Publisher’s Letter to Authors
Why We Exist
At Pegasus Books, we are traditional publishers at the avant-garde of the industry, and we believe ours is the publishing model of the future. We are very selective about the authors we choose to publish, because for us, publishing extends far beyond publication.
We would rather work with fewer authors and produce fewer books in favor of better quality products and better publisher-author relationships and outcomes. Unlike 95% of most publishers on the market, we believe that a positive, well-established publisher-author relationship is the key to building a better company and helping writers establish themselves as successful authors.
In some instances, we will work with writers whose work has been rejected by large publishers, because we realize the reasons for rejection sometimes have nothing to do with the work itself. Because larger publishers have higher overhead costs, they have to spend more money than we do to bring a book to market and thus reject many good books, leaving us a niche of well-written books by non-established authors.
Before many larger publishers will accept a title, they will want to know: 1) that the author has an established following, an author platform, as solid proof that there is a market for the title being proposed (if you don’t know what an author platform is, then you probably do not have one); 2) they will also want to see sales data from the author’s previous published titles; and finally 3) they will want to know, via the author’s pitch for the book (the author query), about the author’s ideas for marketing the book and to what extent the author plans to be involved. If any one of the points mentioned above is not answered satisfactorily, a rejection slip will follow, regardless of the merits of the submission.
At Pegasus Books, we are willing to work with writers who are missing one or two of the criteria items listed above by striving, pre and post-publishing, to help meet basic publisher concerns and needs. Because we want to work closely with our authors, we have to choose projects and individuals carefully. Our publishing model is not for everyone. For those who want to simply publish a book for posterity or for a sense of accomplishment, we recommend CreateSpace or a vanity press publisher.
Our business is selling books and helping writers become successful authors, so we only want to work individuals who are equally-motivated to pursue success. We have to be highly selective, because we invest precious time and effort in each title and author. Our first and most important criteria, once we have established a book is viable for market, is the author himself or herself. Thus we need to have an honest, positive, goodwill-based, mutually-respectful publisher-author relationship in order to move forward on any project.
We believe our publishing model reflects the success of publishing for the future, as the industry becomes fully dependent on digital technology and common sense solutions for challenges that have plagued the industry in the past. We will always seek to utilize the most recent advances in creative and unique ways, so that we are trend-setters, rather than run-of-the-mill publishers. We believe we are the future of the industry.
A Few Important Things to Know Up-Front:
Your Publisher Does Not Edit Your Book for You
If your book has not been edited, then you should not even submit it for publishing [see Things to Consider Before Submitting]. Sloppy editing and lack of editing are apparent in the first few pages of most work. Submitting unedited work is the worst thing an author can do, as it says a few things about the author, and none of them are good: 1) “That the work, in its present form, represents the best the author can do;” 2) “That the author is not conscientious enough to check over/revise/edit work and is okay with a mediocre effort;” or 3) “That the author expects a professional editor to work for free or for a publisher to pay for something that is the responsibility of authors prior to submission.”
If you unknowingly submit work that requires substantial editing, our acquisitions editor will typically reject the work. However, if the work shows promise and editing is the only concern, the editor might issue an “Editorial Rejection,” meaning that the work would be acceptable for publishing after it has been edited. In such a case, it is the author’s responsibility to get the book edited for re-submission. If, after a re-submission, the manuscript still requires significant editing, we will issue a standard rejection.
We make the provision of an “Editorial Rejection” to benefit those who are inexperienced at submitting work and for authors who are under false impressions about their own responsibility concerning editing, and we see it as a second chance to get it right. We believe it best serves the authors in our niche.
The Days of “Publisher-Does-Everything and Author-Does-Nothing” to Collect a Check are Long Gone—If Such a Relationship Ever Was a Reality
In today’s highly-competitive market, selling and marketing books requires a collaborative effort in terms of ideas, efforts and sometimes resources. Many authors begin with the misconception that the publisher pays for everything, and while we pay for all the publishing expenses related to our titles and the vast majority of expenses for marketing, we do not pay for everything.
Publishing is a business, and business cannot afford to operate at a loss. So for an author whose book, based on what can be substantiated, cannot expect to sell any more than 100 copies, it is unreasonable to expect a publisher to pay thousands of dollars of airfare, hotels, and promotional campaigns just to stroke an author’s ego. Only by working together from the grass-roots level (which requires work and commitment from both sides) can we begin to build an author following that will yield fulfillment of the dream that most authors equate with success.
Social Media Does Not Sell Books
Contrary to what many authors believe, there is no provision for readers to buy books on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other social media site. In book selling, the purpose of social media is to drive traffic to an author’s platform, where sales can be made and information about website visitors can be captured. Social media is an effective tool for helping authors develop a following, but first, the author platform must exist. Otherwise, social media efforts will drive readers to someone else’s platform (most likely to Amazon’s, where they already have plenty). It is very important for authors to consider that, once you begin driving traffic to your platform, what your new visitors will see. Your platform requires all the creativity, thought and time you can expend in order to attract visitors and keep them coming back. Hands down, the author platform is the most effective tool an author can have.
So it does not matter that you have 2,000 Facebook friends and 5,000 Twitter followers if you cannot get them to a place where they can be converted to regular visitors on your platform. Thus it does not make sense to invest in any marketing for your book until you have a solid platform that explains who you are and what you believe, sells you and your work, welcomes visitors and encourages a following. It is the first marketing concern for us at Pegasus Books. If you do not have an author’s platform when we decide to publish your book, then we will not publish and/or release your book until one exists. Our marketing department will help you create one, but doing so requires work and cooperation on your part.
Perhaps Your First (or Second) Book Might Not Be a Best-Seller
It is natural to feel excited at the news that your book has been accepted by a publisher, so revel in the moment, but realize that the real work is only beginning. If you are not already an established author, it will take time an effort to introduce yourself, determine your niche and garner enough book sales through distribution channels to earn best-seller status (generally 50,000 books—that a lot of books!). That being said, it can and has been done, but it takes creativity, determination, insight and a little engineered luck on the part of the publisher-author relationship. The key to success involves trust, goodwill and a synergistic effort by both parties.
So even if you haven’t bought that private jet, sold a movie or quit your job six months after your book has been released, take heart—Pegasus Books is in it for the long game, and we hope we have found a partner who shares our enthusiasm for future success stories. And remember the experience of E.L. James, author of Fifty Shades of Grey: After her first book was rejected by all the major publishers and all the medium-sized press, undaunted, she wrote two other books. All the while, she worked to build a following by sharing her work in eBook form. When her following reached critical mass, she not only had her first best-seller, but she had three best-sellers in one year. In fact, her books ranked #1, #2 and #3 on the best-sellers list for the year of 2012! It took years and perseverance, but she continually worked toward her ultimate goal. Be in it for the long game!
A Final Note
Because there is so much conflicting information and misinformation on the Internet, we believe it is important for us to take a few minutes to explain who we really are and provide reasons for the things that we do. For the record, we are traditional publishers who are on the cutting-edge of the market. When we do things differently than others, it is because we know where the industry is going and we are getting there six months to a year before others do. We never want to imitate those who represent the past history of traditional publishing, because we represent the future. Please take the time to explore this site and all we do!
Thank you for taking the time to consider this message.