Okay, so you would really like to publish that book of yours. Typically, you can keep trying to get traditionally published by one of the main publishers, but that can take a long time and perhaps your idea won't be so unique in 18 months' time, or maybe you've exhausted all of your approaches to the big publishers, who just want to stick with safe genres and established authors. And you've tried loads of literary agents, but they're too busy to give you detailed feedback or are currently looking for something specific to their dedicated genre and your novel just doesn't fit their list, despite them liking it.
So, where does that leave you? You could try self-publishing, but it's a bit of a minefield. Some companies have flashy websites and they make it look so easy. Simply send your file and they'll guarantee to get your book published. Wait, I have to pay how much? Yes, self-publishing can be easy but it's also a great way to spend money that you don't have to. Some companies will happily take thousands of pounds from you to make a product you could have done yourself. And in the process, you've surrendered most of your rights (TV, film, audiobook) and are unlikely to be able to get signed by a bigger publishing house in the future because of all that small print you didn't bother to read. Great!
But there is no other alternative, is there? Well, that's where working with an independent publisher can help and how Burton Mayers Books can support you.
It is advisable to spend some time reading up about your publishing options. This guide produced by The Society of Authors gives a good breakdown of different routes that authors can go down and is definitely worth a read. Our director is also a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors and The Society of Children's Book Writer's and Illustrators, so he feels your pain.
Burton Mayers Books started in 2009, trying to get traditional publishers involved in the most exciting project ever. Yet despite interest from big publishing houses, we soon discovered that there just wasn't the right 'market' for our book. So we put our talents together and published Spikez ourselves using our skills and talents. Several titles later, we now use our experience of publishing books and that of other authors to help you do the same. We have an excellent relationship with Lightning Source (Ingram) who are a global Print on Demand (POD) platform, meaning your books can be printed and distributed worldwide. In November 2021 we were accepted onto their Ignite program for independent publishers.
How does it work?
Well, if we like your story and see the potential, then we would build up a relationship with you to take your story towards the publication stage. Unlike some self-publishing or vanity publishers, we would never ask for any type of payment to take the project forward. We do offer a paid-for service for clients who just want to get a book published (self publishing or 'vanity' publishing), this is listed under our paid for services (price brackets to follow). But in keeping with our ethos of telling great stories, and if we love your idea and concept and believe that there is a market for your book, we will never ask you for payment. We absorb all the initial set-up costs in the hope that we will recuperate our costs from sales of your book further down the line (usually in the fist payment of royalties). Whilst this is not a traditional publication contract that offers an advance, it does offer transparency and the potential to choose your markets and returns on your work.
We have no interest in publishing books just for the sake of it. There is no benefit to us in just having a catalogue of books that are not very good quality. It costs us money to buy the ISBNs, read your material, make suggestions, design the cover, format and publish and convert files. All we do is take a percentage of the royalties and a very modest cut for itemised costs, such as legal deposits (which are always outlined before any contract is signed). And this is usually taken from the first batch of royalties (paid every three months). By doing so, it mitigates the risk of the author, which is carried by us, the publisher. You can see a basic sample breakdown of costs here. Many independent publishers have this relationship with their authors, whereby after X number of sales are achieved, a regular royalty is paid.
If your book is a success, you get a great product and a chance to fulfil your dream as a published author; we earn a percentage of the profit and share in your success. If the project doesn't turn you into the next JK Rowling, then you can simply look at the process as a learning curve and focus your attention on the next book; we absorb all the costs and make sure we make better-informed decisions next time.
Wait, so you're a hybrid publisher then? Yes and no, sharing the costs of publication is typical of the hybrid model but we don't take money up front, only from the cost of actual sales. Also, we're very transparent about what you will make and how much you should spend. Some new authors spend a lot of money trying to buy success for their book; you can run out of money very quickly pursuing that avenue. We prefer to operate as an independent publisher and advisor, investing in you to create another great book and welcoming you as part of the team of Burton Mayers Authors. Read their testimonials, or contact them yourself!
All of our authors enjoy a very open and transparent book contract that gives them protection and the ability to keep their options open, should that big publisher come knocking. Most importantly, we also allow them to buy copies of their book in bulk at a very competitive price to allow them to sell at local bookshops with competitive discount, author events, book signings and conventions, to help maximise profits - they can even sell on their own author websites. It also allows them to market and distribute their content more cost effectively. Our aim is to nurture talent and work with you to give you a platform, not to exploit you and destroy your passion for writing. Our contracts work in as much favour for you, the author, as they do for us.
So please, have a look at one of our sample contracts which have been left open for you to explore. All contracts are negotiated before work begins on any joint venture. Likewise, read the testimonials from our authors on how they found the process of working with us, or buy some of their books and read the reviews!