film productions.
We pride ourselves on our 100% satisfaction rate. If you are unhappy with your book at any time in the production process, you can cancel your project at any time before publication. You will receive a full refund and retain all rights to your original content.
If your book has been successfully published and you wish to discontinue it, there is no refund, but you can terminate it at no cost. Simply inform us and we will instruct publishers to stop selling the book.
You own the copyright to your work and you have the right to publish it elsewhere provided that you do not use our cover design, formatting or any other content that is copyrighted by us.
We always start with talking to you about your project and what you hope to achieve with it. From there, we advise you on the best package or services that would meet your needs and help you set some goals. We will then prepare a contract for you that would encapsulate our goals for the project, the different stages and the expected end outcomes.
You will then submit your manuscript to us as an electronic file, and we will begin work. You will have opportunities to check in on progress and to look at the work done as we go through the design process. We will also consult you on your preferences in terms of the covert design and any illustrations. When you are happy with all elements of the completed project, you can sign off for it to be published and distributed.
Because we take on a limited number of clients, we have a very fast turnaround time. Your book can be formatted, designed and published within 3 months.
As we edit and format your manuscript electronically, it is best if you can submit it as a digital file, preferably as a Word document or an Adobe InDesign file. If you use another format, or require transcription from a hard copy document, please speak to us.
Before submitting your manuscript, please follow our guidelines for Manuscript Preparation and Image Optimisation to reduce any issues that may arise from formatting and incompatibility.
We can accept hard copy or handwritten manuscripts but do be aware that it will require additional labour costs for transcribing to an electronic form. Alternatively, you may choose to type up the document yourself or ask a friend to do so for you.
There are several standard sizes used within the book industry. If you have not decided what book size to choose, a good thing to do is look at your bookshelf or visit the nearest bookstore and compare the book sizes of the books that are most like yours in content.
Our black and white books can be published in these sizes: 5” x 8”, 6”x 9”, or 8.25” x 11”, while full-colour books are published either as 8.5” x 8.5” or 8.5” x 11”. Each book size will vary in the range of pages it can accommodate. All printing will be done on high quality paper, with glossy full colour covers.
Print on Demand (POD) is a modern method of book production that allows books to be printed at a flexible quantity as when needed. The old method of off-set printing was an expensive gamble for publishers as a print run produced a large quantity of books that had to be stored, or destroyed if unsold. POD technology helps to reduce the cost of publishing by printing books to match orders coming in. As POD produced books are high quality and inexpensive, many small publishers and university presses have switched to on demand publishing.
Simply put, eBooks are the future of book publishing. Imagine a device small enough to
fit in your pocketbook or briefcase with the capacity to store over a hundred books. Even if you’ve never heard of Kindle, Nook, or iPad, the technology is very user-friendly and has revolutionised the way we read.
Another compelling reason to go the eBook route is that digital publishing costs much less than traditional book publishing. Many online booksellers like iTunes and Apple offer authors competitive royalty rates as well, which means you can potentially earn more. Do note however that eBook prices are typically much lower as consumers do not expect to pay the same price as for a physical book.
Each outlet or platform has their own requirements which must be met, from Amazon to brick-and-mortar bookshops. Each format, from Kindle to hardcopy, must be specially formatted each time.
We will convert your manuscripts to the three main formats - PDFs, ePubs (for iPad/Nook) and MobiPocket (forthe Kindle) so that you can sell the same content on different platforms. We use InDesign to create perfectly formatted pages. Our conversion will contain:
- Page formatting, ebook creation and quality control.
- Table of contents, created and hyperlinked appropriately.
- Working hyperlinks within the text.
- Images, tables and graphics.
We will keep the look and feel of your book very similar to the original one. All conversions are tested on the physical devices (Kindle, iPad and Nook) present at our production studio. We also validate to see that they pass the ePubcheck 1.2 (latest ePubcheck) so that the books are accepted on the various store sites without any issues.
In terms of graphics though, bear in mind that some eBook formats have some limitations.
While PDF is the only format that supports documents with graphics and tables, iPad is the only device that allows zooming to enlarge images. Although technology changes daily, currently neither ePub nor AZW/Mobipocket files are designed to view more complex data than text, simple artwork and photos. If you are interested in producing a graphic-intensive book, consider converting it into an app.
