Introduction to SB Publishing
The dream of every author is to see their book in print and available to other people - possibly all over the world - to read and enjoy. At SB Publishing we offer a variety of contract publishing packages to make this happen, or you can choose from a range of publishing services that we have on offer to suit your exact publishing requirements.
So what is ‘contract publishing’? Well, it’s quite simple: A contract publisher charges a client or author to publish a book and the copies of the book printed are 100% owned by the client or author.
Whether you just want a couple of hundred books at home to sell at seminars, talks or from your website, or a print run of 3,000 or more, warehoused and orders fulfilled, we can provide a publishing package for you.
Click on the '+' sign for each of the headings below to find out more
General Trade Publishing -V- Contract Publishing ...
General Trade Publishing
- The author has no major financial outlay. All costs are borne by the publisher.
- The publisher may pay the author an ‘advance on royalty’ payment. This could be classed as a fee for writing the book, but the amount advanced will be taken off any royalties due to the author when the book is sold. The average advance for a first-time author would £1000.
- The contract that the author will be asked to sign with the publisher will, effectively, sign over all rights to the book from the author to the publisher. This is collateral for the publisher who has had to take all the financial risk involved with publishing the book.
- All books published are wholly owned by the publisher, although they will invariably give the author 10 free copies and allow the author to purchase extra copies at a discounted rate.
- The royalty model can vary but, commonly, the author will receive a royalty of around 5% to 8% of the price at which the book is sold. The majority of sales via the general book trade are done through wholesalers who insist on approximately 55% discount on the cover price of the book. So, for example, if your book has a cover price of £10.00 then the publisher would receive £4.50. The author’s royalty would then be between 27p and 36p of this BUT would only be payable after the initial £1000 advance on royalty has been recouped. Therefore no monies would be due to the author until more than 2777 books had been sold, in the best-case scenario.
- The publisher has complete control over if and when any further print runs of the book are made. If the publisher chooses not to print any further copies, the author does not have the right to print any himself or herself unless they can buy back the publishing rights from the publisher.
- The publisher usually has a large number of projects on the go at any one time.
- The author has to have the finances in place to cover the cost of publishing and printing the book.
- No ‘advance on royalty’ payment is made to the author.
- The contract that the author will be asked to sign with the publisher should NOT assign any rights to the book from the author to the publisher. The author should retain ALL rights.
- The author wholly owns all books published, although the author will be asked to provide the publisher with five file copies and five copies to send to the UK book depositories.
- There are no royalties payable to the author as, apart from any fees due to the publisher for warehousing and fulfilment of orders, all revenue from book sales belong to the author.
- The author has complete control over if and when any further print runs of the book are made. The publisher is not permitted to print any further copies unless instructed to do so by the author. All design and layout files are the property of the author and they can request them at any time. It is common for an author to request that the publisher keeps safe copies of all digital design files for the book. These are normally kept, by the publisher, on a cloud-based server with back up.
- The publisher is usually only working on one or, at the most, two publishing projects at any one time.
Our Publishing Services ...
Provision of book ISBN & barcode
The ISBN is the International Book Standard Number. Every book that is to be sold, worldwide, through the general book trade must have one clearly visible on the rear cover and the verso (or copyright) page of the book. We supply every book with its own ISBN and register the book, along with all the relevant bibliographical details, with Nielsen Book Data. Nielsen is the central database for all published books and each one must have its details registered with them via a bona fide publisher. This ensures that your book can be sourced from anywhere in the world, and anyone looking to buy it or look to sell it, can easily find all the details they need. If books are going to be retailed then they will also require a barcode, which we generate to match the ISBN.
The copy-editor is the one who prepares the work for publication but this covers a multitude of tasks. The copy-editor takes the raw material (the 'copy') and makes it ready for publication so that whatever appears in public is accurate, easy to follow, fit for purpose and free of error, omission, inconsistency and repetition. This process picks up embarrassing mistakes, ambiguities and anomalies, alerts the client to possible legal problems and analyses the document structure for the typesetter/designer.
The proofreader does more that simply correct spelling and typing errors. The proofreader’s role is to check that the copy-editor and designer have done a good job and to use judgement in marking final amendments in order to minimize costs and delays. The proofreader can often proof the book two or more times before it is ready for print.
Full cover and interior design
We use a range of specialist book designers and layout specialists depending on the genre of book. Authors have full input into the look and feel of their book along with our guidance of what does and doesn’t work on a book cover or layout design. The old motto that “the cover sells the book” is still true today!
Once the text has been copy-edited and proofread it will be laid out, using industry-standard software, along with any photos or other illustrations, in line with the agreed design.
We have access to printers all over the world and the choice of the right printer for your book will depend on a number of factors. These include whether the book is paperback or casebound; one-colour, two-colour or full-colour; the volume of print run and the timescale in which the final copied are required.
Once the printing of your books has been completed there are options for where they are delivered. You may wish for them to be delivered direct to you and you will then have the responsibility of storage and possible distribution. Alternatively we can arrange storage of your books for which there will be a monthly charge.
