Over a decade ago now, a revolution started. We all thought it would be the eBook revolution, and a ton of fiction authors bet their living and livelihood on it. But we were wrong. The eBook revolution never came, not the way we expected. Instead, it became a hybrid of multi-media, print on demand, and digital marketing.
But it did open up options for authors, including me. No longer were we tied to the “get lucky” or “get noticed” system of traditional publishing. Gone were the days of huge advances, and authors slinging books from their ivory towers to the masses unless you already had a big name. But you could build a pretty solid following for your books and your author brand, and actually make a living writing.
Beyond just author opportunities, the “self-publishing revolution” opened the door for other opportunities as well. Editors, cover designers, formatters, marketing, and PR professionals, and more of these professionals began freelance careers. Instead of sitting in an office in New York reading through the slush pile, an editor could be sitting on the beach editing a story they really loved.
With that came Print on Demand. As readers still wanted physical books, Indie authors and small presses needed to provide them for them. But doing print runs of thousands of books was not only not economically feasible, but it was also wasteful. So some companies jumped into the industry, including Amazon and Lightning Source (now Ingram Spark).
Soon small and medium-sized presses latched on to this model too. Why? Well, the answers are simple, and they matter to authors and publishers everywhere.
Print on Demand is More Profitable
One of our goals here at Unbound Publishing is to be absolutely transparent about our process and our profits, and here are the simple facts: we can’t operate as a company for long unless we are profitable. That means that printing books must come with enough of a margin that we can cover our salaries and operating expenses.
This is a part of why print on demand is essential to both paths to publication that we offer: we don’t want to pay for a warehouse to store hundreds or thousands of books that may or may not sell. We don’t want authors to have to order literally hundreds of books to get a discount so they can sell them to friends or family, give them away, or just have some copies for events of their own.
All those things cost money that diminishes the profitability of the company overall, and in today’s world is completely unnecessary. Here’s how it breaks down:
- We can do print runs for bookstores, events, pre-orders, and conferences of any size. We can drop ship orders direct from the printers, and never even touch the books.
- We can larger print runs as needed, or smaller ones. We can avoid doing print runs at all. Either way, we eliminate the structure necessary for distribution, making our company leaner and able to offer authors more royalties and vendors larger discounts.
- We’re not storing returns or bulk numbers of books. We don’t need a large storage area, just a small one to meet immediate demand. Our supply can be replenished quickly and as needed.
That’s how Print on Demand benefits us as a company, but what does that mean to those we do business with?
Print on Demand Gives Indie Bookstores Better Options
Yes, our books are available through standard channels like Ingram, Bowker, and in most cases the gorilla in the room, Amazon. But we, and bookstores, are not tied to them. Bookstores and others can order directly from us, get better discounts in some cases, and have the same benefits of ordering directly from Ingram.
However, we also understand how bookstores, libraries, and others might rather order through standard channels. It makes their accounting and invoicing simpler, and we respect that. Bookstores and publishers alike operate on slim margins, and we want to help our partners. We want the industry to be successful.
Print on Demand lets us offer bookstores and other partners more options when it comes to ordering and stocking books.
Print on Demand is Better for the Environment
So for some of you not in the publishing business, let me share something sad with you: do you know what happens to returned books? Well, if they are returned to the publisher, most of them are simply pulped and recycled. Good news? Sure, at least they are recycled, but all the shipping back and forth and even the pulping process take energy, fuel, and result in greenhouse emissions.
The solution? Don’t print books unless you need them. Fewer returns, less pulping, less waste, all things that are better for our planet. And if we do get books returned from bookstores?
Well, you could call those slightly used books. Then you can sell them for a small discount on Amazon, eBay, or other places, and someone still gets to read them. Other people will sell your books used too, so why wouldn’t you or your publisher?
Print on demand gives publishers and authors the ability to do what is best for the planet, offering products with less environmental impact. That’s good for everyone.
Print on Demand is Better for Authors
What about the authors of the books? Well, first of all, they have more ordering options, and can therefore save money when they order copies for themselves and events they might hold on their own.
