Once you’ve completed your manuscript, you need to decide what you want to do with your book. You have a few options:
1. Be chuffed that you’ve written a book and put it in a drawer forever. Even if you do this, there’s no reason you couldn’t publish it later. Some of the best books around were read by family and friends only before they made their way out into the world.
2. Decide to go down the traditional publishing route and send a pitch, with synopsis and usually the first three chapters, to literary agents. If you get picked up, the agent will then try to sell your work to a publisher. This should not cost you anything. If any publisher asks you to pay, then they are proposing a joint venture not offering a traditional publishing deal, and you need to look very carefully at the contract. If you decide you would like to try to find an agent, but would like some editing support or mentoring on the process, Sixth Element offers one to one sessions that may be useful. Read more on our author mentoring services.
3. Decide you want to self-publish and become an indie-author, in which case you can:
a. do it all yourself.
b. find someone to work with.
If you find yourself looking at option 3, that’s where someone like Sixth Element can come in. We’re different from a lot of independent publishers in that our authors retain ALL rights to their book once it is published (not just copyright – you own that anyway). We charge for our time and give you a detailed itemised proposal of costs before we start. These may include all or some of the following: mentoring and manuscript editing, final edit and formatting, typesetting, cover design, proofreading and print. Each book is different and each proposal is bespoke to that book. Once the book is published, you own all copies produced and all rights to the book.
We know it can be a bit daunting so here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. If you’d like to know more, please give us a call or drop us an email. We’re always happy to have a chat.
Q: How much does it cost to self-publish a book with Sixth Element?
A: We always provide a bespoke price for each book project after discussing your book with you and taking an initial look at your manuscript. If we feel your book needs more work in the writing and creative process before publishing, we’ll say so and give you constructive feedback. If we all agree that your book is as ready as it can be, we produce a proposal with itemised costs for each stage of the production process. As an example, a typical 90,000 word novel costs around £2,000 to publish and includes 200 paperback copies of the book.
Q: If I publish my book through Sixth Element, do I get to keep all the rights to my work?
A: Yes, absolutely. All copyright is yours because you wrote it, and more importantly, our authors retain all rights to their book.
Q: Can I spread payments?
A: Yes, we work in stages. Payment for each stage is required in full at the start of the stage. We agree timescales at the start of the project and review this with you as we go.
Q: I don’t want loads of boxes of books – do you offer print on demand?
A: We do. If you’d prefer to offer your books through print on demand, let us know and we can include this as an option in our proposal.
Q: I just want to publish my book in eBook format – is that possible?
A: Yes, we can produce a proposal for eBook publication only. Some writers like to publish their book in eBook format first and then follow with a paperback later once they have established a following.
Q: Do you just work with local authors (ie from the North East of England)?
A: We do work with a lot of local authors and we always enjoy sitting down over a coffee to chat about the books we’re working on. However, we do work with authors from across the UK through phone, email, drop boxes and Skype – it’s then great when we do get to meet up in person. We’d love to work with authors worldwide so wherever you are, do get in touch.
Q: Can I buy your books from WH Smiths, Waterstones or Amazon?
A: Yes, you can. They may not be on the shelf but all our books can be ordered from high street booksellers, or you can buy them online at Amazon.
Q: I haven’t finished my book yet, can I still work with you?
A: Yes, we offer author mentoring at £25 per hour for one to one sessions, either in person or on the phone. We can read through works in progress, offer feedback on manuscripts or help with writing a synopsis, and we also offer editorial services on a chapter by chapter basis. We also offer a free beta-reading service if you’d just like a neutral opinion on your work.
Q: How do I get an ISBN?
A: We usually publish on behalf of our authors and allocate one of our ISBNs to your book. This means that your book will be published under the Sixth Element imprint. If you would prefer to have your own ISBN, that is fine – you just need to let us know.
Q: Will you distribute my book?
A: We offer a range of distribution options. If you would like us to list the book for sale and arrange distribution, we charge a fee per book sold and will give you a separate agreement to cover this arrangement.
Q: What happens if someone orders my book from a bookstore?
A: If you publish under our imprint with one of our ISBNs, and someone walks into a bookstore in the UK, that order will go to the wholesaler that the store works with. We then receive the order from the wholesaler and will fulfill this on your behalf. Our agreement with UK wholesalers tends to be a 40% discount off the RRP (and we charge them the postage to get it to them). We post out the book to the wholesaler and they then post it on to the bookstore, who will then get it to the customer. We pay you the 60% revenue from the sale (that comes to us from the wholesaler) in six monthly statements.
Q: Can you distribute to bookstores outside the UK?
A: We are currently setting up a print on demand fulfillment service that will offer titles to bookstores world-wide. If you would like your book to be offered on this basis, please let us know and we will give you a separate agreement to cover this arrangement.
Q: Do you promote my book?
A: We promote all the books we publish as part of our own promotional activity. However, if you’d like a hand with extra promotion, we offer additional services such as author website design, design and print of promotional cards and posters, and exhibition material such as popup banners. We can give you costs for these upon request.
Q: What do I do next?
A: When a completed book is brought to us for self-publishing, we offer an initial assessment. This is where we ask for a few chapters of your book in a Word document to check that it’s ready to go. We don’t comment on whether a book is good or not – that is way too subjective – but we do suggest whether a book is ready to be published or not. If we feel it needs more work in the writing and creative process, we’ll say so. If we feel it is ready, we produce a proposal with itemised costs.
So if you feel that you’d like to go ahead and you’d like to self-publish with Sixth Element, take a look at our submission guidelines, give us a call on 01642 360253 or send us an email and we’ll be in touch.