Frequently Asked Questions:
Q? Will you only publish books when you agree with the point of view of the author?
- No, absolutely not. We don't believe in censorship here, unless it is hate material, or obscene. Conversely, publishing a book does not indicate that the material represents the views of this company, or the people who work here. As such, we are not responsible for views that offend people, slander, defamation of character, or plagiarism. The book belongs to the author, and represents their views. It is their book and not ours, and the responsibility for the material included lies with the author.
Q? I have sent you several emails, but you haven’t responded. Why?
- It is possible that we did not receive your email, due to spam filters that are present in various email programs. Sometimes that happens because of words or symbols that you use in the Subject line. To avoid that, follow a few simple steps: Do not use "spammy" words, such as free, new, click now, open immediately, etc. Do not use ALL CAPS, or exclamation marks!!! Do not address the email to Current Resident or To Whom It May Concern. Do not use a domain name in the subject line. Do not place your entire message in the subject line. That is what the body of the email is for. Do not use colorful fonts. The default black color will do. Make certain your email address is not something ridiculous, or spammy-sounding, such as "email@example.com." And the last one might seem ridiculous, but for some reason it is true. Do not use the word "Oprah" anywhere in your email. It will automatically earn "spam points" and get sent to the trash. Yes, some of these are silly, but email programs are always searching for ways to eliminate junk mail, as a "service" to their users, and they have to do it in some manner. Paying attention to the above rules might not solve 100% of the problem, but it will definitely increase your odds of getting through. We do check the junk mail folder from time to time, but it is so full of actual spam that it is often difficult to find anything legitimate that might have slipped through. We hope this helps.
Q? Will you offer a Military discount?
- Yes. Active service people may deduct an additional $50 from our already low prices.
Q? How complicated is it to submit a manuscript?
- Some people have told us that we make it too easy. You just submit your Word Document via e-mail, and we will take care of the rest. It really is that easy. We really are here to help you get published, quickly and painlessly. After all, becoming a published author is supposed to be a good, fun thing, not a hassle. Give us a shot, you won't be sorry.
Q? Do you do printing on site, for items such as brochures and pamphlets?
- No. We are a publishing company, not a printing agency. We handle books, eBooks, CDs and DVDs.
Q? Have you ever had a book that climbed to the top of a bestseller list?
- Yes, seven of them, in fact.
Q? Am I able to have my own publishing company imprint on the book?
- Yes. For an additional $249, we will remove our logo and information, and place your company's name and/or logo on the book.
Q? How long does it take to see my work in print, once I submit it to you?
- It normally takes around one month (30 days) to complete the entire process, however, that depends on a number of factors, such as the amount of work the book needs, and how busy we are. It might even take less time.
Q? If I want to sell the publishing rights to another company down the line, am I able?
- Yes. You retain 100% of the rights. That applies to film and television rights as well. Hey; it could happen...
Q? Do you accept collect telephone calls?
- No. We do not accept collect telephone calls, especially overseas calls. This is not because we don't want to talk to you, it is because we don't have that type of phone service and can't afford a $150 phone call.
Q? Do you do yearbooks?
- Yes. We will absolutely do a school yearbook, a family photo album, textbooks, cookbooks, or pretty much whatever else you can dream of. We also do audio CDs and video DVDs. Do you have a favorite vacation video that you want to share with the family? We can do that!
Q? Do you offer book-related items, with images from your books on them, such as bookmarks, business cards, tote bags, t-shirts, pens, signs, banners, calendars, magnets, coffee mugs, mouse pads, iPhone cases, key-chains, hats, flash drives, bottle openers, etc.?
- Yes, we do. There are several options under our Promotional Packages.
Q? Am I too old to write a book? (We get this one a lot also!)
- Of course not. With age comes wisdom (hopefully). Our oldest author was 97, and our youngest was 7. So, you are never too young either.
Q? What services do you provide?
- We take care of formatting for paperback, file conversion for eBooks (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, etc.), cover design, copyright, ISBN, distribution through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Abe Books, and many other online retailers, royalty payments, CD and DVD sales, hardcover books, and a few other things, as needed.
Q? I would like additional copies of my book. Should I order them from Amazon, or from you?
- The best deal, for the consumer, is still to buy new from Amazon, and the best deal for our authors, is to purchase books from us, at 50% off the cover price. You can purchase as many, or as few as you like, and that offer never expires. You can't beat that...
Q? Do I get a free copy of my book?
- If you live within the United States, you receive one. Then you may purchase unlimited books for half of the cover price. So, if the retail list price of your book is $8.00, then you may purchase them from us for $4.00 each, plus shipping.
Q? Will you set up book signings for authors?
- No. The reason is, many of our authors reside out of state, or even out of the country, making that nearly impossible. And the person who knows your schedule the best, is you. We couldn't possibly coordinate that.
Q? Do you need an illustrator?
- We don't, but, we get a lot of authors that ask if we can put them in touch with one. So, if you would like to leave us with contact information, if someone requests your services, we will send them in your direction.
Q? Are you hiring?
- No. Sorry. No job openings at this time. We do accept interns from local colleges that need school credit though.
Q? Can we email you the manuscript?
- Yes. Please send to: firstname.lastname@example.org. We do not accept handwritten, or printed documents.
Q? What format should pictures be in?
- A 300 dpi. JPG
Q? Do you publish children’s books?
- Yes, we publish almost all kinds of books, fiction or non-fiction.
Q? What format do you accept manuscripts in?
- Preferably Microsoft Word. We do NOT accept Publisher, Works, or anything typed on a typewriter, or handwritten.
Q? I noticed that someone is selling used copies of my book for an outrageous price. How can that be?
