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Erebus
October 26th, 2003, 06:19 AM
Hi everyone...

When we first set up EQ Books, our prime goal was to be able to assist deserving new authors see their works in print, with as little cost as possible, where traditional methods may not have been an option. We believe we have more than achieved this, with 36 softcover novels produced in our first 12 months, and another dozen or so eBook editions published as well - some written by our very own SFFW members!

Our next big goal was to be able to improve on this and if possible, offer a totally fee-free publishing package. The fees we have charged in the past have been minimal, barely covering our costs in many instances, but we were never in this for the money, as many of you will know, and we always looked forward to the books we chose to publish selling well, thus helping to offset some of our losses, something I am very happy to say has been achieved. But, as a writer myself, I always hoped that eventually we would be able to offer an even better alternative to our authors. To that end, we are hoping to be able to launch a new FEE-FREE package when we re-open for submissions next year! Yes, you read it right - a completely FREE publishing package!

What this means is a slightly slimmer package but with only a few of the features of our current packages taken out (things like artist designed covers and promotional flyer proofs etc.). Full fee-based packages will still be available, but hopefully at a level lower than our current charges! It's not often services or products actually drop in price, but ours certainly will if our proposals are supported!

I'll have details/examples of the anticipated new packages posted at our EQ books forum soon, but one of the main differences between what we have now and the proposed FREE package will be a requirement that the author purchases a minimum of 25 books - still at a reduced author's rate of course, and still with the usual author royalty. This will not apply to fee based packages, as is the case now, of course.

The minimum purchase requirement is something we have deliberated over - almost agonised over - for some time, but for now, it's the only way we'll be able to offer FREE publishing and (hopefully) still keep our doors open! :-) Our research shows that 90% of our authors have already purchased books far in excess of this amount for their own re-selling and promotions in any case, so we're hoping it's not received as being an unreasonable option. (The fee based options will still be available in any case for those who may not wish to purchase any copies for themselves.)

So, what do you all think? Does the idea of paying nothing to see your new book (if accepted) in print appeal to you? Is a minimum book purchase acceptable? Or, do you think we should leave things as they are?

The other planned change is the dropping of eBooks. Sadly, it seems that most folks still prefer the smell and feel of real books, and with sales of our printed titles far exceeding the eBook editions, producing any new eBooks will no longer be a viable option for us, thus enabling us to concentrate 100% on the new print publishing options.

Finally, I just wish to stress that this post is not in any way an advertisement. I am merely seeking feedback to help us improve what we do at Equilibrium Books, and given the strong debate and discussions here in recent months over fee-based publishing, I'm sure the responses will be interesting to say the least! :) I would have posted this in the older POD publishing topic, but it seems to have been removed, and so I felt this was the best place for it.

KatG
October 26th, 2003, 11:52 AM
I figured you needed your own thread and it wouldn't be amiss. You might also want to look into creating a poll to ask your feedback questions on minimum book purchase and the like, for this thread.

Erebus
October 26th, 2003, 07:21 PM
Thanks, KatG,

Rocket Sheep
October 28th, 2003, 12:13 AM
I think e-book hardware still has a way to go before we will be as comfortable with them as books. They need to look more like books and less like tiny screens.

I don't mind the 25 book minimum. I have purchased more than that regularly for promotion and on-selling.

Personally, I feel presentation and promotion are two areas that I wouldn't mind paying for. A professional looking cover will often lure browsers into picking a book up. I consider established promotion and marketing channels to be the most valuable thing a mainstream publisher has to offer. They sure as hell don't edit particularly well these days and their taste in books has me baffled. Perhaps you could consider offering various components as separate add-on packages.

Erebus
October 28th, 2003, 01:57 AM
Hi Rocket Sheep,

Thanks for your feedback - positive as always.

The e-books we have already produced will continue to be available, but we won't be doing any new ones.