Second, when publishers are more profitable, they can pass along those profits to authors in the form of royalties. This is what enables us to offer a graduated royalty system to authors: the more books they sell, the greater percentage of royalties they earn. Everyone can still make a profit, because we’ve eliminated the bloat of infrastructure related to legacy publishing and large print runs.
True, not all publishers pass along profits to the authors who are the backbone of their business, but that’s what sets us apart. We’re transparent about what it costs us to produce a book, the pay now or pay later nature of publishing, and the fact that for any kind of publishing to have a viable future, we need to lean into modern technology like print on demand to make sure it’s profitable for everyone.
Have questions? Have a story you are ready to publish or need help with ghostwriting services? Contact us using the form below. We’d love to chat about what’s next for you and your story, and how print on demand can be a part of your plan.
Unbound Publishing has launched a new partnership with Agent Fox Media based in the UK, and that is great news for many authors. Read the press release below:
The Partnership Press Release
Good News for Authors as POD Publisher Strikes Agreement with Agent
Unbound Publishing LLC (Idaho, USA) is excited to announce it has forged an international deal with Agent Fox Media Literary and Media (London)to publish, promote, and distribute literature from their clients. This relationship capitalizes on the strengths of the two companies to provide opportunities for authors who want the flexibility of Print on Demand instead of the rigid requirements of publishing houses tied to large print runs and bloated infrastructure.
“The mission of Unbound Publishing LLC is to turn storytellers into authors,” co-founder Troy Lambert says. “By being nimble and forging an international, post-Brexit, COVID-era partnership with Agent Fox Literary and Media, we can assist even more potential authors achieve their publishing dreams.
Unbound Publishing LLC provides authors two distinct paths to success. Working with Rick and Beverly Mayston and Agent Fox Media capitalizes on the best path for authors who have an established audience through social media, fan clubs, or simply who the author is. The Print on Demand (POD) path gives the authors more power to make their books viable in today’s market without the demands and financial pressures of conventional publishing paths. Authors receive better compensation without burdening the agency and publishing company with risk, helping ensure the success of everyone involved.
Co-founder of Unbound Publishing LLC Jerry Mooney says, “It’s exciting to bring aboard these new authors. We are the right company to get them the quality of publishing and distribution they need. And working with Rick Mayston, their CEO, has been professional and effective. Our partnership will lead to optimal benefits for all participants: author, agent, and publisher.” Jerry continued, “We are not trying to reinvent the wheel, but we are also evolving from old models which no longer serve the modern trends of the industry. We are constantly working to improve our methods to deliver success.”
The relationship with Agent Fox Media is a natural partnership because we both believe that we succeed if our authors succeed. This creates energy where everyone involved is working together towards the same goals. Using modern techniques, including social media, marketing tools, and relationship building, this joint venture maximizes the resources available to maximize profits and opportunity for authors, agents, and the publisher by harnessing the power of Print on Demand.
Unbound Publishing LLC is able to produce the highest quality products without the bloated overhead of conventional publishing. This model works best when everyone works together to modernize and streamline the publishing model.
To kickoff the partnership, Unbound Publishing LLC will be releasing two memoirs this October, both written by the children of notable British fathers. First, My Dad Was The King Of Clubs, is written by Scott Stringfellow, son of the renowned Peter Stringfellow, international club owner and London legend who worked with and signed acts like the Beatles and Culture Club. This book sizzles with accounts of rock stars and celebrities, but at its core is a heartwarming tale of a father and son.
Scott’s book is due to be made available for pre-order on October 17th, which would have been his father’s 80th birthday, and will release for sale on October 29th.
We will also be releasing No More Kisses For Me by Gayle Hiller. Gayle is the daughter of famous songwriter Tony Hiller. Through letters written to her father after his passing, she shares her story of the complicated relationship between her successful father and his daughter. This story is beautifully written and touches anyone who can relate to a parent chasing success at the expense of their family.
Gayle’s book will be available for pre-order on October 29th and will release for general sale on November 12th. More information about pre-orders can be found on our website here:
We have started with these two books because the contrasting natures of how these two people have grown up because of their paternal relationships is fascinating. We are all shaped by our childhoods, and both books will have instantly recognisable personal issues and experiences that the reader can identify with. Thankfully both Gayle and Scott have turned out to be very well rounded individuals in their own right.
