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Questions and Answers
for Prospective Authors



What kind of books are you looking for?

Better to ask what kind of author. We’re looking for the kind of author who has a good idea for a book, the ability to execute that idea, and a brilliant guerilla marketing plan to make the project successful, generating income both for yourself and for us.


What kind of company is Quiet River Press?

It is a small publishing company specializing in print-on-demand, or POD, books.


What is print-on-demand (POD)?

It’s an alternative to conventional print publishing. With POD a print run can be for as little as one book. Books are printed to order and shipped to retailers who then ship them to readers.


What are the advantages of POD publishing?

In conventional publishing, retailers routinely return the majority of a press run for a refund, and the books are then warehoused or destroyed. That’s one reason why the economics of conventional publishing are so writer-unfriendly. POD books cost more to print, per book, but are printed only when they’re wanted. So you can make more money per book.


Who will print and distribute my book?

Our printer is Lightning Source, which has operations in both the U.S. and the U.K. Lightning Source is owned by the Ingram Book Group, the largest book wholesaler in America, and they work closely together, so your book will receive solid distribution.


Who will design my book?

We do both interior and cover design at no charge.


Who will own my book?

You would own the copyright. QRP does not “own” anyone’s work. However, we do ask that you license your book to us for a set period.


Why should I trust you to help publish my book?

To get a contract with a major publisher you’ll need an agent (who will get part of your advance). Even then there’s no guarantee that a publisher will green-light your book. After the initial advance, onerous contract terms and shady accounting prevent most authors from receiving any significant sum in royalties.


What about other POD presses?

They are mainly subsidy presses—you pay them to publish your book. For amateurs, they may be viable options, but professional writers should not pay to publish their own books.


OK, what’s the basic deal?

You present a good book and a convincing self-marketing plan. QRP gets it into print. We share the income from the book.


How can I make money on my book?

While QRP does not give advances, we do pay royalties. You get half the income from the book—that’s wholesale price minus printing cost. The numbers vary depending on the cover price and retail discount. If you sell a lot of books, you’ll make a lot of money.


How does your royalty deal compare to what I can get elsewhere?

Conventional publishers will deny you royalties until you have sold a certain number of copies (usually more than a small book project is likely to sell). If the book continues to sell, royalties step up slowly until they reach the full rate. QRP pays you a uniform percentage, and a generous one, from the first copy sold.


How does your cost structure compare to a major publisher?

Conventional publishers pay you more at the front end but less at the back end. They’ll pay you an advance, and if you’re lucky, they may also provide valuable promotion and advertising. But you won’t make much, if anything, from royalties. So the more successful your book is, the worse off you are.


What retailers can I expect to handle my book?

POD books sell mainly through the major online booksellers such as Amazon.com and BN.com (Barnes & Noble). Here's an example of our worldwide distribution in action.


Will you be able to get my book into bookstores?

POD titles can be special-ordered through conventional brick-and-mortar bookstores if your readers are willing to provide the ISBN and pick up the book a week or two later. However our business model is oriented toward online retailing—it's not the biggest slice of the book business yet but it's growing fast.


What is an ISBN?

The International Standard Book Number is used by distributors and retailers. If you’re serious about getting people to buy your book, you need an ISBN. QRP owns a large block of ISBNs and will assign one to your book at no charge.


What about promotion and advertising?

QRP is oriented toward self-starters who can take on these responsibilities. We do not provide marketing, promotion, or advertising services—though we do make sure your book is listed by online retailers and other book-industry information sources. We also do emailings to librarians.


How can I promote my book?

We recommend driving traffic to a website that links to online retailers. That will give readers an easy way to learn more about your book—and order it!


Do I have to create my own website?

No, we will provide you with a free webpage on our site. Your page will be available online at www.quietriverpress.com/yourbook.html. If you want take further steps on your own, you may reserve a domain name (www.yourbook.com) and use it to drive traffic to your webpage on the QRP site. Beyond that, you might create your own website.


What about book tours, book signings, direct mail, and advertising?

Book tours are fun—don’t we all dream of doing one?—but are not cost-effective for an author with a small-run book. Signings will probably require you to acquire stock and sell at public events, though if you are a frequent public speaker or performer, that may not be a bad idea. We don't recommend spending large sums on direct mail or advertising. Think in terms of low-cost, guerilla, viral marketing.


If I want to do individual sales, how can I obtain copies, and for how much?

We can order them for you for printing cost plus our publisher royalty. If you sell at the list price, you’ll get your usual writer’s royalty plus the percentage that would normally go to the wholesaler and retailer.


How’s the quality of POD books?

Covers are printed on glossy stock, in full color, and are every bit as good as with conventional printing. Quality of the interior text is good, and to keep it readable, we recommend certain fonts and sizes. The inside of the book can include B&W line art and halftones but no color pictures. Books that depend heavily on illustrations are not suitable for POD (not yet anyway).


How long will my book remain in print?

As long as it remains relevant and keeps selling. We would drop your title only if it's outdated enough to annoy readers or sells fewer than 10 copies a year.


May I update my book?

Yes, that's one of the beauties of POD publishing. We already have some regularly updated titles. But the project would have to be selling well enough to justify the time and expense.


Are there any restrictions on content?

We accept nothing that is potentially libelous or obscene.


OK, I'm interested in writing a book for Quiet River Press. What's the next step?

Write a detailed outline and a couple of sample chapters. Then send them to the email address on the contact page. We'll look at your material and get back to you within two weeks.


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