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What can we tell you?

At the BookWhisperer we value absolute transparency, democracy, honesty and collaboration.  We take immense joy in our job, and we work hard to keep it that way.  We only work on projects we believe in, and our relationships with our authors are sacrosanct. We often have a long waiting list, so do please keep this in mind!  And now, without further ado….

Pricing and Costs

It depends.  No project is the same, so we do not have set pricing.  Variables would include how long your backlist is, how many books we will be releasing, your level of experience and how much we will need to do for you vs. how much you can do for yourself.

We are not inexpensive, but we do price fairly – and we ARE very good at our jobs.  We will be honest with you if we do not think we can at least help you break even, or if you are playing with a genre that is hard to sell or hard to compete in.

Some clients come to us with one single passion project; others have us managing their entire catalogs and acting as defacto publishers on their behalf for a monthly fee.  Some clients have very well developed platforms, others need help setting up their entire platforms including websites.

We meet you where you are at, and we price accordingly.

One-to-one coaching is €125 / hr.

Again, it depends.  Do you have an edited manuscript and a perfect cover? Do you have a long series, or are you a debut author?  Do you have a mailing list and a robust group of super fans?  All of these impact what you will be spending on production and advertising costs.

Advertising and promotional expenditures are relatively elastic, and we can work within most budgets.

For a debut or new series,  we would recommend that you have $1,000 – $5,000 in reserve.  It is unlikely that your spend this much, but should you book start taking off it would be terrible to not have the cash to cover your advertising.  It takes three months before your first royalty check, so until this time you will be needing to cover costs.  We usually set budgets on Facebook at $5 – $10 dollars per day, and then we scale back or spend more depending on results.

AmazonADS are a whole different animal, as it can be difficult for a new author to get Amazon to spend their money.  Amazon tends to be very good at only spending your ad budget if your book is selling, and it is very easy to scale. An average well done ad spend on Amazon is some $200-$300 / month for a new release.

BookBub advertising – if you are in a popular genre – can be a wonderful investment, even if your book is at full price.  We will often do a new release budget there of $100 – 200.

If any of these ads starts taking off and results in sales, it’s a good idea for you to have some reserve to increase your budgets and expenditures.

Promotional costs on advertising your count-down deals or price promotions are likewise variable.  It doesn’t do an author any good to do a price promotion without advertising, and there are scores of sites willing to take your money (though only a handful really work.)

Other expenditures that are not necessary but can be useful include paid editorial reviews (we recommend Publisher’s Weekly Booklife and Kirkus),  and perhaps newsletter swaps with sites like BookSweeps, Prolific Works, of BookFunnel.  We tend to be very cautious with ad expenditures, as they often don’t really pay off until you have written book two or book three.

Other Costs:

These are not fees we charge, nor do we take any referral fees to any services we recommend.  

Covers: Depending on your genre, a good custom book cover will cost between $250-$550 (and up should you need custom photos or illustrations.)

Editing: Though we provide a final proofing, it is a good idea to have your book professionally edited.  Usual costs are between 0.02 cents per word – 0.060 cents per word.  For current competitive rates, go here: https://www.the-efa.org/rates/

ISBNs: Though you can get “free” ISBNs through Amazon and Ingram, we recommend that you own your ISBNs.  At Bowker.com, ISBNs cost $125 for one, $259 for 10 and $575 for 100.  We may be able to provide authors with ISBNs if they fit within our own imprint of Literary Historical titles.

Copyright Registration: When you create a work, you already ‘own’ your copyright.  However, without registering your copyright it is nearly impossible to protect your rights.  You can (and should) register your copyright with the US copyright office.  Digital registration of your copyright (for a single work) costs around $70 USD.

We do not take a percentage of your royalties.

Amazon KDP’s royalty structure is relatively transparent. Amazon pay 70% of your ebook royalties minus a small carriage fee.  If you are enrolled in Amazon Select (KU) and are exclusive to Amazon for your ebook, you will earn an addition @0.045 per page read. For paperbacks, Amazon takes 40% of your retail price and you receive 60% out of which you pay printing charges.

