This is a repost of something I wrote seven months ago now. It seems even more relevant today than when I first wrote it. Since signing up with Unbound I've had the great pleasure of getting to know several of their authors, who are all talented and lovely people. I've been privileged enough to read several of their books, some prior to publication, and I have been impressed and humbled by the skill with which these books were written. If you haven't checked out Unbound yet, do yourself a favour and click the link. There is such a variety of voices and genres that I'm sure you'll find something you love - and you get to change the face of publishing at the same time. Today I would like to talk to you about my publisher, Unbound.
Unbound are a relatively young publishing company, having been founded in 2010, by Dan Kieran, John Mitchinson and Justin Pollard. These three men saw that that publishing industry was becoming narrower and narrower in the books that it would consider publishing.
From the website: “We think people who love books – primarily readers and writers – deserve a say in what does or doesn’t get published. You may not be aware of it, but even best selling authors are beginning to have very restrictive parameters imposed on the kinds of books they get to write. Put simply, there are lots of potentially great books we’re not getting the opportunity to read.”
They decided to do something about it. Unbound is the world’s first crowd-funding publisher.
The idea is simple. Authors pitch an idea, readers pledge to buy it, when the book reaches its funding target, it is published. Authors are paid royalties of 50% of net receipts. For a good look at the industry standard for royalties, read Authors and the Truth About Money by successful author, Ros Barber.
I can’t say whether Ashael Rising would have been considered by traditional publishers or not since Unbound is the first publisher I pitched to. What I can say is that there are a few things going against me, on top of the fact that I’m a new author. I’m writing in epic fantasy, a genre that for some reason people tend to associate with men, despite the many female writers doing great work in the field. My protagonist is female and she is neither a warrior in a skirt nor a damsel in distress (another post to follow about female protagonists in fantasy). The lead group of characters are not white. The book features a same sex couple. A key secondary character is elderly and vibrant. Now, all of these things are divergent from what is common in the genre. A big publisher may have picked it up because of that, but it’s just as likely they would have considered it too risky.
Unbound are more interested in supporting good books than they are in massive profit margins. Because of the crowd-funding model, they can afford to take risks on books that may not sell hundred of thousands of copies, instead looking for voices that they feel need to be heard.
From their website: “Under the traditional model an author is lucky to earn 10% of the cover price, whereas retailers are regularly expecting discounts of over 60%, plus a contribution to the costs of display and marketing. This is why books with print runs of fewer than 5,000 copies make less and less economic sense – even though it is precisely these books that contain the most innovative and challenging ideas.”
Unbound publish books that they believe in. Unbound believe in Ashael Rising. I believe that Unbound is the right home for my book. With Unbound, we have the opportunity to change the face of publishing. I would love it if you joined me.
Click here for more information about Unbound and Ashael Rising.