“Agent Fox Media and Unbound Publishing LLC are thrilled to be working together in this way, and it is hoped that POD can continue to be a much more popular proposition for authors worldwide – long after Lockdown has ended,” says Mayston.
“It’s our goal at Unbound Publishing LLC to revolutionize POD publishing to an author-centric small press model that transcends national borders and embraces emerging publishing trends,” Lambert says. “The goal is to establish a sustainable, replicable model that is profitable for both agents, authors, and editors as a ‘new normal’ emerges for publishing.”
Jerry Mooney adds, “Our years of experience have shown us that there is a real need for our approach. Authors put their heart and souls into their creations. Writing a book is like giving birth. A book isn’t merely a commodity, rather it is an expression of one’s self, revealing our innermost thoughts and experiences, rendering authors vulnerable. It can be personal and emotional. We work with our authors from this understanding.”
Unbound Publishing LLC is excited about this relationship with Agent Fox Media and its authors as we continue to develop this model partnership to foster author, agency, and publishing company success.
In the Fox’s Den
A vital part of our partnership is to promote authors and provide them with a tangible video asset to share on social media and elsewhere that will help them sell books. Rick Mayston makes a great host, every episode is fun and entertaining.
You can see past episodes here, and new editing and a new engineer means the program will only be getting better as time goes along. Interested in appearing on the program? Unbound Publishing authors get a special rate, and we can offer the option to others who have an interest as well. Contact us today at info [at] unboundpublish.com.
How does this affect your path to publication?
What does this mean to you? This means that the Print on Demand Path to publication is even more available and viable for a greater number of authors. Frequently asked questions:
- Do I have to apply for the print on demand option? Yes. We are looking for specific types of authors and books to bring into this program.
- Do I have to live in the United States? No, we are interested in ideas from authors everywhere.
- What are you looking for? We are currently looking for compelling non-fiction. That is everything from great business ideas; health, and fitness; stories from the entertainment industry; fascinating stories and in-depth historical research; sports teams and sports figures; and more. Do you have a story or a topic with a social media or club following? We’re interested in talking to you.
Do you have any questions? Do you already have a story to tell? Do you need help with ghostwriting, screenwriting, or are you in need of other author services? Contact us today! We’re here to help you.
When we started this company last year, we had a vision. A small one, and one we had no idea where it would take us.
The idea was simple. We already had a network of people who provided services to authors. If we pooled those resources, plus our own, we could offer some authors, those who could afford it, a path to publication that was an alternative to doing it all themselves and self-publishing and waiting for a publisher to pick them up and produce their books, something with a long lead time.
But why make the author pay for services? Well, it’s simple really. The publishing game is a pay now or pay later game, and plenty of small presses and even large publishers have gone broke trying to manage authors who don’t help market and sell their books, or just have no author platform or audience, and certainly aren’t working to build one.
But now, we’re able to offer another path to publication, what we call Print on Demand Small Press. Let’s look at how publishing works, the money behind it, and why we choose to do things the way we do.
The Self-Publishing Slush Pile
For those of you not in the know, the slush pile is the pile of horrible manuscripts that sits on an acquisitions editor’s desk, waiting to be waded through. They are often poorly formatted, poorly written, and are far from ready for an editor’s eye, let alone publication. I used to be that guy and read those drafts. Some of them were just horrible.
Often, if you sent an author a rejection, you’d get this answer: “I’ll just self-publish on Amazon then.” They often did, and their books didn’t sell there either. Although self-publishing grew 40% over the last couple of years, the average income for authors fell significantly. That’s because there are many authors who make less than $1,000 a year, and many actually lose money rather than making it.
The slush pile has moved to Amazon, where hundreds of books sit, many of which never sold a single copy.
The Big Publishers
The big publishers operate on narrow margins. For the most part, they only pick up books they know will sell and sell big. Those big names get most of their support and marketing efforts. The small author, even if you get in as a debut or mid-list author? You’re still the primary marketer for your own work, and the publisher takes a large chunk of your royalties.