- If you spot your book selling on Amazon.com, listed as USED, or for $100, that does not mean that the other bookseller has purchased copies. There are sellers out there, who offer books that they do not physically have. When an order is placed, they quickly order the book from Amazon at the regular price, ship it to the buyer, taking their cut. These places are the ultimate middle-men, and take advantage of people who think they are getting a better deal.
Q? Why is Amazon is offering my book at a discounted price?
- If Amazon offers your book for a discounted price, that is a good thing. Some people have wondered if it means Amazon thinks your book is worth less. Not at all. It is because they believe your book is capable of selling more, and are offering it at a discounted price to help with sales. THEY absorb the cost of the discount. It does NOT come out of your royalties.
Q? Will my book be carried in stores?
- Maybe. There is no easy answer for this one. That is pretty much potluck and highly unlikely. That doesn't mean your book isn't good enough, just that the amount of competition for shelf space is fierce. Amazon has more than 20 million books on its site, as it has unlimited space on its website. There aren't many book stores left. Borders, Walden's, B. Dalton, and most others are gone. A typical Barnes & Noble brick and mortar store, has room for a mere 150,000 titles, so they have to be selective. They have to be selective about what they stock, and are more likely to order something from a celebrity author, who already has a big name and a built in audience. That is just the way it is. If you are lucky enough to know the owner of a small, local bookstore, or can talk a local B & N manager into carrying your book, then good for you. They can also special order your book through their in-store computer system. They are in business to make a profit however, so there is no guarantee. Your book will be on the distribution lists, along with all the celebrity authors, but again, it is like a drop of water in the ocean. And book stores make decisions on an individual basis, so any publisher that tells you they will get your book in stores is lying. Get to know the manager of your local store, it is possible that they will allow you some space on a local author display table.
Q? What channels do you distribute through?
- We submit your book to
- Amazon.Com, Barnes & Noble.Com, Abe Books, Books-A-Million, Alibris, Periplus, Bookingham Palace, Bangin’ Books, Powell’s City of Books, Booktopia, eCampus.com, Bookprice24.com, Russell Books, Biblio.co.uk, Tattered Cover Bookstore, Creation Bookstore, Mireva Online Bookshop, The Harvard Bookstore (Since 1932), Waterstone’s Marketplace, Laurel Bookstore, Campus Book Rentals, Bookworld, The Drama Book Shop (Since 1917), Scripture Gift and Book Shop, Open Trolley, Vroman’s Bookstore (Since 1894), Alibris For Libraries, Whale of a Tale Children’s Bookshoppe, Cascades of the Rockies Bookstore, Rakuten.com, Angus & Robertson (Since 1886), Livaria Cultura, Flipkart.com,
- and thousands of other online retailers and outlets including bookstores, libraries, academic institutions, and wholesalers.
- Countries of sale include: The United States, Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, New Zealand, Japan, India, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Austria, Switzerland, Monaco, Luxembourg, Vatican City, China, Belgium, Singapore, Indonesia, and The Netherlands.
- We distribute through Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Lightning Source, and NACSCORP.
- We promote your work through our online network, including Facebook and Goodreads.
- Amazon is very fast when it comes to getting your book information online. Other companies do it at their convenience. We do not work for them, nor they for us, so we have no control over how quickly they work, nor how they display your book.
Q? I already have an ISBN from a previous edition. Can I use that?
- We cannot use other company's ISBNs, so if you have one from a previous edition, we cannot use it. The ISBN identifies a specific edition of a book. You even need different ones for paperback versus eBook versions. That is the way it is. If you already purchased one; sorry. Under certain circumstances, we can use ISBNs that have not previously been utilized.
Q? Can I make changes, once the book is published?
- Preferably not. The manuscript should be complete and correct when you submit it, but if you discover an incorrect fact, which requires changing, you are able to make one change, at a cost of $249. That's it. Once the book has been published, it will cost $399 to remove it, make changes, and replace it. If Amazon prints it wrong, they will replace the books free of charge. If we made a mistake, we will fix it. If you just decide you want to change something, you will have to pay a $249 fee to the printer, to resubmit the work and set it back up again. There is more work to that, than you might think. And if you want changes after that, or decide to rewrite, or even rename your book, you will have to begin the entire process from the beginning, for the original fee.
Q? Do you offer content editing?
- No. A true content editor, charges several thousand dollars, or a per-word fee, as they change content, often nearly rewriting an entire book, so that it flows better. If you give us a manuscript that is not the way you wanted it, unfortunately, that is what is going to get published. If you need a content editor, however, we can recommend a good one.
Q? Do you accept payments in installments?
- Yes. We are always looking for ways to make things easier, or more convenient for our clients, so we are working with PayPal, to create an installment plan. On amounts over $99, you can take up to six months to pay, without interest. That way, it gives you more time to pay, but PayPal guarantees the payment. Win - win! We just feel terrible when we have to "remind" people to pay.
Q? Why can’t I use my favorite font, set my own margins, or make other changes? It’s my book.
- In order for books to be published through ANY company, they MUST adhere to certain industry standards. If you submit a manuscript that does not adhere to these standards, it will be changed. If you refuse to allow it to be altered, then it will not be published, as no one will print it, or carry it. And if that happened, we would be the ones that ended up taking the blame...
Q? Can I meet with you personally?
- No. Please do NOT show up at my house unannounced. I have had neighbors call the police because a "crazy woman" was pounding on my porch door at 6:15 a.m. on a Sunday morning, and another telephoning me from my driveway at 10:00 p.m. on New Year's Night. There really are no questions that I cannot answer via email. Email is the most efficient means of communicating with me anyway.
Q? Can I call if I need something?
