I’m going to tell you about an awesome club. And you can’t join. But that’s okay: You can start your own.
The club is a small publisher called Exciting Press. They call themselves a “nano press,” even smaller than a micro press. I highly recommend reading their FAQs. Maybe I’m a geek, but reading this gave me goosebumps. Especially the part where they say you don’t need a publisher these days. That honest admission says so much.
Exciting Press pays 70% net on e-book sales. And they only license your work for seven years. SEVEN YEARS! After that, they stop selling your work and give you your rights back. Unless you want to renew or renegotiate. It’s up to you. You own the rights.
Before you rush off with your manuscript, Exciting Press is closed to submissions right now. It’s the model I’m excited about.
Now, for those of you who self-publish, you might wonder what the point is. Why not get 70% of gross on your own? The way I see it is this: Nano presses are a way for the reluctant and wary to learn how self-publishing works. And with these royalty rates and limited terms of license, there practically no risk. A nano press becomes an agenting/editing service but with a 30% fee instead of a 15% fee. My agent has taken over many publishing duties for her clients. And I’ve met companies at publishing conferences that are setting up boutique publishing houses that blend these ideas.
A nano press can be run out of a living room or a basement. There is almost no overhead. All the advantages self-publishers have apply here as well: Books are permanently available; control over price; worldwide distribution; POD physical books; etc.
In fact, it occurs to me that my editor, David Gatewood, is involved in a nano press. He recently contacted me about a short story that I quietly published. I’m not sure how he found it, but he wanted to include it in an anthology. He helps curate and edit the work and presumably gets a cut of royalties. This isn’t his first anthology. If he gets enough of these going, he can enjoy the lasting trickles of royalties that authors see (and that editors deserve). Even better: David and company don’t take ownership of these stories. You still own the rights.
The potential here is dizzying. And then I realize that I have a nano press as well. The three anthologies I’m editing with John Joseph Adams work similarly. Is this the future of publishing? It used to be that successful authors, editors, or celebrities might get an imprint in a major New York house. Why won’t they simply start their own? Using KDP, they can get 70% of gross. They can then offer 50% or 70% of net. The low overhead allows them to offer what major publishers seem unable to when it comes to payment and ownership.
When someone pulls this off with advances thrown into the mix, that’ll be something. Most of the advantages of traditional publishing combined with most of the advances of self-publishing. Exciting times, yes?