This is where you’ll find everything you need to know about how Noir Café Press partners with you to get your book into the marketplace at the highest quality. There’s a lot of information here because we want you to be informed about both hybrid publishing and Noir Café Press in particular.
First of all, let's take a look at what a reputable hybrid publisher looks like.
(From the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) website)
Hybrid publishing companies behave just like traditional publishing companies in all respects, except that they publish books using an author-subsidized business model, as opposed to financing all costs themselves, and in exchange return a higher-than-industry-standard share of sales proceeds to the author. In other words, a hybrid publisher makes income from a combination of publishing services and book sales.
Although hybrid publishing companies are author-subsidized, they are different from other author-subsidized (or vanity press) models in that hybrid publishers adhere to the following set of professional publishing criteria. See additional considerations below for more information about how hybrid publishers differ from other author-subsidized models.
A hybrid publisher must:
- Define a mission and vision for its publishing program. A hybrid publisher has a publishing mission and a vision. In a traditional publishing company, the published work often reflects the interests and values of its publisher, whether that’s a passion for poetry or a specialization in business books. Good hybrid publishers are no different.
- Vet submissions. A hybrid publisher vets submissions, publishing only those titles that meet the mission and vision of the company, as well as a defined quality level set by the publisher. Good hybrid publishers don’t publish everything that comes over the transom and often decline to publish.
- Publish under its own imprint(s) and ISBNs. A hybrid publisher is a true publishing house, with either a publisher or a publishing team developing and distributing books using the hybrid publisher’s own imprint(s) and ISBNs.
- Publish to industry standards. A hybrid publisher accepts full responsibility for the quality of the titles it publishes. Books released by a hybrid publisher should be on par with traditionally published books in terms of adherence to industry standards, which are detailed in IBPA’s “Industry Standards Checklist for a Professionally Published Book.”
- Ensure editorial, design, and production quality. A hybrid publisher is responsible for producing books edited, designed, and produced to a professional degree. This includes assigning editors for developmental editing, copyediting, and proofreading, as needed, together with following traditional standards for a professionally designed book. All editors and designers must be publisher approved. Independent Book Publishers Association’s (IBPA’s) Hybrid Publisher Criteria Page 2 of 3
- Pursue and manage a range of publishing rights. A hybrid publisher normally publishes in both print and digital formats, as appropriate, and perhaps pursues other rights, in order to reach the widest possible readership. As with a traditional publisher, authors may negotiate to keep their subsidiary rights, such as foreignlanguage, audio, and other derivative rights.
- Provide distribution services. A hybrid publisher has a strategic approach to distribution beyond simply making books available for purchase via online retailers. Depending on the hybrid publisher, this may mean traditional distribution, wherein a team of sales reps actively markets and sells books to retailers, or it may mean publisher outreach to a network of specialty retailers, clubs, or other niche-interest organizations. At minimum, a hybrid publisher develops, with the author, a marketing and sales strategy for each book it publishes, inclusive of appropriate sales channels for that book, and provides ongoing assistance to the author seeking to execute this strategy in order to get his or her book in front of its target audience. This is in addition to listing books with industry-recognized wholesalers.
- Demonstrate respectable sales. A hybrid publisher should have a record of producing several books that sell in respectable quantities for the book’s niche. This varies from niche to niche; small niches, such as poetry and literary fiction, require sales of only a couple thousand copies, while mass-market books require more.
- Pay authors a higher-than-standard royalty. A hybrid publisher pays its authors more than the industry-standard* royalty range** on print and digital books, in exchange for the author’s personal investment. Although royalties are generally negotiable, the author’s share must be laid out transparently and must be commensurate with the author’s investment. In most cases, the author’s royalty should be greater than 50% of net on both print and digital books.
- The criteria above point to functions that a reputable hybrid publisher is expected to perform. It’s up to each hybrid publisher to figure out, and explain, how it performs each function.
- Regardless of who pays for editorial, design, and production fees, it is always the publisher that bears responsibility for producing, distributing, and ultimately selling professional-quality books.
- An author-subsidized business model in no way relieves a publisher of its editorial, design, marketing, sales, and distribution responsibilities.
- In comparing hybrid publishers with vanity presses, it’s important to note that vanity presses are not selective in what they publish, nor are they set up to be. Therefore, it is better to think of vanity presses as self-publishing service providers, not publishers. In a self-publishing service provider/author relationship, it is the author who plays the publisher role.
- An author may be asked to subsidize or pay the full cost of his or her print runs. Authors who do so should own the physical copies outright, having paid the Independent Book Publishers Association’s (IBPA’s) Hybrid Publisher Criteria Page 3 of 3 manufacturing fees, and should not be required to pay a “percent-off list price” amount arbitrated by the publisher when they need to order copies.
- “Standard” royalties in traditional publishing were once calculated based on the list price or suggested retail price of the work. Nowadays, and especially among small presses and independent publishers, it is more common to calculate royalties based on net revenues.
Some contracts offer an escalated royalty based on the number of copies sold, e.g., 8% of net receipts on the first 5,000 copies, 10% on the next 5,000 copies, and 12% on all copies in excess of 10,000. The actual royalty percentages and break points vary from publisher to publisher and are often subject to negotiation with the author.
