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Partnership Publishing
The ‘normal’ model

Our normal method of working provides for an author-publisher relationship that splits the risk in the project as follows: the author has the full risk and cost of producing a full manuscript that has been professionally edited and is effectively publication ready, while the publisher has the full risk and cost associated with the final edit, cover design, interior design, ‘setting’ the book, getting it printed, and managing the promotion, marketing and sales. Just to bring the book to a point at which it could be printed means that we and you have invested our cash in a ratio of about 2:1 with us taking the greater financial risk. In addition, we have both invested valuable time.

The cost of printing, using print-on-demand technology, means that there is a fixed printing cost per book, irrespective of the number of books printed. In our normal model, we bear the cost of the printing, thus hugely increasing our financial risk – which we try to minimise by asking the author to commit time to assisting in the promotion and marketing activities under our ‘management’.

The result of this model is that we, as the publishers, have a large financial risk, while you, as the author, have a smaller financial risk, and we have both invested a huge amount of time. As a result, we offer the author (you) a ‘royalty’ that is a percentage of the gross profit (the revenue received minus the direct cost of printing) in proportion to the financial risk we both have (this varies on a book-by-book basis).

This model works well if the potential sales of the book are in excess of the breakeven 1,250 copies via our website or 5,000 via the retail trade. But, realistically, these sorts of sales are unlikely to be achieved for a new author or for a subject of a specialised nature; so a different model becomes necessary.

A ‘different’ model

Our preferred model is Partnership Publishing. As far as we are concerned, this is a cooperative model in which all the professionals involved in the project are stakeholders and get a return on their investment based on a proportional model. This reduces the risk to us (as most of the cost of the professionals is incurred by us), spreads the risk across a greater number of players and allows us to give the author a larger share.

This model can also occur if we do far more of the work directly in-house, or the author pays for more of the work to be done, but what it does not do is reduce the breakeven sales by that much if we’re all to make a realistic return on our time.

If, on the other hand, the publishing projects we engage in focus more on electronic publishing (eDocs and eBooks), then the economic dynamics change dramatically, as the cost of design and setting is virtually eliminated, and there are no print set-up costs. This reduces the breakeven sales to around 200 or less; that is doable providing you, as the author, do your bit in the promotion and marketing.

Electronic publishing falls mainly into two categories, as far as we are concerned: eDocs, which are normally pdf files that are downloaded and read on a computer, and eBooks, which are designed to be read on an eBook reader such as the Kindle, the Nook or the Sony. At the moment we are still working on the development of eBooks and this is because there is no standardised format.

The issue here is that eDocs work well for non-fiction and for publications that are around 15,000 words in length. However, there is no major reason why the eDoc format shouldn’t work for longer works, including full-length books. Psychologically, the reader may not want to read a 400-page book on a computer, but that might not be a problem for a book of around 250 pages (say 60,000 words), and when such an eDoc is a non-fiction ‘book’ there is little reader resistance.

Would the model work for fiction? A very good question as, to date, little has been done in this field, mainly due to resistance from authors wanting their fiction published this way. The usual arguments being that (a) no one wants to read a 250-page novel on a computer – but that may not now be a valid argument; and (b) people will distribute the file via email and the author will lose out – but this can be overcome by the use of pricing psychology. If we set the price high enough, then people will not forward the eDoc or eBook in most cases. This is something we are investigating.

All this means that we could all make better returns on our investment if we published electronically and took the risk of readers distributing the document. This would then really be a new publishing model!

Dating the Bois d'Hougoumont - eBook
By Alasdair White
The Bois d’Hougoumont seldom gets a mention in the history books. Many authors have assumed that the wood was cut down well before the battle, but Alasdair White’s recent research into the age of some of the trees in the wood show that they pre-date the Battle of Waterloo

Price: 2.49

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Of Hedges, Myths and Memories - eBook
By Alasdair White
This is probably the most detailed historical appraisal of Hougoumont currently available. Making use of unpublished documentary records and detailed analysis of contemporary maps, White pieces together what the farm would have looked like and provides answers to the great historical question of how just 1,200 allied soldiers held off more than 6,000 French troops at the Battle of Waterloo.

Price: 6.49

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From proposal to thesis - Revised edition
By Denis Feather

About to write your dissertation? Did you start the work and then get stuck? Don't worry, help is at hand - and there’s a revised edition!

Price: 13.95

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