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- How long have you been in business?
We organized in September 2003 and our first book appeared in January 2004. The Modern History Press division was established in 2007. We produce approximately 20 to 25 titles per year which puts us on the large side of the category “small publisher”. As of July 2020, we have 230 titles in print, most are in BOTH paperback and hardcover editions.
- How many copies of my book will be printed?
Offset printing requires that you have a crystal ball and be able to predict how many copies are needed in what time period. We prefer the POD model which is more flexible, environmentally conscious, and with considerable cost and time savings. We contract with print factories in the USA, UK, and Australia independently. That being said, we do use offset printing for books that prove to have a good track record or special binding requirements not available by POD.
- How many copies will my book sell?
No two books are alike, even if they are about the same subject. Some are successful and some are not. The difference is what the author brings to marketing the book. We have seven different titles which have sold 200 to 600 copies in one month (via Ingram, which includes Amazon.com and bookstore sales). Our best-selling title has sold more than 10,000 copies in five years and has steady sales month after month. How many books sell is entirely a function of how hard you are willing to work at publicity.
- How many copies are sold thru real bookstores as opposed to Amazon or other online sales?
Ingram does not break out sales numbers by bookstore. If it did, publishers could bypass the wholesaler and sell directly to their bookstore customers. Therefore, we cannot know which stores sell how many. However, industry figures tell us that brick-and-mortar stores are fewer than 30% of book sales worldwide (and falling). A large portion of books are sold through non-bookstores: gift shops, museums, library purchases, and department stores.
- Can you do hardcovers and eBooks?
Right now we are doing “Triple Editions” for all new products: paperback, hardcover, and eBook. Our eBook products are on Amazon Kindle, Apple iBook, B&N Nook, Kobo, and Google Play. Additionally, we work through library eBook wholesalers including: ProQuest/Ebrary/EBL, EBSCOhost, ContentReserve/Overdrive as well as eBook distributors like PublishDrive. Some workbooks may not be appropriate for eBook but 95% of our titles are doable on eBook.
- What about audiobook versions of my books?
We are working with Audible.com on select editions of books we feel are a good match for the audiobook market. You can guarantee an audiobook edition by either purchasing 300 books or making a matching contribution to professional narration and studio production costs. Production cost is exactly proportional to the length of your book (in words). For a rough benchmark, every 9,600 turns into one hour of audio.
- How do I get paid?
Royalties are paid twice yearly in February and August. Most of our authors are currently paid by PayPal. A paper check can also be issued to authors in the USA. Authors in Canada, UK, and Australia are paid via PayPal. We can also send by Western Union although a $24 electronic funds transfer charge must be deducted from your royalties.
- How do book sales/signing events work?
Well there are two completely different things that happen
- In-Store Events: the store manages inventory and purchases and sells the books (you collect standard royalty)
- Direct Sales Events: an event put on by you outside of a store where no store is involved (examples: book launch party, reading at a church/synagogue/mosque, lecture at a library/school/university). You or your assistant collects money, and hands the person the book they want. Books for Direct Sales Events need to be purchased by you at Author’s Discount which starts at 50% off List Price. As your book sells more copies, your discount will be raised to 65% off List Price after 1000 copies are purchased by you or sold by stores
- Will it be at Barnes & Noble?
Even the “majors” cannot guarantee bookstore placement. Anyone who does is either putting you on or is paying the fee to have books put on the front tables. All our books are orderable (and returnable) by individual B&N store buyers and clerks. Whether they do or not is a function of how successful marketing is going. Upon request, we will submit new books to the Barnes & Noble Small Press coordinator for evaluation. However, this does not happen until a book is in print and takes 3-4 weeks for a response. Some of our authors have successfully made their case in-person to store managers and were able to do events.
- How long does it take for my book to come out?
We will quote you a rough timeline during contract acceptance. The contract will stipulate a maximum of 9 to 12 months. However, we endeavor to put the title through as quickly as possible. The time varies based on several factors:
- is the book a candidate for Advance Review Copies (ARC? If so, this requires a mandatory 4 month quiet period before production ensues.)
- how well-edited and prepared is the document?
- permission and copyright clearance for quotes and reprinted text (author’s responsibility to execute and document)
- current backlog level (between 6 and 12 months)
- responsiveness of the author to issues raised during production or editorial review
- are illustrations done or do they need to be commissioned?
- quantity and quality of any interior photos
- Will you enter my book in book contests?
Just like there are subsidy publishers and traditional publishers, there are subsidy contests (“vanity contests”) and real book contests. Real book contests have registration fees of $50 or less and we will help you participate in these if you bring them to our attention. Subsidy contests are like those grade-school competitions where everyone who participates gets a ribbon–and hence their results are worth about as much. Some of the contests we endorse include Michigan Notable Books and Society of Midland Authors Award.
- Should I do a podcast?
I encourage all authors to get started on podcasting. You can reach a bigger market (“ears”) through podcasts and achieve sell-thrus (i.e. people who will buy the book based on their perception of you as an expert). Our star podcaster right now is Alan Smith, and I would recommend that you listen to his podcasts
- What’s the deal with a 10% royalty, isn’t that way too low?
Here’s the breakdown of where “100% of List Price” goes piece-by-piece. Now, wouldn’t you like to be Amazon?