- Preferably not. The most efficient way to contact us, is either a private message via Facebook, or via email at email@example.com. We are rarely in the office these days, as we do consulting at different sites, and return often after business hours, sometimes too late to return a phone call. Please use the above email address to submit manuscripts (in Word format) as well. Please remember that we are located in New York State, in the Eastern Time Zone. Do NOT call at 2:00 a.m. Please don't leave threatening messages on my answering machine, because I wasn't here when you called. When I return to fourteen messages from one person, who is yelling, because they think I am just not answering my phone, it makes me want to stop doing business with you, or even call the police. Then, when I call them back, wondering what the crisis is, they announce they were "just checking in." That is simply not a good way to get a publisher on your side.
Q? Can you offer me help with my taxes?
- We do not offer tax assistance. None of us work for H & R Block, or the IRS. I can offer a bit of advice though. If you list author, as your primary profession, there are some tax deductions that can be taken, to deduct expenses, such as publishing, or purchasing books. Hint... Hint...
Q? Can I use you as a reference?
- We are not able to write letters of recommendation, either for college, or for a job. Simply put; we don't know you. I may have spoken to you on the telephone briefly, or communicated via email, but we don't know you well enough to recommend you for a job. Sorry.
Q? Can you give me regular updates on how my book is selling?
- We are sorry, but no. We have more than 3,000 active clients at this time, and cannot give that kind of attention to each one. Most publishers send out one check per year, with little to no explanation. We receive a monthly statement from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Kobo sends one out every six months, and others at different intervals. There is a delay in releasing the results, as Amazon allows up to ninety days for product returns. If your book sold any copies during the month of March, we will receive a statement sometime around the end of May. If it sold copies during April, we will find out at the end of June. Chances are, if you haven't heard anything, you haven't sold anything. You do not need to call me daily, to find out how well your book is selling. No, you cannot see the statement, as it would violate privacy laws. It has the personal information on it for every author we do business with. I cannot imagine you would be happy if I showed your information to everyone else. And no matter how many times I am asked, the answer will still be the same.
Q? When will my royalties arrive?
- Royalties, which means the amount given to the author, once the cost of printing, binding, and distributing a book are paid, are distributed quarterly. If you sell a book during the month of May, we receive a statement from Amazon at the end of July, followed by a check at the beginning of August. So, if you sell a book on May 1st, it might take until September to receive a check. Barnes & Noble does something similar, while Kobo only pays twice a year (every six months). And, of course, this depends on whether your book sells any copies during that period.
Q? If I have already published my book with another company, but I am not happy with them, is it possible to republish with you?
- Absolutely. As long as you own the rights, most of the time, it is as simple as notifying the previous publisher and sending us the file. And if your book has ratings and reviews on Amazon, they are easily transferred over to the new edition. Also, quite often, republishing can breathe life into sales.
Q? How does “this” work?
- Well, I assume that you are referring to the publishing process... First, you sign up for the publishing package that you want on our site. Then we will send you instructions on how to send us your Microsoft Word Doc and any cover ideas that you may have. Then we create a professional-looking cover, create an interactive table of contents (for the e-book version, if appropriate), compile these elements into the appropriate format, convert the files for use on Kindle, Nook and/or paperback, assign an ISBN, distribute the books to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Books, etc., and send you royalty checks as appropriate. Turnaround time is around one month (30 days). The most secure method of paying us is by PayPal, but we also accept checks and money orders. So, simply put, email us the Word Doc and we do the rest...
Q? Do you publish books in languages other than English?
- Yes. We have done several bilingual books, in English-Spanish, but the proofreading of the Spanish portion was up to the author.
Q? Why did you form your own publishing company?
- (Just kidding.)
- Up until recently, I spent the better part of three decades as a teacher of students with special needs. I have also spent time as a video game designer, website designer and graphic designer. I have also had six books published up to this point with more on the way. Getting a book published is always exciting, but often to do so, you end up facing rejection after rejection from the big publishers who only want to sign best-selling authors. You also run into the same rejection while attempting to secure an agent.
- I got tired of receiving upwards of 90 rejection letters per book, so I tried one of the vanity publishing companies. You are correct that we don't charge a large sum of money. Some of the other companies such as Author House can charge up to $15,000 per title. What do you get for your money? 20 copies of your book. That's it! Other companies offer to publish you for only $99, but you end up doing all of the work yourself. That's fine for someone with a degree in computer science, but the average person doesn't even know about some of the advanced features in Word or how to use them. The average person doesn't know how, or have the software to convert the files for use on the Kindle or Nook. The average person doesn't know how to design a professional-looking cover or their own author page. And the average person doesn't have the time to learn how to do all of this and actually get it done.
- That's where we come in. I decided to form my own publishing company to assist those people who wish to write because they have a story to tell. My goal was to offer a good product at a good price; nothing more. I feel badly for people who are being taken advantage of by the vanity publishers and paying $15,000 to get one book published It's simply not fair. I recruited others in this area who I had known through various networks: graphic artists, web designers, etc. and set up Starry Night Publishing (named after my favorite Van Gogh painting).
Q? Have you ever met any famous people?
- Well, yes actually, although I'm not certain what this has to do with the publishing site, but thank you for your interest in my personal life... I have met William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, John DeLancie, Nana Visitor, Michael Dorn, Marina Sirtis, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Anthony Ainley, John Levene, Elisabeth Sladen, John Leeson, Carole Ann Ford, William Russell, Sophie Aldred, Nicola Bryant, Wendy Padbury, Matthew Waterhouse, Nicholas Courtney, Terrance Dicks, Sadie Miller, Art Stratton, Matt Griffo, Caitlin Blackwood, Stephen King and the Queen Mother.
Q? Do you publish hardcover books?
- Yes and No. We do offer hardcovers, for an additional charge. However, these books are for your use only. Amazon and B&N will not carry them.