Depending on the genre of book we can often arrange, via the wholesaler we use, fulfilment of orders from all UK bookshops and online retailers, as well as website order dispatch. Achievement of orders from these outlets, however, does depend heavily on the ongoing PR & marketing you have in place. Alternatively we do have the facility to manage fulfilment of orders, internationally, on your behalf. Both these options have fee implications, which are made clear at the start.
PR & Marketing
Although we do not offer a full PR & marketing service, we do have expertise in this field and can advise on a strategy along with useful contacts of organisations that could help. For all books that we publish, however, we produce an AI Sheet (Advance Information Sheet). This is an industry-recognised piece of marketing material, which contains an image of the book cover as well as all the relevant bibliographical details as well as a synopsis and key selling points. This can be circulated, on the author’s behalf, to key wholesalers, online bookstores as well as the head offices of High Street bookshops.
Increasingly, authors are requesting Kindle versions of their books to capitalise on both the print and digital book markets. We can produce fully-functional Kindle books to release alongside the printed versions, or we can just produce a book as a Kindle book. Often authors will request a Kindle version initially – to test the market.
The Full Contract Publishing Package
A full package would include the following:
- Provision of a full and detailed publishing plan and schedule
- Allocation of ISBN and registering of all details with Nielsen Book Data
- Copyediting and proofreading of final manuscript
- Designing of book cover / jacket
- Designing of internal book layout
- Laying out of text and illustrations
- Final proofreading and final approval from author
- Making up of final print-ready high-resolution PDF files
- Submission of print files to printer
- Approval of digital print files from printer
- Customs clearance of books into UK and delivery to warehouse
- Warehousing of books
- Distribution of books into UK bookshops, online retailers etc.
- Keying of web orders for fulfilment by distributors
- Advice on a PR & marketing plan
- Digital mailing of AI Sheet to key wholesalers, online bookstores as well as head offices of High Street bookshops
- Production and uploading of a Kindle version of the book to Amazon
Things we will not do ...
We will not tell you how well written your book is – if it isn’t!
We will discuss with you the true market potential of what you have written and how you can best present your book to the public including any changes that we would recommend to make it as appealing and saleable as possible. We will explain about such things as the function and use of an ISBN number and barcode, and the need for your book (if it is to go on general sale) to be shelf-friendly in appearance.
We will not tell you how much better our services are than our competitors and swamp you with reams of review cuttings of other books we have published.
We will simply tell you what services we offer and provide references from other authors and clients for whom we have worked. There are many other, very good contract publishers in the marketplace and it is up to you to choose one with which you feel comfortable working and whom you think will deliver a great product and service.
We will not tell you to send out hundreds of review copies of your book to random people!
Although it is important to send out some review copies, they should be only sent to key people – journalists & reviewers - who specialise in the genre of your book. We will offer to send these for you. What is important is to send a PDF of the book’s AI Sheet (Advance Information Sheet), with ordering details to book buyers and library suppliers well in advance of your publication date. We can also send advance copies of the cover design to these people as well.
We will not tell you we offer a 'subsidy' or 'co-partnership' or 'joint-venture' publishing service; or any other term that implies we provide a financial commitment of our own to your book – we don’t.
All contract publishers are in the business of making a living. We are not philanthropic, nor will any genuine contract publisher give you the false impression that they are. We do however have great pride in producing a superb product for you at a fair & competitive price.
We will not tell you that our way is the only way for you to be published – it isn’t.
Our contract publishing service may, however, be the most efficient and cost-effective way of getting your book published if you want to retain the complete rights to your work and are finding it impossible to get accepted by a mainstream UK publisher.
We will not tell you that your book will definitely be on the shelves in every UK bookshop and library.
Although your book can possibly be made available to order from our wholesaler / distributor by any bookshop, library or online retailer, their desire to order is driven by the PR & marketing that YOU must invest in and provide.
We will not tell you that we register your book with Nielsen Book Data and also send a copy of your book to the British Library and various universities, as though this was a service for which you should be grateful!
As publishers we MUST register every book published in the United Kingdom with Nielsen, and also have to send one copy to The British Library and 5 copies to the Copyright Receipt Office in Edinburgh, which then distributes them to the major universities in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
We will not offer to publish 'as many copies as the market demands' or 'x number of copies' while you receive only a few 'free' copies.
As a reputable contract publisher we will agree to publish a fixed number of copies for you at a fixed price, and we will explain to you that once you've had your typeset print-ready PDF files are made, you can always have more copies printed, if necessary, at any time after your first print run. The books you have printed are wholly owned by you. However, if you have too many printed in that first run, your grandchildren will still be trying to get rid of them from your loft 10 years after you’re dead!
We will not charge you to buy copies of your own book!
The deal with us will always be that you own every copy that we print for you. The only ongoing costs will be warehousing and fulfilment charges (if you choose to take advantage of these service we offer) and the pre-agreed commission due to us on any sales that we make into bookshops etc., on your behalf.
We will not tell you that you will recoup your total outlay through book sales.
We will make sure you understand that the chances of recovering your initial outlay on the first print run alone (unless it is a very large print run) is negligible as the marketing possibilities for a book by an unknown author are invariably poor unless good investment is made in PR & marketing. All of the costs of producing your book will be amortised over that first print run. Future print runs will, of course, be much cheaper as there will be no design or publishing costs – unless you choose to make any changes to the book.