An artsist painted cover artwork will be an optional extra for the fee-free package, as will the promotional tools package, which will include a PDF, print quality flyer proof and standard web banner. (Mind you, I have created some spectacular digital covers for the bulk of our books and their authors have loved them too!)

As for editing, given the time it takes, we feel that this is something best handled by specialist editors - something we can arrange of course, but again as an optional extra for both packages. Our new deluxe, fee-based package will include a basic proof and typo check, whereas for the free package the manuscript will be need to be ready to go or sent back to the author, or to an editor. :)

All submissions will continue to be screened, and, I dare say, we will probably still be rejecting more than we publish if they're not up to scratch.

juzzza
October 28th, 2003, 09:17 AM
Erebus,

A fantastic idea, and I would have no problem buying 25 copies (that's christmas sorted for all my SFFW friends ha ha ha).

I have to say that you have really put your money where your mouth is this past 12 months when you stated at the outset, that Equilibrium Books is FOR the writer and the art itself, you should be commended and I hope the next 12 months goes even better.

For any newbies, Erebus used to be an Overlord of SFFW and is a fine writer himself.

I am a HUGE Internet fan but agree that you can't beat a tangible book, I even look forward to the break it affords me from the bl**dy screen. I think that trend will continue as we spend more time in front of the one-eyed monsters!!!

Erebus
October 28th, 2003, 09:57 AM
Thanks so much for those very supportive words, Juzzza.

Many here will probably remember the cynacism posted by some when we first mentioned the EQ project here way back in August last year. But as it was then so it is now, and all we promised and all we have done since is to provide an alternative option for authors wanting to see their works in print, as cost effectively as possible. It is because of the support we received during the last 12 months that we have been able to move to the next level and offer a fee-free option, which is what it's really all about. We all know that being published shouldn't have to cost us anything, but the reality of the industry is such that for most of us a mainstream contract will remain unreachable - not because our writing is underserving of such, but for the simple fact that the big houses are making it more and more difficult for new authors to reach their door bells, let alone let them get a foot inside the hallowed doors.

EQ was set up to help authors get that elusive start. While we don't have the clout of the big guys we sure have the heart, and we have dozens of authors now with their works in print and for sale to the world. What happens from there of course relies much upon the authors themselves, but at least we have given them (we hope) that all important start. And now of course, from January next year we will continue to offer that chance with this new fee free POD option, which so far has been received very well indeed.

I for one look forward to seeing the submissions we receive next year, as I'm sure there'll be some great stories among them waiting to sit on the shelves next to those we have already published.

Our authors have embraced Equilibrium Books with remarkable passion. Now, all we need is for the readers out there to do the same and support this raft of new and deserving writers...

Cheers,

Neil

KatG
October 28th, 2003, 01:22 PM
What you're trying to do is quite ambitious and admirable, I think. What's great and why I think you've gotten good responses, is that you're completely honest and up-front about what you're doing, you get author feedback and you do have some selectivity.

Having said that, I should also say that editors are the heart of publishing houses. When you have the capital, it might be a good idea to have editors in place, to improve the overall quality of your products. It should, overall, help improve everyone's sales.

Richardb
October 28th, 2003, 07:44 PM
Having published with EQ, I'll say it is a brilliant idea. The goal is to continue providing the great service you have, and continue to beat down the stereotype around POD, and this is a great step toward that. I never for a minute minded paying a few hundred bucks, but it gives people the belief that this fact enables a certain right to look down their noses and belittle the effort. This plugs up that hole nicely.
My opinion is that you just keep doing what you are doing. You are a guy with his heart in the right place, helping authors recognize their small dreams. As for editing, sure, having a pro on staff would be good, but it is expensive. I know that you did a solid job in helping me edit, and I found your personal service very valuable.
Keep it up, and I hope that someday this business does all the wonderful things for you it has for your authors.

milamber_reborn
October 28th, 2003, 10:40 PM
YBook is a great and free program that lets you view any writing as a book.