Even if you have a book that will sell, it will take months before it is published, maybe years. Got a timely topic? Good luck. You’re going to need it.
With many bookstores and libraries closed, those lead times have gotten even longer.
Small Presses and Intermediate Publishers
This is often the sweet spot for some authors. The small press is much like a traditional publisher, but without the advances or (usually) big names. They often want to be like big publishers, but their limited staff and calendar makes the number of titles they can release limited.
At the same time, they also need to take on authors who can sell books for sure. Those authors who don’t market their work or come with an audience of their own drag down profits and limit the growth of those small presses. I often call them hobbyists: they do this for a hobby, but they don’t really take it seriously. No matter what a publisher invests in them and their work, they can only go so far.
The publisher, already with a limited budget and time constraints, is further constrained by an author who is actually losing them money.
Intermediate publishers do well also, but the slots they have for authors fill up fast too. If you’re a newbie, a debut author, or someone who has one interesting book in them—one about history, your loved ones, your family, a sports career, a career in fashion, or a historical event, you’ll have a hard time getting in the door.
Pay to Play or Vanity Press
Call it what you will, from author services to vanity publishing, what this amounts to is a company that effectively helps an author self-publish. They coordinate things like editing, formatting, book covers, and more. The author pays for these services, the same as they would if they self-published, but they only pay in one place, and the publisher assists them in sourcing these services and in quality control.
The publisher will often publish the author’s book for them, or they can take the finished manuscript and publish it themselves, just depending on how much of the work they want to handle on their own. It’s called vanity publishing, author services, or pay to play because anyone can publish through these services if they have enough money.
Now, some of these publishers have standards the author must meet, and they won’t publish just anything. They’ll even reject manuscripts if they’re awful no matter how much money you have. Those are the ones with integrity. Other publishers will take your money no matter how bad your story is, publish it, and wish you the best of luck.
The good version of this publisher will publish your book but will pay you higher royalties right away, often with bonuses if you actually do sell books, because the author has paid their initial expenses upfront: they don’t have to earn that money back before your book becomes profitable.
That’s a rare thing, but it is a good option for those who want to and can sell books or for those who just want to hold a book with their name on it in their hands, regardless of if they ever sell a single copy.
Our New Option: Print on Demand Small Press
What does this model mean, and why is it different? Instead of paying upfront for author services, the author takes a lower royalty rate for the first 1,000 books sold. Then the rate goes up from there. There are even bonuses for authors who meet milestones quickly.
There are no fancy book tours, although we have some great marketing options. There are no advances. We do take agented scripts, and with a new partnership with an agency (announcement coming soon), we’re even able to direct authors to representation. We do this even if their work isn’t a good fit for Unbound Publishing.
The more the author sells, the more profitable we are, and therefore the more the author earns. This allows us to offer opportunities for editors, book cover designers, formatters, and others to earn money as well. Because we hire only the best.
We want authors to succeed. So there are criteria for this process. You have to apply, which means you need to have an author platform, a following, a good book with a popular topic or subject matter. You need to have a marketing plan or an agent: some way to help us spread the word about your book. We can then partner with you to make you successful.
We’re interested in:
- Sports figures or their relatives and related topics.
- The entertainment industry, the people who made or make it work, and their day to day lives.
- The fashion industry. The rise and fall of icons, the ups and downs and changing attitudes through history.
- History itself. Historical figures, new investigations or angles on events, deeper insights.
- Business and business ideas. Something new, innovative, or ideas shared by thought leaders.
Is this you or someone you love? Do you have other non-fiction ideas you think we might be interested in? You can apply to be a part of this exciting program today.
No matter what your path to publication is, you’re going to pay. Either you pay now, in the form of various services you purchase from others, or you pay later in the form of royalties. We offer both options in a single publisher.
But we also know we’re not the right fit for everyone. We’d love to talk with you and find out more about you and your book. We can help you choose the right path to publication, even if that means referring you to someone else. Whatever your needs as an author, we’re here to help.