FAQ: Why Are Your Services Fee Based?

In a previous post, A Publishers Differentiator, I touched a little on the service philosophy of Girl on the Write Publishing. Since that post, I’ve received countless inquiries about whether we are a traditional or self publisher. Here is my standard response:

Thank you for reaching out, and for your interest in Girl on the Write Publishing. To answer your question, we are not a self publishing or traditional publishing company. More confused? Let me explain.

Technically, we would be categorized as an independent publisher with a unique business model that is author-centered. This means that we offer fee-based comprehensive publishing packages for both print and eBooks, which includes publishing, editing, marketing & promotion, premium customized book cover, world-wide distribution, etc. 

Why fee-based? Simple! You keep all royalties on book sales, and we maintain no exclusivity to your original work. You only provide us with permission to distribute. We, of course, incur several costs during the development & technical aspects of publishing. Because we do not take a cut of your royalties, we need to recoup these costs by offering fee-based packages. Our packages are priced competitively in the independent publishing industry, and we are flexible on payments and customization to fit your vision.

It is a confusing and daunting task for authors to compare publishing companies that don’t fit a “traditional” model. When creating GOTW, I felt (and still feel) strongly that we
would not take author royalties as payment for our services. The hard truth is that not all books sell, and whether our authors’ books move or not, we (the publisher) have to provide upfront financial investment in the publishing process. I’ve read a host of articles from various bloggers, authors, and industry professionals that make claims that if a publisher charges you fees, they are not reputable, and aren’t as confident in your book’s sales future. I beg to differ, and this is why:

  1. As a small independent publisher, I have hired the very best graphic artists, marketing & PR specialists, beta readers, editors, and business development managers. I do this because I want each author, and their story, to have the best possible chance to reach readers. These experienced, high-performing professionals do not work pro bono, I can assure you!
  2. Marketing and promotion is a full-time job. It takes hours of preparing & scheduling posts to various social media accounts, submitting books for multiple reviews, drafting a personalized marketing strategy, scheduling author signings, writing & distributing press releases, designing author websites, creating our monthly newsletter, and so much more.
  3. Legal contracts between authors and publishers cost money. Yes, the business and legal end of things is important to protect agreed upon terms, rights, and rules. It is win-win for both parties, and a responsibility that I do not take lightly. There are many examples out there of legal short cuts that went bad. GOTW cares about our working relationship, plain and simple.
  4. We pay for ISBNs and copyright registration. These are up-front fees for GOTW, and non-negotiable. We do buy ISBNs in bulk, and happily pass along the savings to our authors. The cost for both of these items are built into package pricing.
  5. Customized book covers for print and eBooks are MEGA important. From a buyer/reader’s perspective, they count on the book cover as an enticement, promise, and indicator of the story beneath. We have amazingly talented graphic artists that will work with an author’s vision to customize their book cover to garner the most interest. This is priceless, honestly, and ranks just above a professional edit. The truth is that without a great cover, nobody will take time to enjoy the story.

I could provide many more reasons why fee-bases services are our best business practice, but I think it is now quite obvious. Reputation is everything to our team, and we will stand behind our work. There are many publishing options out there, and every author has to take time to weed through and find their best fit.

When on the fence about fee-based publishers, keep in mind that nothing is free, even in self publishing.


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