Q? Do you publish books formatted for the iPad?
- Well, yes and no. We do not format our books in the proprietary format that the iPad uses, because if you do, Apple will not allow you to sell that book on any other site but theirs. However, there are apps available on the iPad that allow readers to read books formatted for both the Kindle and Nook. So, your books will be available to read on iPad, as long as the reader is using one of the free apps.
Q? How is the cover price of my book determined?
- The minimum cover price of the paperback is determined by the number of pages. The more pages there are, the more paper and ink are needed, and the more it costs to produce. That is the minimum price and can always be set higher, though that is not recommended. The more expensive a book is, the fewer copies it sells, especially for authors that are not as well known. The price of the e-book however, is not determined this way, as there are no costs connected to printing it. We like to set the price of our e-books at $2.99. The reason for this is, although the royalties are not as great per book, unless you are a well-known author, most people are more likely to purchase a less expensive book. Therefore, if it is affordable, you will sell more copies.
Q? What guarantee do I have that I will sell 10,000 books?
- None. I can't promise you that you will sell even one. We don't have a crystal ball, nor do we read tea leaves. No one can make that promise. Any publisher that claims that they can sell a specific number of books for you is lying. It depends on a number of factors, the most important being the quality of the book. If it isn't very good, most people won't want to read it. Of course there are a lot of really good books that don't get read, and a lot of really bad books that sell a lot of copies, but most of that comes from the second factor, which is the popularity of the subject matter. There are also publishing companies that are not-so-reputable, who actually charge extra money to promote your book. And, please allow me to be blunt, you might think you have written a literary masterpiece, but others might not agree. Some people prefer mysteries, while others like historical pieces. And sometimes, it is simply a matter of being in the right place at the right time. The Harry Potter books were not instant hits, but look at them now.
Q? How much marketing do you do for each book?
- We do some basic marketing for your book, through our network of online connections. We do not launch a multi-million dollar television commercial campaign, with a celebrity spokesperson. Remember, we have nearly 3,000 books on the market at this time, dozens of clients, and more coming in every day. The primary proponent of any book is the author. No one knows their book as well as the person who wrote it, or has the passion to make it successful.
Q? What guarantee do I have that if, several years down the line, your company goes out of business, my books will remain available?
- Once your books are processed by us, and become available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, they become part of the "print-on-demand" system and will remain available forever, as Amazon and B&N handle the distribution. Control of the book can easily be transferred to you.
Q? Why do you charge so little to publish, when other companies charge thousands?
- The number one reason is that we are not out to cheat you. There are companies that charge as much as $15,000 just to print 20 copies of your book for you, but they don't do anything else. There are also companies that say they only charge $99, but then charge extra for converting for Kindle, then extra for converting for Nook, then charge extra if you want a cover on your book (How many people would want a coverless book?), then charge extra for distribution. There are also companies that claim they charge nothing, but then you have to purchase your own ISBN and do all the work yourself. We truly believe that we are offering a good product at a reasonable price and that's the way it should be.
Q? If I provide you with a story idea, will you write it for me?
- Um, no. We can assist you, with writing tips, but if we wrote it, it would be our book, not yours. (Believe it or not, several people have actually asked us this question!)
Q? Why do some of the covers on your site not look as professional as others?
- Well, to be honest, some authors have a specific idea for a cover in mind and quite often are insistent upon us using a picture that they provide. Sometimes we suggest a different cover, but in the end, it is your book, not ours, and in the end, you have the final say. So, if you decide to do it in crayon... We design a cover for your book, unless you have something specific in mind. If your book is about your trip to Hawaii and you took a photograph of Hawaii, then by all means send it and we will attempt to use it. However, if your picture is out of focus, low resolution, or contains copyrighted material, we might not be able to use it. Many people actually do judge a book by its cover and they will certainly judge the quality of that cover, which reflects both on you, as an author, and us, as a publisher. Do NOT place words on the cover picture. We have margins that we have to follow, in order for your book to be included on Amazon and other sites, in order to make it visible. We will NOT use pictures that contain nudity, or pornography, or books that have titles that are obscene. Nor will Amazon carry them. And this does happen more often than you might think. Sorry.
Q? What percentage of royalties will I receive?
- That actually depends on the outlet that they are sold in. For example, Amazon offers 70%, while B&N offers 65%. Some foreign outlets only offer 35%. We do not control the percentage that the online stores take, and after all, they have to make a profit too, otherwise there would be no incentive for selling your work. Many of the big publishing houses only offer 5%. Then if you have an agent, they take 20% of that 5%, leaving you with 1%. That doesn't even cover the fact that the government is going to tax that 1% as income. On a $10 book, you would be lucky to end up with $0.10. Yes, that is ten cents! Big difference! The average royalty for a normally priced book is around $2.
Q? What is the most valuable book?
- The world's most valuable book sold recently for $14.16 million at Sotheby's in New York, according to the auction house. The rare Bay Psalm Book is the first book ever written and printed in what is now the United States. Its sale set a record for a book sold at auction, Sotheby's said.
Q? Why does it appear you are talking to yourself on Facebook?
- Well, in the event it appears that a one-sided conversation is taking place, it is most likely that the other person has their privacy settings adjusted so that only their "friends" can see what they post. That is actually quite common. Or I might simply be conversing with my imaginary friends. Who can tell...?
Q? Do you offer writing assistance?
- Yes, through our online blog, and newsletters. You may also purchase "Secrets to Writing Well" volumes one and two (more to come). We will also answer specific writing questions through email, if you need help.
Q? Can I have all the electronic copies of my book?
- We take care of formatting your files for use on the Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iPad, and other eReaders. That includes almost two dozen different file types. We cannot send you a copy of every one of those files. You wouldn't be able to use them anyway. The only kind of file we can send you is a PDF, which will work on your PC.