This is similar to all other online retailers.

Should you elect to work through an online aggregator such as Draft2Digital, you will received @60%, with your aggregator taking 10% in exchange for using their platform.

Printing and Royalties at Ingram Spark depend on many factors, including your retail discount rates.

No.  And no ethical marketing company can.  What we can tell you is that many of our clients are full time authors, and many of them do make a good living.

What we can do is minimize your risks and listen to your goals.  We make sure that you are not wasting money on promotions that do not work. We will make sure that your cover is competitive, that your book is published properly, that your advertising is tracked and not spending more than you are earning.  We will advise you, to the best of our ability, of the risks and benefits of all your marketing and publishing options (backed up by data and experience), and work hard to give your book the best possible chance at success.

 

Working with us

We are unable to take all the wonderful clients and books that come our way, as there are only a few of us – and thousands of you!  Therefore we try and choose the clients & books we feel we can help the most.

We have a very strong hand in historical fiction, esp WW2 and Ancient historical. We love working in Historical Mystery, Regency, and Mystery.  We will look at Fantasy and Science Fiction, Dark Romance, and Literary Fiction (if it is a passion project.) We’ve done well with several non-fiction titles as well, including fitness, dog training, spirituality and personal growth.

In addition, we’ve had terrific success with more established authors in cleaning up their catalogues, relaunching their backlists and taking over their platform, advertising campaigns and general publishing work.

We do not work in Children’s fiction, picture books, low content titles and though we’ve worked with a ton of Romantic Suspense authors, we don’t feel we’re very good at them!

If you are just wanting to speak with us about the market or specific questions you have about marketing, advertising, data and strategy, please feel free to set an appointment with us on our Coaching and Consulting page!

Please go to our submissions page and fill in the information to the best of your ability.  We promise to read part of your book and to view your current strategy.

If we feel we can help you, we will set an appointment with you through Calendly to find out exactly what you’d like to have happen.  We can discuss costs, budgets, and concerns one-to-one, and we can get a feel if we’d be a good match for you.

Based on this conversation (and our availability), we will come up with a fair offer for our services.  Our standard contract is three months, with an approximate month of follow up care if needed.  At the end of this time, we hope you will have learned enough to do all of this yourself, but you are free to keep us as long as you like.

Please take note – we rarely provide services Ala carte, as we only have room for 25-30 authors per quarter.  If you would like to speak to us about a single service (such as running your AmazonAds), we can discuss it but it very much is dependent on our availability.

This is our general operating agreement.

Included in our services:

  1. Meta-data and category analysis as needed
  2. Proofing and Editorial coverage or the title.
  3. Assistance with setting up KDP and Ingram, as well as all social media accounts and platforms necessary.
  4. Formatting (inclusive of back-matter optimization)
  5. Cover design consultation
  6. Competitor Analysis
  7. Blurb optimization / HTML
  8. Back-matter optimization as necessary
  9. ARC campaign via NetGalley / Bookfunnel
  10. Early review campaign as required.
  11. AMS marketing / Keyword Development / Advertising
  12. Facebook/ SMM marketing / Advertising & Strategy
  13. Graphics design and development
  14. Bookbub Self-Serve advertising (inclusive of graphics)
  15. Newsletter development
  16. Newsletter Promotion (i.e., FussyLibrarian, EreaderNewsToday, etc.) in conjunction with Sales Days
  17. Email List Set-up

Software and services we license and use on behalf of our clients include:

Formatting / Editing

  1. Vellum
  2. Indesign
  3. Calibre
  4. Scrivener
  5. Pro-writing Aid

Promotion / Distribution

  1. Bookfunnel (publisher account)
  2. LibraryThing (publisher account)
  3. NetGalley (publisher account)
  4. BookSweeps Account
  5. MailerLite (@6500 Addresses with a 60% open rate)

Graphic Design / Development

  1. Adobe Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, etc.)
  2. Bookbrush
  3. Authorlab Pro
  4. Shutterstock
  5. MidJourney

Analysis and Keyword Development

  1. K-lytics
  2. Publisher Rocket
  3. KDSpy

The client will bear all advertising costs & fees (options will be discussed and offered in advance.)