Trade publishing contracts, and especially the contracts larger publishers use, often set different royalty rates for various other formats, territories, terms of sale, and channels of distribution.
Standard royalty rates vary among traditional publishers. Although some publishers are outliers, standard royalty rates generally range from 5% at the lower end to 15% at the higher end. Some traditional publishers offer the same royalty rate for both printed books and e-books; most now offer up to 25% of net revenues for the sale of e-books. Many independent publishers adopt a flat royalty of 10% of net receipts for all formats. However, there is no longer a “standard” royalty rate among publishers.
So, how does Noir Café Press work?
- We are committed to the 9 points above, as outlined in the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) guidelines for hybrid publishers – we stand by everything you see above. Not only that, we also adhere to the IBPA’s Industry Standards Checklist for a Professionally Published Book, so you can be sure that the finished product will be of the highest quality.
- Unlike many other fine hybrid publishers and vanity press companies, we don’t charge you an up-front, flat fee and then provide you with a package. We work with you to see exactly what you need – what help you want us to provide. We give you a menu of services and you select what you need. However, we will always require two things – a professionally designed cover, and professional editing. If you are serious about producing a high-quality product, you must pay for these two services.
- We are proud to call IngramSpark our publishing partner. IngramSpark is is a division of Ingram, one of the largest distributors in the world. Through IngramSpark we are able to distribute your book to over 39,000 outlets including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple. Kobo, and a whole lot more. Oh, we can also distribute to libraries!
- We are, at the heart of it all, an Author Management Company. What do we mean by that? Well, we are here to help you navigate all of the decisions you must take as an independent author. We recommend all of the tools you need to successfully, write, publish and promote your work. We guide you through every step, every decision. We want you to concentrate on the creative side of writing and not have to worry about formatting your work for paperback, signing up for this distributor, or that outlet. Leave that legwork to us. You will, of course be involved in making the ultimate decisions, but we are here to make it easy – why reinvent the wheel?
What does our ideal author look like?
We prefer authors who are planning a series of at least 3 books. Why? Momentum. It’s easier to sell multiple books from an author than a single offering. If you read everything your favorite author publishes, you can relate. We will, of course, bring on authors who only plan to write one book. In fact, as an Author Management Company, this is where we shine.
Authors who have published, or self-published but want to rework their books and relaunch them having completed a professional makeover, including, yes, you guessed it, a professional cover deign and professional editing.
If you’re a non-fiction author, we need to be inspired or educated by the topic.
In all cases, you must be willing to engage with your potential readers and sales outlets. Have you published before and your sales were not so great? Don’t worry, we’ll be there with you, but you must know that it’s your responsibility to do the lion’s share of marketing your book – that’s no different than all those big-time, traditionally published authors.
Also, you must be willing to commit to producing the best product you can. Again, we’re going to help and coach you. Let’s face it, you will be paying for services and some of them are not exactly “couch change.”
What formats can we produce together?
- Large print
What do you control?
We will be working together to produce the best product. Your book, however, is your baby. A lot of hard work and late nights have gone into your manuscript. We want to share with you how best to turn that labor of love into a professional book/ebook/etc. and into the hands of readers. Note the phrase, working together. This is collaborative. We want you to know that you don’t have to do this alone. If you’re coming to us you obviously want our input. We want you to know – we want your input.
What are my Rights and what kind of royalties should I expect?
We will never ask you to sign away your ownership of your work. We contract to acquire the rights to publish the work (in whatever format and geographic region of the world, in whatever language, through whatever distribution channels we agree) for a set period of time. You retain ownership of the work, we have the rights to publish it.
As for royalties, we will pay 70% of net on physical products (paperbacks, hardbacks, etc.) and 80% of the net generated by electronic formats.
What does this mean?
Let’s say you sell an ebook on Amazon: Its selling price is $2.99. Amazon pays 70%, so the net is $2.09. You will receive 80% or $1.67.
For a paperback that is sold to a bookstore: A 204-page book, retailing for $16.99 will cost $4.98 to print. The distributor sells that to the bookstore for 55% of the cover price, leaving $7.65. Take away the cost of printing the book ($4.98) and we’re left with $2.67. You receive 70% or $1.87. This is right at the industry standard of 11% net on the retail price of the book.
For paperback books sold through non-Amazon online stores, your royalty could be as much as $4.84 for the example above (because of different wholesale discount pricing).
Yup, you read that right! these are the kind of things we can bring to you as part of your team.
How does Noir Café Press make its money?
We make a little bit of money on the services you contract with us – be that cover design, editing, proof-reading, etc., as well as our 20%-30% of the net on sales.
What does Noir Café Press do with it revenue?
We use it to develop our company, but 10% is given to a deworming program run by the non-profit FOCUS on Uganda.
Are you ready?
What are you waiting for? If you think you are the kind of author, with the kind of story, we want as part of our family, contact us. Our submission guidelines are:
- Send your query letter, along with the first three chapters of your manuscript, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Be sure to include your full contact information (both email and phone).
- We will contact you within two weeks if we are interested in reading further.
Our current submission period is currently OPEN UNTIL JUNE 30, 2019.