Bothsams began in the music industry as a licensing agent and talent development company in 1990, before major labels incorporated into the mega-groups they are today. Take a look at the biggest, BMG. BMG established in 1987 as the German music group Bertelsmann's, the largest publisher in the world and the 3rd largest independent music publisher at the time. BMG held the RCA/Arista labels, and in 2004, the entire group incorporated into Sony BMG. They are a traditional major music publisher, but their wealth and clout come from the one aspect of handling creative content that independent publishers have foregone, and that is, licensing. Bothsams is also a traditional publisher and licensor, only today, it publishes and licenses multi-media content for graphic artists, performers, authors and filmmakers, not just musicians. We have converted and expanded our operations to serve the needs of the full scope of the artistic community. With the focus not being exclusively on books, we don’t look like a traditional book publisher to some, yet with paid-in options, we look like every other indie publisher with the "packages" and the service break-downs, to others. Only our experience makes us far more flexible, our in-house rates make us more affordable, and our options include traditional publishing services that independents don’t or can’t provide.
Regardless of “looks,” although we are independent (not an imprint under a major publishing house) we are still a traditional publisher and still a licensing agency registered with ASCAP (originally, we were with BMI). Unlike both traditionals and other independents, however, we also still engage in active talent scouting and development (providing agent and publicist services) and we stay with an artist throughout their career or for as long as they choose to remain. The major difference between us and most modern traditionals is that we don’t require artists to be agented. “Independent” technically means operating without an agent, whereas “self-published” means the content provider is also the creator and owner of the content, with or without an agent. Although we accept agented submissions, we keep an open call for multi-media artists, year-round. Other indie publishers sell a package, produce a product, and walk away, and call it "independent publishing." It’s not that the publisher is not legit, it’s just that often there's nothing else behind the imprint. Generally, all of their options are paid-in options, yet none of them have distribution behind them, in other words. They simply upload ebooks to Amazon for you, send a catalogue to major retailers (like everyone else does) and sell the books from their online stores. They tend to hyper-focus on things like book cover design, using In-Design templates they got from their printing service provider or drop-shipper. Royalties, however, are more generous, even as high as 75%, in some cases, because the costs are paid up-front. It’s still publishing, but...it’s what everyone else has, and furthermore, what the artists themselves could do without the up-front fees. It doesn’t quite make sense to us at Bothsams, because from our perspective, this looks like a paid-in distribution deal - only without the distribution. And it looks like independent publishing - only at a price and without the actual publishing, effectively. So, we’ve redesigned publishing to include the entire range of publishing services and options for all artists, agented, independet and even self-publishing. We offer the full suite of opportunities, services and options, from the traditional long-term exclusive agreements to the consignment sales agreement where we simply act as a vendor, including the administative publishing agreement with a retainer option, the co-publishing agreement, the distribution deal (sometimes referred to mistakenly as a “vanity” deal), and the stand-alone options for specific services. We offer editorial review and services, copyediting, proofreading, contract review and legal consultation, publishing consulting, book design, licensing listing and services, press kits, book trailer production, and advertising and marketing services - only at in-house rates based on self-publishing costs. We don’t cost more than artists themselves would pay to do it, but we provide the full publishing services, promotions and marketing and distribution that artists cannot get on their own, including agent and publicity services. What we do for one artist, we extend to all, regardless of the type of agreement.
We compared Bothsams to other independent and traditional publishers in terms of services, resources and pricing. Our in-house model is very different from most of the indies out there. We found that major indie publishers are charging essentially what it costs us in-house to operate, but at a mark-up and without the same distribution or level of editorial services. Still, we support indie publishers and artists for doing what they need to do to stay creating and endorse and recommend independent publishers and resource providers we believe in, ourselves. We call it the Bothsams TOP 10 Whitelist with categories in publishing, artist resources and industry resources and events. You can find it at www.mojorising.info where it is updated frequently.
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