Q? What are your normal business operating hours?
- They vary, as we are out of the office often, meeting with clients, attending events, or consulting. The best way to reach us, is by email, as that can be checked offsite. Please keep in mind, that we are in the Eastern Time Zone, so, if you are calling from the West Coast, or from out of the country, there could be a significant time difference. We probably won't answer the phone at 2:00 a.m., or at 6:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning, or on a Holiday.
Q? What are the top selling books of all time?
- Here is a list:
- A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens - 1859 - 200 million copies
- The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien - 1954 - 150 million copies
- The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupery - 1943 - 140 million copies
- The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien - 1937 - 100 million copies
- Dream of the Red Chamber - Cao Xueqin - 1754 - 100 million copies
- And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie - 1939 - 100 million copies
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C. S. Lewis - 1950 - 85 million copies
- She - H. Rider Haggard - 1950 - 83 million copies
- The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown - 2003 - 80 million copies
- Think and Grow Rich - Napoleon Hill - 1937 - 70 million copies
- The Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger - 1951 - 65 million copies
- The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho - 1988 - 65 million copies
- Steps to Christ - Ellen G. White - 1892 - 60 million copies
- Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov - 1955 - 50 million copies
- Heidi - Johanna Spyri - 1880 - 50 million copies
- Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care - Benjamin Spock - 1946 - 50 million copies
- Anne of Green Gables - Lucy Maud Montgomery - 1908 - 50 million copies
- Black Beauty - Anna Sewell - 1877 - 50 million copies
- The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco - 1980 - 50 million copies
- The Eagle Has Landed - Jack Higgins - 1975 - 50 million copies
- Watership Down - Richard Adams - 1972 - 50 million copies
Q? Do you take requests?
- I tried singing a little Sinatra, but no one seemed to like it. No, seriously though, when it comes to classic books, we would appreciate your input. We are in the process of republishing several thousand classic novels, and get a number of people who have said that their favorites are not on our list. We will get to them eventually, but it takes time. So, if you have a favorite classic book that you would like us to move up to the top of our list, please suggest it to us. We will happily oblige, and print it up a.s.a.p. But, we won't know unless you tell us...
Q? Why are there some typographical errors in a number of your classic books?
- Those mistakes have been in there since the original printing, or the words were just spelled differently in England, or back in that time. We are not in the practice of correcting Mark Twain, or Charles Dickens. If it has been good enough for over 100 years, then it's good enough for us. Besides, some of those spellings were accepted for the country of origin, and the time period.
Q? Why are some of your classic books not illustrated?
- They are not illustrated now, because they weren't illustrated then. We do not add anything to the originals, but try to publish them as they were, to retain the "classic" status.
- Yes, you may remember some of them having illustrations when you read them a long time ago, but it was quite common for publishers to add illustrations when reprinting books, to make them seem more modern at the time. Most of the books didn't have pictures, as it was just too expensive, and the technology wasn't there. We cannot reprint the illustrations from later editions, because, even though the text has become public domain, the newer pictures have not.
Q? If I order books from you, what are the shipping costs?
- The short answer is, whatever the Post Office charges. Email us with the number of books you need and we will compute the total shipping charge, using our handy-dandy postal calculator. Keep in mind that this will vary, depending on the page count of the book. An 800 page 8.5 x 11 book will obviously weigh more than a 24 page 6 x 9 book, so the cost will be slightly different.
Q? I do not own an eReader. How can I read eBooks?
- Don't feel left out when it comes to eBooks. Actually, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo, all offer software to allow reading of eBooks on a regular PC. They are small pieces of software and perfectly safe. You can download them directly from the sources.
Q? Can you reject a manuscript?
- Our new policy, is that we are not going to be publishing garbage. If you send us a poorly-written manuscript that is so full of errors that it is unreadable, and you don't want it changed, we are going to refuse to print it. If it contains offensive material, we are going to refuse to print it. And if we do make changes during the proofreading process, we made them for a reason. If we tell you that your book needs work, we are doing you a favor. Would you really want a substandard book being distributed all over the world, with your name on the cover?
- I spent twenty-nine years as a Teacher, many of those as an instructor of writing workshops. I know where commas belong; that periods belong at the end of sentences, and what needs to be capitalized. If you dropped out of school when you were 11, chances are, someone with a PhD. that has written 33 books, knows more about it than you do.
- I hope this doesn't come across as arrogance, but when you want to argue about something, at least know what you are talking about. Proper English is proper English. It does not change because you are from Chicago, Rochester, Detroit, Gettysburg, or anywhere else. There is no "City English" versus "Country English." If you are writing dialogue, that is different, but in a non-fiction book, there is no place for "dems that is gonna be dere." This is from an actual manuscript that we received. Um, no... The book needs to be in proper English.
- I realize that not everyone is going to write great literature, but again, if you need help with writing, ask. That is what we are here for. If you insist upon keeping the manuscript in that form, we are going to refuse to print it.
- It is worth noting, that in all our years of business, we have not had to reject a single book. And if we did, you would not be charged.
Q? Can you post the margin and page sizes that you use, as I would like to know where things will fall on the pages?
- Certainly. This applies only to Microsoft Word. It does not matter whether it is Word 95, 98, XP, 2000, 2003, 2007, 2010, or 2013. They all work the same. Word is the only format we will accept. We do NOT work with Publisher, PDF, Works, or any other program, as they cause serious compatibility issues.
- The top margin is 0.75"
- The bottom margin is 0.75"
- The inside margin is 0.75"
- The outside margin is 0.5"
- The gutter is 0.13"
- The orientation is portrait.
- Multiple pages are set at Mirror Margins. (Very important!)
