Some of you that know me know I own a small independent publishing company. Those of you that didn’t, now you do. By small I mean small, less than 10 published works, and all from a single author. Myself. That said, I’ve been seeing a change in the air lately. There is a big draw to become indie published, which is exactly why I started the company–so I could be indie, without being indie. I wanted a publisher’s name in the credits, but didn’t want the stress of finding a publisher.
I’ve started considering how I could use this changing paradigm to make profit. With the expansion of print-on-demand, and the increasing quality of such services, not to mention the expansion of eBooks as a competitive reading medium, and the inexpensiveness of eBook production, I really do see us on the precipice of a new age in publishing.
It’s for that reason I’ve started planning out a new publishing contract, one that is weighted in favor of the author, and not the publishing house. Costs can be cut by utilizing freelancers on a project-by-project basis, and maintaining a vastly online presence–all of which I have experience with, and can setup without much effort. As always, I’m looking for no-hassle, passive income, so I’d be hiring a single full-time assistant, an editor who would be able to sift through the submissions for the cream of the crop. We’d then submit those for editing to one of the stable freelance editors, sending back the results to the author.
I’m aiming for the middle ground between Vanity Publisher and Traditional Publisher. I won’t take anything and everything, but I don’t want to have to invest so much work that the financial side of it requires a bigger cut. I’d also be looking for a very non-traditional, free flowing contract. Contracts would focus on works as works, not works as a means of enslaving the author. Authors need to be free. They cannot thrive in a relationship that requires they be leashed to you.
I’m considering this: A high royalty (50%) on earnings until the expenses are paid off, or until 1 year of publication has elapsed (meaning if the book takes 6 months to edit, and is released on June 1st of 2014, June 1st of 2015 the royalty would switch), whichever happens sooner. During that first year all editing, typesetting, and marketing costs would be covered by us, with the author and / or their representative having an equal seat at the discussion table for all of it. Once everything is agreed upon, the publishing will happen. Once the expenses are covered, or a year has elapsed (again, whichever happens sooner), the royalty would then convert to 15%. Again, this is the publisher side. That means that we (the publisher) would sell the book, and if it made $1.00, we would pocket $0.15, the rest going to the author.
Obviously, due to the cost paradigm, the marketing efforts for that work would dry up after the first year. The author would need to cover a larger portion of advertising themselves, etc. And we would not be able to cover major events, such as book signings, but these are all things the author would have the time to focus on.
The important thing is getting a professional book to market, without the hassle of funding it yourself, and if you want someone else to handle all of the decisions and just get to the writing, we could make that happen to.
What do you think of this type of publisher plan? Could it work? Would you use it? Am I crazy for even considering it? Let me know in the comments!