Finally – we need to be clear that we can make no guarantees as to our efforts’ success. This is important – no ethical marketing team or company can ever promise an ROI. We can only promise to do our very best.

Our usual terms are ninety days, with approximately one month of follow-up care as needed.   If we are unable to complete our work within this time, we will continue to work at no additional fee to complete all tasks and get your book off to its best possible start.

Extra Services we can provide (may incur extra costs):

  1. (Simple) WordPress Site Development & Set-up
  2. Print support including One-Sheets, Press Kits, Bookmarks etc.
  3. Email List Funnels & Marketing
  4. On-going Training & Support Services
We are very keen on regular communications with our clients, and we use several pieces of software to make it easy to reach out to us.

When we onboard you, we set you up on ‘Basecamp’ – a project management platform where all your communications, schedules, and tools will be stored. (It’s easy – we promise!)

One of those tools is Calendly, an appointment scheduling software that will allow you to make appointments to chat with us when you like.

We use Dropbox to keep all you files neatly sorted in one place, GoogleSheets to keep passwords and private data safe and secure.

The better our communications, the better the experience will be – for ALL of us!

Other Burning Questions…

Technically a hybrid press shares costs and shares royalties.  We are a publishing services company (although other people who offer what we do call themselves a “hybrid publisher.”  We provide services to you, and you pay for those services.  And you keep 100% of your royalties.

If you want to use the phrase  “My Publisher Says…” over cocktails, we’d be ok with that!

We do everything a publisher does for their authors (and more.) We are selective about the books we publish, we operate with the highest ethics, and we are a member in good standing with the I.B.P.A (Independent Book Publisher’s Association) – but technically, we are self-publishing service providers.

The short answer is no.

The longer answer is that the term ‘vanity press’ is thrown around a lot.  Trade publishers will often refer to self-published authors as ‘vanity publishers.’  Authors who have managed to learn the technical aspects of publishing will use it to refer to those who work with hybrids or publishing services. It is often used as a slur, and it paints with an awfully broad brush.

This said, there are a lot of unethical people in the world, and more than a few will happily take your money and give you nothing in return. Editing, cover design and marketing DO cost money. However, with a typical vanity press, all of this work is outsourced to the lowest bidder and in the end, the author is left with a poor quality book and no way to market it.

Worse, many vanity presses represent themselves as hybrid or traditional publishers – and many of them are associated with large, reputable traditional publishing companies.

So, how do you know if a company is ethical or just a vanity scam?  First, look at their book catalog.  Are the covers professionally done?  Do their titles have reviews and some level of ranking in the Amazon store? Did they reach out to you on Facebook, offering their help if you’ll give your book to them?Are they using Amazon Brand trademarks, and claiming they are contacting you from KDP? Run!

The best resource available online to scout out the worst scammers and their scams is a site called “Writer’s Beware

Before you decide to work with any publisher, hybrid or traditional – or any publishing service (including ours) make sure that you’ve spoken to them in person or on zoom, check their catalog to make sure they actually sell books – and even ask for recommendations.

Yes, you can.  With the advent of AmazonKDP, Kobo and all the other online book publishing services, you most certainly can publish your own book by yourself.  There are a lot of excellent resources online and some really fantastic books that will help you to learn how to publish and market your books.

We bring years of expertise to the table, we provide a short-cut for debut authors and a massive amount of support to established authors, freeing them to do things they like doing instead of marketing, formatting, editing, and computer wrestling. But if you are technically literate, have more time than money, and really want to learn the ins-and-outs of publishing, there is nothing to stop you!

We have our own imprint and we have just begun our journey in traditional publishing. However, we are currently only publishing as a traditional publisher for a few, a very few traditionally published authors and only in the genre of literary historical fiction.

If you want to hide behind an imprint, and you are writing historical fiction, we can provide you with ISBNs.  When we have enough market power, we do plan on opening our doors to traditional publishing, but at this point we are still experimenting.

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