- The width is set at 6"
- The height is set at 9"
- Section start is set at Odd Page.
- For headers and footers Different Odd and Even is checked, as well as Different First Page.
- Vertical alignment is Top.
- And this applies to the Whole Document.
- Spacing is Single.
- Indentation is First Line .3"
- Do NOT insert Section Breaks or Page Breaks into the document. Do NOT include an index, or Table of Contents. Do NOT promote text using the OUTLINE control panel.
- Run a check for spelling and grammar and fix any errors before you submit your work.
- We do all of these things for you, after you submit your work, but some people have been concerned that objects on their pages have moved, and/or they want the items to remain where they were. If you want to make certain that everything remains where you placed it, then simply follow the guidelines above, or in our "Secrets to Successful Publishing" mini-book.
Q? What is the difference between a proofreader and an editor?
- A proofreader is assigned to check an already-finished product, attempting to locate and correct typographical errors of spelling and punctuation. They are not tasked with revising a document. In truth, it amounts to little more than what Word's "spell check" function does, though that program won't determine if to, too, or two is the correct choice, just that it is spelled correctly.
- The proofreader looks for lack of consistency in fonts and spacing, acting as the final quality check, before the work goes to the printer. This takes place after the copy-editing stage, so the proofreader does not re-write, or change the way the document is written. Nor is the proofreader responsible for consistency and accuracy in the content of the text.
- The basic proofreader checks only for spelling typos and repetition of small words. The editorial proofreader checks for errors in usage (there, their, they're), hyphenation, grammar, and subject-verb agreement, to make certain they remain in the correct tense.
- A proofreader may be expected to complete ten pages per hour, at a rate of $4 per page, making an 800 page novel cost $3,200 and take around 80 hours, or ten days. This however, is not copy-editing, which is much more intensive, much more costly, and should be complete before the proofreader even receives the book.
- An editor is the person who acquires a book for a publishing company. They wade through the piles of submitted manuscripts and decide which ones are worthy of publishing. After that, they become the project manager, starting the book on its way through the publishing process. They might suggest an alternate title for the work, or even suggest something to spice up the plot, but then they pass the work on to the real workhorse, the copy-editor.
- Most copy-editors suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). They are individuals who eat, sleep, and breathe literature and the English language in all its vague, eccentric wonder. To them, a manual of style is equivalent to the Bible, creating a set of rigid rules to live their daily lives by.
- The copy-editor is responsible for catching all mistakes. Period. The process is much more in-depth, requiring someone with incredible skill, experience, determination, and patience. The copy-editor might be responsible for checking facts, although many companies have fact checkers. They fix spelling, punctuation, grammar, fix legal issues, make revisions to improve the flow and structure of the story, makes syntax smooth, checks for consistency in made-up words, removes sentences, rewrites paragraphs, cuts down on wordiness, and take care of the endless details that most people aren't even aware of.
- A copy-editor might make a determination about the suitability of the text for the intended audience (Is it too racy for children?), or the length of the work (Is it too long, or too short?). They will determine the page count, the placement of illustrations, add headings, chapter breaks, or a table of contents. In short, a copy-editor is responsible for the five Cs, making certain the manuscript is clear, concise, consistent, correct, and comprehensible.
- As with proofreading, there are different levels of copy-editing. Baseline copy-editing is similar to proofreading, though it requires a more thorough check of grammar rules. Standard copy-editing includes checking for style and consistency, and adjusting a table of contents. Substantive copy-editing requires rewriting text, to improve the flow, and enforce a uniform level, tone, and focus. They adjust passive voice to active, rearrange sentences to improve readability, and add missing articles (the, an, and a).
- An editor can charge $300 per page, which for an 800 page novel would add up to $240,000. Yes, nearly a quarter of a million dollars! Of course, that is for an experienced copy-editor, and most novels are not 800 pages. Still, for a 200 page book, at the rate of $80 per page, you are still looking at $16,000. That might not seem like a deal, but it really is.
- Now, a copy-editor still does not rewrite or restructure the text in depth, ghost write, handle cover design, create an index (believe it or not, there is actually a Society of Indexers, no really...), do research, or handle copyright permissions. These are all extra. Indexing generally costs $8 per page, layout costs $15 per page, and ghost writers charge an average of 50 cents per word. For a 200,000 word manuscript (around 800 pages), that would cost an additional $100,000. Yikes!
- We are not even going to cover content-editing, which is a whole other ballgame. These people are brought in to add things that are left out, rewrite entire sections of content, and even create some content. You couldn't afford one of these. They work for the big book companies and make six-figure salaries.
- Fact checkers charge $40 per hour, copyright permissions people make $50 per hour, people who type in work get $5 per page, researchers ask for $75 per hour, and high-level editors can charge more than $100 per hour! Though it sounds like a lot, it is still small compared to fees charged by attorneys, accountants, or even plumbers.
- So, all said and done, what would it cost to publish your own book, if you did it yourself? Let's look at a 100,000 word manuscript (around 400 pages). Proofreading would cost $1,600, content-editing would cost $32,000, layout would cost $6,000, and that is assuming everything is in good order to begin with.
- The truth is, though many authors today are unwilling to accept this: You are responsible for the overall quality of your own work. There is an old saying in the computer world "Garbage In, Garbage Out (GIGO)." If you haven't taken the time to write properly, check your work, or even run a simple spell check on Word, before submitting it to a publisher, then it will show.
- Proofreaders and editors are people too. They make, or miss mistakes. The more mistakes that are in your work, the more likely it is for them to miss something, the longer it will take, and the more it will cost, based upon their hourly rate, of up to $60 per hour. But, let me add; these people know their stuff. If they tell you something needs to be capitalized, or hyphenated, it does. Period. If they tell you that a comma needs to follow a word, it does. Period.