Producing your book as an app or an audio book is an alternative way to sell your book in a different form. Audio books appeal to readers who prefer to listen to books being read aloud. We can engage voice talents to record your book as an audio book and package it either to be sold as an audio CD or for digital download.
Apps are very suited to books that are meant to be graphic intensive or have interactive elements. For example, if you have a children’s book, you can choose to produce it as an app together with music, voice acting and animation.
As costs for these special requests will depend on your specific needs, please contact us separately to discuss them.
Each method has their merits, depending on your needs and what you plan to do with them. Here is a summary for your comparison:
- Offset Printing: This traditional method of printing is costly but is still a good choice for producing a larger volume of books because savings from bulk printing will give you a lower “per book” cost. Choose this method if you expect to sell a large volume of books (500+ or more), are able to pay in advance for the large order, and have the means to store the books.
- POD Publishing: This method of printing is very inexpensive for authors because unlike, offset printing, you do not need to buy and store a large volume of books, since they are only printed whenever ordered. Another advantage is that you can make changes to your book along the way after getting feedback from the market. If your book proves to be popular, you can then opt for offset printing.
- eBook Publishing: eBook Publishing is very attractive for new authors because the costs of digital publishing are very low. Also, since your book is formatted digitally, it is easy to distribute online, potentially reaching a larger audience. It also rides on the increasing popularity of eBook reading devices like the Kindle and iPad.
The way your book is sold will depend on what kind of book it is. For printed books, we will work with major book distributers and sellers like the Ingram Book Group (the world’s largest book distributer) and Baker & Taylor Inc. who sell directly to retail chains like Barnes & Nobles, Books A Million and Walmart. Your book will also be made available through online retailers like Amazon. If your book is an eBook, we will market it through the major eBook retailers for the most popular devices like the Kindle, the Nook, iPad, the Kobo and Sony eReader.
Based on the completed books, we will advise a minimum price for the book that takes into account its costs, the trade discount and the competing titles in its genre. But you will be able to increase the pricing if you wish to give yourself higher royalty earnings.
Yes, you can buy author copies of your own titles from us at close to cost price. We will charge you a price that comprises the actual printing cost with an added fee that covers our shipping and handling charges. This will work out to be a much better discount than what the major self publishing companies offer.
We don’t believe in having an online bookstore because we feel that it would be much better to direct sales and marketing through the major book distributers and retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Nobles and iTunes. This will reflect in much better sales figures for you where they matter, and we can concentrate on our core work instead of trying to compete as retailers as well.
This question relates to printed books which don’t sell after being ordered by bookstores. Traditional publishers allow bookstores to return unsold books to them, which is a costly practice but encourage bookstores to order these books freely.
We do not include returnability in our packages because this is a feature that increases costs significantly. However, if you wish to make your book returnable, we can provide this option at additional cost. Your book will be classified as returnable, and you will receive your full royalty on every book sale, whether or not it is returned.
As a boutique self-publisher, we offer a personalised and customised process for planning the marketing and publicity for each book that we publish. Buying standard advertising, radio or video packages is a waste of money if they are not specific and targeted markets that are likely to purchase your book.
What we do is to sit down and really talk you through the markets for your books and the various methods that work e.g. direct marketing, book and blog tours, networking to build your author presence and increase media contacts. We then work with you to develop an action plan that fits your book, and help you produce any materials that you may need.
A savvy and well-connected author can be much more successful at promoting his or her book than traditional publishers who have slashed marketing budgets in recent years, focusing on their bestsellers while giving new authors almost no publicity.
Proofreading is the process of combing through your text from beginning to end to make sure that it reads smoothly and grammatically, and that there are no errors. Proofreaders do not make any suggestions for content changes, but will make minor edits to ensure that the copy reads well.
Editing is a more active process where we will take a rough draft of a book and polish it until it is a perfect product. Editing can involve some restructuring and rewriting of the content.
We offer writing services for authors who have great ideas for books but may lack the time or skill to write them. Our writers work consultatively and discretely with you to meet your vision for the book, and you will own the copyright and rights to the finished product.
We are comfortable with writing both fiction and nonfiction. Our fiction writing experience includes mainstream fiction, children’s books, fantasy/science fiction, historical fiction, romance and suspense. For nonfiction, we have worked extensively in self-help, biographies/memoirs and educational books.
Given our extensive background running a busy Hollywood script agency, we have the inside scoop on what producers are looking for. We can help you shape your script into the form that will attract the most interest from directors, as well as help you perfect that winning pitch.