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Here's how we resemble other independent publishers and how we don't, along with a little history of the "Machine," the industry monster where Bothsams was born and bred, originally, and why we left it behind in the company of so many others.
Like traditionals used to do, we actively engage in talent development by scouting artists we would like to work with, so we are going to the artists rather than forcing them to come find us. Unlike most traditionals, we keep an open call for multi-media and multi-genre submissions so artists can come to us any time they are ready, even if the manuscript or product is not finished, yet.
Unlike traditionals, and like some independents, we can be retained as an administrative publisher, which means, you have a publisher's resources and guidance with you the entire way through your project, and can begin your career with an advantage, informed, advised and well-prepared for your career by the time you launch your first title. This is part of our talent development commitment, and it is the most affordable, productive and beneficial arrangement artists can have, and one no one else, as far as we can see, is offering - not without thousands of dollars changing hands.
Our administrative publishing agreement is $200 for a retainer fee. Specific services and consulting are charged thereafter at a negotiable hourly rate (usually between $35 and $65 an hour). No unauthorized work is done, and the administrator follows up routinely to see if you're on track, at no additional expense. Administrative services give artists a full editorial review of their project, registration of the copyright and royalty tracking and collection, identification of necessary and affordable resources, research, legal advice, contract review, and full promotional advertising for their project, as well as our standard licensing services and listing in our licensing catalogue.
Admin publishing requires that you give non-exclusive rights and permissions necessary to list, license, sell and promote your work at a 20/80 royalty split. Admin does not incur design and manufacturing costs (creating the product and setting it up for drop-shipment and distribution); therefore, the admin publisher's costs are minimal. the agreement can be for an indefinite term, cancelled by standard 14-day notice. If the admin publisher secures a film or TV deal for the book or music, they will ask for an exit option percentage of the licensing revenues and release the rights fully, or may offer to forfeit the licensing revenues for a higher royalty split (say from 20/80 to 40/60).
Unlike anybody else out there, we take our promotions and marketing direct to the consumer in a unique "road-show" strategy, revitalizing an old industry standard of the talent showcase exhibition. We promote our artists and their works at exhibitor's events in the largest literary and fandom conventions and industry gatherings in the country on monthly road-shows, and we arrange to invite our artists to these conventions for guest appearances, panels and book signings, and to be on hand at our exhibitor's booths to meet fans and network with others in their industry.
Through our road-show promotions, we function as a traditional booking agent and publicist, because we bring the artist directly to the fans and consumers and other industry professionals they need to launch their careers. A publicist's job, basically, is to promote the artist - make them look good, get them in front of the right people - but it's a two-way street. The more exposure the artist has, the better the publicist looks. This relationship is one of the most vital for any artist and any agent, but, no surprise, one that we have found is nearly impossible for self-published authors and independent artists to attain.
You say you can't find an agent? With Bothsams, you already have one, the minute we carry your title in our catalogue. We promote all our artists equally, instead of only pushing the "hit-makers" (the ones under full publishing agreements). Our goal is to see artists continually succeed and develop. Through road-show promotions, we help build your fan base, get you in front of the right people, and position you for bigger and better agreements down the road - we help build your career, not just cash a royalty check.