- There are difficult authors, who, because they have written one book, think of themselves as professional authors, and want their magical words treated like a golden text handed down from God himself. These people need to get over themselves and let the proofreaders, editors, and publishers do their jobs. They want to turn out the best work they can as well, as their reputations are on the line also.
- And, they also provide a fresh set of eyes on a piece of work that the author might have become too close to. They will add a professional finish to the work, making it a cut above the rest.
- At Starry Night Publishing, we do not offer proofreading or content-editing. If we see something glaring, then we will tell you. We will not write your book, or rewrite your book for you.
- If we make a correction, then it is necessary. Do not contact us, complaining that "You put commas in my work." I was an English Teacher for twenty-nine years, and taught many writing workshops. It might be your story, but our company name is on the book as well.
- If you submit a document that has not been properly self-edited, and is poorly written, it will take us longer. We do a cursory check of the work, as we have many other clients, and attempt to get the work ready for publication within a two week time frame. Do not attempt to include fancy formatting, or special fonts, or insert breaks, or type a series of spaces to indent, or use unusual text sizes, as these will need to be removed to make the book compatible with industry standards, and will add to the time it takes to prepare it.
- We do not charge extra for cover design, copyright, distribution, formatting, layout, file conversion, or any of the other things that would add up a bill of thousands for you. We charge $499 to turn your Word document into a paperback, $499 to create an eBook (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iPad, PC, etc.), or $899 to do both, which saves you $100. That covers everything, with no additional hidden fees ever. And you can't beat a deal like that.
Q? Why do you charge to publish books, when we have always been told that legitimate publishers never charge fees?
- Another good question. First of all, the publishing market has changed with the advent of new technologies, such as eReaders and the Internet. What was once considered vanity publishing, is now called Self-Publishing, or Independent Publishing. Instead of paying $15,000.00 for 20 hardcover books, you can now successfully place your work on Amazon.Com, Barnes & Noble.Com, and many other reputable online retailers.
- Just a few years ago, that would have been impossible. You would have been selling them out of a box in your den. The world has changed, allowing independent authors and publishers to present their work to the world in a timely and inexpensive fashion.
- We recently had a client who commented on how quickly we were able to create her book and get it selling. That is because we are independent and do not answer to corporate shareholders. We don't have a huge overhead, or board of directors making decisions about how your work should be presented. After all, it is your work.
- The big book companies take up to two years to make your work available. We can do it in two days. The big book companies only publish six new titles per year. We have put out 3,000 books in six years. That is because we are small and efficient.
- In addition, we have people who are experts in computers, graphic design, etc. They need to get paid on occasion, so the small fee we charge keeps them from being homeless. We do charge less and do more than any other publishing company, and we are always here to help you. We can afford to keep your costs down by using our homes as our offices, so we don't have to rent a large building.
- And yes, as someone pointed out, there are other companies that charge less, but there is usually a catch involved. For example, some companies charge you $99 per year, just to keep your book in print. That is extortion, saying that if you don't keep paying us, we will rip your book from the market. And let me tell you, that it doesn't cost a thing to keep it on Amazon, once it is there. They are lying.
- Other companies claim to be free, as long as you can do everything yourself. The problem is, most people don't know how, and don't have the time. So, you end up paying for professional design services. Create Space charges $399 for cover design, $249 for book design, $69 for file conversion, $25 for inclusion on Ingram's and Baker & Taylor's lists, to make it for sale, $99 for an ISBN, etc.... You are now climbing up into the $1,000 range for a "free" service!
- We do not charge to publish your book. We charge $499 to provide you with an ISBN, include it on the expanded distribution lists, design a cover, convert the files to the appropriate format, print it, bind it, place it for sale on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc., and so much more. That covers either paperback or eBook (Kindle, Nook, iPad, Kobo, PC, etc.). For $899 (you save $100) you get both, with no extra hidden fees, ever! We even sell you author copies for half the cover price! And that is what we charge for. Give us a chance, and we believe you will think it's worth it.
Q? Why should I choose to publish with you?
- With Starry Night Publishing, you control the publication date. With the big publishers, it can take up to three years to make it into print, if at all. We'll have you up for sale in under a month. You control the content. The big publishers are very picky about what THEY want to publish. Right now they seem to be obsessed with books about sparkly vampires. You control the price. You retain 100% of your rights, so if someone decided to make your story into a movie or if you decide to publish elsewhere in the future, it's your choice. Why allow someone else to control your work? With us, you are in control.
- What the big publishers are terrified of is the demise of the print format. Kodak went under because they couldn't adapt to the changing market. They ignored digital photography and stuck with film even as the ship was sinking. Now they are bankrupt, a mere shell of the corporation they once were.
- The big publishers are scared of losing their power. For years they made all of the decision over who could see their work in print and have a place on the bookstore shelves. The average person would submit a manuscript and not even stand a chance of having it read.
- Many publishers forced you to get an agent, which was just as frustrating as trying to get published. The agents were receiving so many submissions that they could afford to be picky as well. They only want to represent big name authors who have their own library of written works. However, those big name authors already have publishers and agents. For the rest of us, it becomes a "Catch-22" as they won't publish us until we become a big name and we can't become a big name until we become published.
- We are also at the mercy of a particular person's tastes. If someone wants to feed the hunger for sparkly vampires, then they will read the manuscript that satisfies that need. Whether or not the book is a literary masterpiece has little bearing on their decisions.
- While I am not suggesting that print is dead, I will say that e-books are the way of the future. If the big publishing companies cannot see this, or will not admit it, then they will, and deserve to, go the way of the dinosaurs. Life is all about change and adaptation, it has been since the beginning of time and thank God for that, or we would all be living in caves and hunting with spears instead of reading this article on our PCs.
