Q. What kind of publisher is Koehler Books?
A. We are an indie publishing company with over 350 authors throughout the world. Our team is made up of writers and authors like you. We publish works of fiction and non-fiction genres. We are a hybrid publisher, meaning that we publish in more than just one way. Our three models are traditional, co-publishing, and self-publishing.
Q. Can you explain the differences?
Traditional publishing is the old-school, original model of publishing offered to agented and experienced authors with a track record of robust sales and top-shelf work. Authors are offered a publishing contract to buy the rights to their work in return for royalties and a possible advance. No fees of any kind are paid by the author.
Co-publishing means “cooperative publishing” and is a joint-venture model that provides the same publishing experience and systems as our traditional model, with the author contributing to the creative development fees.
Self-publishing enables us to assist authors who wish to act as the publisher of their own work. Authors hire us to provide the editing, design, and technical firepower to install their book on the author’s IngramSpark account so that they can manage their publishing rights and control 100 percent of their royalties.
Q. How do you determine which model is best for an author?
A. We review the manuscript and the data provided on our submissions form or author query letter. This includes an author’s bio, any previous books, writing experience, marketing plans, the book genre, synopsis, and manuscript length. Most important are the quality of the writing and the author’s ability to collaborate with our team.
Q. Does this mean you accept every book submitted?
A. We are not a vanity press, and we do not accept every manuscript submitted. For traditional and co-publishing deals we expect a high level of quality. If that quality is not met, we either offer to help the author self-publish or reject the manuscript.
A few more words on our standards:
At Koehler Books, we believe fervently in freedom of expression, which hinges upon the right of individuals to air their viewpoints uncensored. The free flow of ideas, however uncomfortable they can make us at times, is fundamental to our mission as a book publisher and, more broadly, to free societies.
When evaluating works for publication under the Koehler Books imprint, we do not impose personal viewpoints or political agendas. We evaluate submissions with a blind eye toward a writer’s ethnicity, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, place of origin, or political party affiliation.
Instead, submissions are screened by our editorial board based upon literary quality, relevance, tone, taste and integrity. We publish in nearly every genre except those that are overtly exploitative. We encourage writers to refrain from using profanity gratuitously, and we reject any works deemed to advocate hate, violence and sexual exploitation, or those that are libelous or that have plagiarized.
We take our responsibility to authors, readers and our industry seriously, pledging to always act ethically and with transparency.
Q. What is your most popular model?
A. Co-publishing accounts for the preponderance of our book deals. Co-publishing is popular because it includes our Emerging Authors Program. We are known for our collaborative work with debut and emerging authors. We work with them throughout the entire life cycle of the book to teach and train them about the process of publishing and in the art of becoming a professional author.
Q. How much royalty per book can I expect to make with a co-publishing deal?
A. Co-publishing authors typically receive 60 percent of net sales for both print and e-book. Net print sales are the wholesale price of the book, less printing.
Example of a typical book and how royalties work (prices may vary depending on number of pages, list price, etc.):
240-page 6×9 softcover book with black and white interior, color exterior
$17.95 – suggested list price
$8.43 – wholesale price (53 percent wholesale rate)
$4.07 – print price (author price is $6.10)
$4.37 – net
$2.62 – author’s royalty per 60 percent rate
$7.99 – suggested list price
$3.20 – net
$1.92 – author’s royalty per 60 percent rate
Q. How do you handle paying author royalties?
A. Paying author royalties is sacred to us and a sign of publishing success. We begin sending reports and paying royalties six months after the publication date and at the end of each subsequent quarter. The reports cover softcover, hardcover and e-book sales.
Q. Why shouldn’t I simply self-publish my book and get all the money?
A. We don’t typically recommend self-publishing for new authors because it adds complications and stress to authors unfamiliar with the rigors of book publishing. Books that are not professionally edited, designed and published often fail commercially and embarrass authors.
Q. Why do we have to use IngramSpark if we self-publish?
A. Ingram is the biggest and the best independent book distributor in the world. Ingram provides the highest print and distribution quality that publishers need for all of our authors, regardless of the publishing model. With Ingram, not only do you get Amazon, but thousands of other online and brick-and-mortar booksellers.
Q. Will Koehler Books provide any help with marketing?
A. With traditional and co-publishing models, we will publicize the work on our website and through numerous methods mentioned on the Marketing page of our website. These include Ingram’s Title Management System (TMS) and catalogs, a book webpage and inclusion on the author’s page, an informational tip sheet, assistance with advanced review copies (ARCs), as well as endorsements and reviews, e-book campaigns, vote-the-cover campaigns, foreign rights representation by an agent, and development of an author’s marketing program that includes websites and social media, events, Facebook forums, and more. Typically, we have multiple calls with the author throughout the life of the book to assist and coach them with marketing.
Q. What if I want to hire a marketing expert or publicist?
A. Jolly good. If you do, then we want to meet them via a three-way call to ensure that we are all on the same page, and to make sure they are aware of the things we can do to assist them, and vice versa. It is a team effort. We also have a list of independent publicity, marketing, and design experts. They have been vetted and used by our authors and you may consider using them.
Q. Will I get to see my book after it is edited?
A. You will get to see it while it is being edited. During our developmental, copyediting, and proofreading process, we will mark up your manuscript using MS Word’s Track Changes tool. You will review and respond to our work. After your manuscript is approved by our executive editor, it goes into layout, and you will again have a chance to review and proof your book for corrections. Corrections will continue to be made after we provide you with a digital proof. With traditional and co-pub authors, Koehler Books decides the level of editing required. With self-pub, the author decides.
Q. What about layout and design?
A. We follow the same collaborative process with the design of your book. Our award-winning design team is firmly in control, and we seek your views and engage your feedback to help pick the cover and to ensure that the format is correct. Self-publishing authors hire us for our expertise, but ultimately, they make the call.
Q. Will I get any advanced review copies?
A. Yes you will. First, we will provide you with a digital advanced review copy (ARC). The digital ARC is a PDF file that is created after editing and layout are completed. We encourage authors to use their digital ARCs when seeking endorsement quotes and reviews. After the book is finalized with quotes and corrections made, it is loaded onto Ingram’s Title Management System. Upon acceptance of the e-proof, printed copies (typically twenty) are shipped to the author. Self-pub authors get one printed proof.
Q. So why do I need Koehler Books? Why not just use one of the big self-publishing companies?
A. We’re not a self-publishing company. We do have a self-publishing model, which makes the author the publisher of record. But for our traditional and co-pub models, Koehler Books is the publisher of record, not the author. Our name will be on your book along with yours, and we are ultimately responsible for the quality of your book. We take that responsibility very seriously. We only put our name on books that meet our standards of excellence.
Q. What should I do if I’m not sure what publishing model I want?
A. Send in your manuscript using our submissions page so we can review it, then let’s have a discussion about your work and your goals. We will provide an honest assessment and recommend a publishing model that best suits you and your work.