Also unlike virtually everyone else out there, you might have noticed that we don't offer "author's pages" (we know you have your own to maintain). Instead, we create entire communities where artists can meet and collaborate and show their works for consideration to editors, publishers and other artists who are browsing and interacting in a safe, secure area. What if your "author's page" were an entire active community of other artists, and a WordPress e-commerce site with author's permissions where you could actually sell your own products and titles and post updates and advertisements and offers, yourself? Where you could contact potential collaborators directly, in real time, create and then present your works together on your own initiative without a publisher account executive or editor restricting, censoring or otherwise altering your work, or claiming royalties from it? Where editors, agents, other publishers and industry professionals were involved in the community and actually looking for clients, instead of you having to scour the internet for weeks trying to find them? Why maintain yet another author's page where you have to monitor traffic and spend time updating and promoting when you could be talking to someone in real-time who might make a difference in your career, and where your publisher allows you to sell versions of your own content, and even content you're not contracted for, all in one space? We call our artists "lost Lenores," and we consider them "found," when we publish them. They need a home, so, we created one for them where they can work in a community and revitalize what used to be the artist "scene," another aspect of the creative arts the major industry took away when it closed its doors and incorporated. We call this shutting out the "Pollockalypse," when the major industry took the efforts of independent artists in all genres, splattered them on various media canvasses, rebranded the mess as "pop art," made a fortune off of it and then shut down the gallery. Bothsams knows that a vital ecosystem, a "scene," is required for artistic evolution. it is taking steps to create environments where this revitalization can occur and seeking industry cohorts to participate. We're working to bring the industry back to the artists, and not just to put a book on a shelf where it will wind up as "stuff in a bin."
Unlike independents offering a co-publishing "program" or a traditional "vanity" publisher where artists buy into the catalogue under an imprint, Bothsams offers a traditional distribution deal. A distribution deal is a great opportunity - precisely because it is not a publishing deal and does not require an exclusive, long-term publishing agreement. Indie publishers too often today offer co-publishing as a "program," when it is actually paid distribution, like a vanity publisher offers. For one, they do not actually have the distribution and two, they are acting as administrative publishers, taking the money for a full distribution deal, but calling themselves a co-publisher. The contributor foots the total bill, as with a distribution deal, and the "co-publisher" simply collects sales revenues and distributes royalties, like an administrative publisher. As we checked into it, the costs are actually the full costs of publishing in-house, which is technically not a “co” anything, or if an installment plan is selected, the publisher delays production and distribution until the balance is received, sometimes for as long as six months.
If you buy into distribution, you put up the costs of printing set-up and warehousing, return insurance (necessary for stores to buy your titles), plus the design of your title's advertising. The title is prepared, listed, promoted and sold to retailers and etailers on both the publisher's platforms and through their licensing and distribution catalogues. The distributor absorbs the balance of any remaining expenses and gets it back by recouping from sales and licensing. The royalty is good: 30/70 after recoupment. The content contributor keeps their ISBN, but the distributor will use their own barcode. There is no "publishing" involved. The work has already been produced, in its entirety, and is ready to sell.
The co-publishing agreement involves a negotiated cost and royalty split, where both parties cover expenses and recoup from sales. A co-publishing agreement where the artist pays all of the costs up front is not a co-publishing agreement. In co-publishing, an author pays part of the costs of packaging and promoting the work, usually needs editorial reviews and proofreading and perhaps layout services, and the publisher agrees to distribute the title under their ISBN (imprint). Recoupment takes longer than in a distribution agreement, but the up-front costs are less. The contributor may have a non-exclusive agreement, where both the publisher and the author of the work can sell the title independently. This works well is, say, the author wants to retain e-book rights and allow the publisher to handle only print sales.
Our distribution agreement does not have a fixed up-front cost. If we believe in the value of the work strongly enough, we will offer to carry it in our catalogue, and negotiate a price. We do have options that can be purchased, such as licensing services, editorial services, the Kirkus review, and product trailers. Any costs to the contributor are mutually agreed upon and that agreement constitutes the distribution deal.
We can negotiate a co-publishing agreement as well, but terms and costs to the artist are also determined by mutual agreement. Our ISBN entitles the contributor to full publishing services; however, we only sign non-exclusive agreements for a limited term. Costs may be incurred if the manuscript has not been formatted or reviewed, if there is no cover design, and if the book has not been previously published anywhere, in which case, marketing costs are involved. Translation services may be requested, as well, to enhance global market presence.
If you are interested in any of these alternative avenues for getting your work out there in a global catalogue, or simply would like to speak to us about publishing, in general, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We love giving free advice and learning about the challenges artists are facing today in publishing and distribution.
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