- And you know who deserves to succeed? You do. The person with the story to tell. You deserve to be successful.
- Let's face facts, modern technology has given you opportunities to get published that you might not have had before. Many e-book publishers have opened up the gates, allowing you inside the world of publishing. Some of them are legitimately there to help you. The only drawback is that you have to do all the prep work yourself, and if you don't know much about the advanced features of Microsoft Word, you're going to be lost.
- Other companies are out there to take your money. Author House has been around as a "Vanity Publisher" for a while. They charge you as much as $15,000 for a publishing package and Friesen Press charges $2,500, none of which guarantee you any sales. While I am not suggesting that they don't have a right to make a profit, you would have to sell about 5,000 books to justify the cost, and while I don't mean to be a pessimist, but that is highly unlikely.
- Book Baby charges $599 for a publishing package, but then you end up paying a $19 annual fee, $59 for file conversion, $19 for an ISBN, $279 for a cover... Well, you get the idea. Primedia charges you $1 per page. That can add up quickly if your book is a long one.
- That is the primary reason that we decided to get into the business on my own. I have had multiple books published, but have always been at the mercy of the publisher to decide on the cover, decide on the price, provide only 5% royalties, which get shaved off even further if you have an agent, who would take 20% of your 5%. That leaves only 1% for you, which the government taxes as income!
- Do you really want to settle for a mere 1%? Do you really want the book done their way? Do you really want to spend $15,000 just to get 5 copies of your book? Do you really want to spend a lot of money on an e-book conversion program and then have to learn how it works? Do you really want to spend all your time formatting, proofreading, converting, designing a cover, learning how to use Photoshop, and then promoting your own book because no one else will?
- At Starry Night Publishing, we are offering to take your manuscript file, create a professional-looking cover, create an interactive table of contents for the e-readers, compile your text and images into the appropriate format, convert your files into epub, mobi, etc. for the Kindle, Nook, Kobo, etc., take care of the copyright information, assign an ISBN, allow you to keep 100% of your rights, distribute your story worldwide on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble .com, the Starry Night Book Store, the Apple Store, etc., and write you a check for your royalties for only $499. For $899 we will also publish your book in paperback format with the same deal as above. There are no other hidden fees involved!
- You don't pay extra for a cover. You don't pay extra for the Kindle format. Everything is included!
- We are not charging you to be published. We act as the freelance middleman, charging for the formatting, file conversion, cover design, distribution, etc. After all, we need to stay in business too. We do not take a penny of your royalties. They are yours! You receive whatever Amazon, or Barnes and Noble is paying at that time, which can be as much as 70%. After all, they need to have some incentive to feature your work...
- Our team knows what needs to be done to get your work ready to print and we do it all for you in the highest possible quality, at a fair price without holding you hostage.
- We really are here for you. It really is a simple as sending us your file and collecting your royalties. Please join us in our publishing journey. We would really appreciate an opportunity to serve you. Give us a chance to show you what we can do and show the big publishing companies that you can get published without kissing their, you-know-what, and spending a fortune. You won't be disappointed or feel taken advantage of.
- Now, here are a list of Dos and Don'ts. Some of these should be common sense, but believe it or not, they happen all too often. Be professional. This is a business. If you want your book to be received warmly, then you need to behave like an adult. We don't mean to be rude, but we are busy working on books and do not have time to chit-chat about unrelated issues, or to address questions that are already on this list.
- We do not write press releases, design bookmarks, act as tax consultants, or serve as telephone therapists. We do not do editing, conduct personal meetings, or do books reviews. You may contact us, if you have a business-related issue with us, during regular business hours. When you pay either the $499, or $899, you are paying for a service, which includes the above. You are not paying to publish, but covering the cost of the ISBN, distribution lists, etc. Don't bother asking for a half-price discount because you think you did a "good enough" job proofreading it yourself.
- Normally, when you contact a publisher, you have a finished book, ready to be published. Don't leave a box of handwritten notes on my milk box. If it rains, they will get wet... We do not write books for you. If you haven't even started it yet, you are not ready for a publisher. We publish what you submit, so if it isn't the way you want it, you need to fix it before giving it to us. What we receive, is what gets published.
- Please plan on paying for books around the time they are ordered, unless we have worked something out in advance. We are very flexible, but, we have to pay for books at the 50% rate, and that comes out of my pocket personally. We do not make anything on the books. We sell them to our authors, at the same price the printer gives them to us. We're not supposed to, but we try to offer you as many benefits as we can.
- We do NOT give relationship advice, or make constant changes to the content of already published books. Please make certain the book is the way you want it when you send it to be published. As I stated in a recent article, proofreading means checking spelling, punctuation, and basic grammar. It does NOT mean fact checking, rewriting portions of the book, or re-ordering chapters. We don't know your dog's name, or the name of the restaurant you met your boyfriend in, so if you get that wrong, we certainly aren't going to catch it.
- The number of telephone calls over the last several weeks is beginning to interfere with completing books. We just simply do not have time to speak to each of you for an hour, while you ask questions that are answered on the website. I'm sorry if this comes across as rude, or impersonal, but we are receiving around twenty books per week at this point, and the books need to be our priority.
- I have tried to be as available, helpful, and professional as I can for everyone, but perhaps that is part of the problem. I feel I am being taken advantage of by a few people and it needs to stop. You will never get this level of personal service from one of the larger companies, if you even get to speak to a real person at all. You will never find a company that charges less than we do, or puts in more effort for our clients. But, we are going to have to begin refusing to do business with rude, demanding, individuals. We do our best to behave professionally, and expect the same from the people we do business with.
I hope this helps. Thank you for your interest. We look forward to having you join the Starry Night Publishing family.