Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you review submissions?

When Pedernales produces a book, the author joins a select community of our clients who publish quality, industry standard, and market-viable books.  Before offering a contract, we review your manuscript to diagnose the level of edit necessary, if at all.  Most authors come to us already professionally edited. Pedernales will only request that an author go through additional editing if the work does not meet industry standards. We cannot, in good faith or in a highly competitive market, accept money for a project we know is not yet viable. We provide guidance and advice, but we are not editors, and do not offer that service, primarily because we want to keep our business model simple and straightforward for authors with clean, well-written works. We might reject the work, but we do not reject the author. When a talented writer cannot afford a professional editor, we suggest other low-cost options independent of Pedernales. One day, that serious raw talent will produce a polished professional work, and we want to be the ones to publish it.

If I fill out a contact page, what happens next? What is your process?

Once we receive either your contact inquiry or your phone call, we typically will want to know a few details about your book, such as the type of book (novel, poetry, children’s, business, memoir, etc.), the length in number of words, whether it contains illustrations or photos, a brief description of what the book is about, and then a sample submission.

If the submission is accepted, we then offer you a confidentiality agreement and ask for the entire manuscript.  We also discuss your goals for the book, how you envision it being distributed, and tell you the pros and cons of the different distribution options you have.  At some point we will describe to you the various trim sizes available for your book type, and discuss your interior design and cover preferences, if any.

Based on your manuscript’s word count and your trim size selection, we will produce a financial model so you can get a feeling for the profit you might make at various retail prices for your book.  This will eventually lead you to understand the effect the page count for your book, the retail price, and the trade discount you establish will have on your profit.  We will guide you though all those decisions, and explain things every step of the way. Remember, you are the publisher, our price is fixed, so we won’t lead you astray in order to rake in more money from you.

Then, we create several mockups for you of your book’s interior using different fonts and layouts, so you can assess their readability as well as their impact on the page count.

Once you get to this point, you will have a very good feel for what your book will look like and how much profit you will make on each sale.  At this point, we can sign a contract and begin the process of designing your cover and formatting the production version of your book.  As you can see, we do not pressure you to sign the contract up front or try to lock you in.  We get you to a place where you feel comfortable making the decision to go ahead.

How are you different from the other self-publishing companies?

We are very different.  The core of our service model is that we do NOT publish you. Instead, we set you up as a self-publisher. That means you own and control everything, and we guide you every single step of the way in a proven, structured process. We will create and deliver your book in three forms: hardcover, softcover, and various ebooks, all for a single flat fixed price.

For that flat fee, we do the following:

  • Setup an account for you at Bowker (or equivalent outside the U.S.) and then purchase your ISBNs in your name and charged directly to you…so that YOU own them.
  • Setup an account for you, and submit an application for a Library of Congress number. This is different from a copyright application.
  • Setup accounts for you with POD vendors: Create Space, Lightning Source, Ingram Spark as needed.
  • Design your book cover.
  • Design your book interior.
  • Produce your book, to your satisfaction.
  • Setup titles for your book with the POD vendors. Create Space charges no fees for this. Lightning Source and Ingram Spark charge fees.
  • Create PDFs of your books in the required technical specifications, and upload them to the POD vendors.
  • Once the book passes the POD vendor technical review, we order proof copies to be shipped to you. Proof Arrival Day is one of the happiest days in an author’s life, and we love to hear your stories about it. One woman carried her “beautiful” book from room to room, crying. Another author–a big, burly, man said he “screamed like a girl.”
  • Once you approve the proof, we release the print version of your book for distribution and begin working on the ebook.
  • We setup accounts for you with Kindle Direct Publishing and Smashwords, Draft2Digital, or equivalent ebook aggregator.
  • We setup the ebook titles. There are no fees for ebook title setups.
  • We produce your ebooks (different versions for kindle vs other vendors) and then test them using industry standard tools.
  • We upload your ebooks for distribution.
  • We submit your copyright to the US copyright office.
  • We go back and update your Bowker account with the final published specs for your book.

We are also different in that we provide a unique focus on customer service. We only work with a few select clients at a time and then service them intensely. We do not have office hours.  If we are awake, we are available.

In addition:

  • You own the ISBN’s and all rights to your book.  We own nothing.
  • We do not take any portion of your sales or royalties, and all sales reports and royalty payments go directly to you. We never see them.
  • You receive the completed files at the project’s end, and they are usable.
  • You can cancel the project and get your money back at any time prior to publication, no questions asked, and that is written right into the contract.
  • There are no hidden costs or a la carte fees, although the expedite service does have a surcharge. We tell you upfront what your third party fees will be (such as for isbns, title setups, etc), if any. There is a way you can publish your book and ebook for no third party costs at all.
  • We work with authors to ensure well-edited manuscripts.
  • We are a small independent company. We do not own sister companies that provide similar or additional services. We have never operated under another name. According to the Better Business Bureau, several of the big, well known self-publishing firms are sister companies, owned by the same parent company.

That is our business model.  Honest, straightforward, and affordable.

How can you possibly do all that for such a low fee?

We are often asked this question. Some authors shy away because they think this is too good to be true. Read some of our testimonials, some of them say the same thing…they were skeptical. The truth is, you are probably paying too much if you go elsewhere. The key to doing this successfully is to format the book properly so that a single formatting process produces a paperback, a hardcover, and an ebook. We format the paperback appropriately, and then that same file, with some additional adjustments, can be used to generate the hardcover and the ebooks.  The adjustments usually include:

  • Changing the bleed areas surrounding the cover, because hardcover books require more bleed (the areas that get trimmed away) and also require flaps for the dust jacket.
  • Insert the front cover image into the ebook file.
  • Edit the ebook metadata, and possibly the html code to correct errors often produced by the conversion program. We use a combination state of the art tools, such as Indesign CC,  Oxygen XML Author, Kindlegen/Previewer to do that.
  • Generate multiple versions of the ebook, such as mobi format for Kindle, and epub versions enhanced for Nook, iBooks, Kobo, etc.

As you can see, the really hard work is generating the paperback cover and interior file. After that, there is work to do but it isn’t the same level of effort as the first part. That is how we can deliver all those services for a single fixed price. There is no need to double or triple charge you. We make sufficient profits to have a good business without overcharging our clients. Many of our clients have told us that in truth, we deliver a lot more than our web page promises, and that is entirely our intent. We do not advertise. Clients find us via referrals from very satisfied customers. That suits us fine, because we believe in working with a select group of clients at a time and then providing them with intense customer service.

What are the payment terms?

You pay us in progress payments. 50% upon contract execution, 30% upon first proof, and 20% when we are done with the project. But remember, if you decide you are dissatisfied with our work, you can cancel the project at any time prior to publication and we will refund any money you have paid to us. We are proud to say we have never had this happen.

If you think about it, a company that makes that kind of guarantee is going to work very hard to make you happy. And that is why intense, concierge level and personal customer service so critical for us. That service, and a relentless focus on quality and value are the keys to how we operate.

So, is it really $995 or are there other costs?

$995 is what you will pay to Pedernales. Depending on how you want your book distributed, there could be other costs that are directly billed to you by third parties. We manage that entire process for you with our concierge service, so you do not have to do anything.

If you are happy to have your book listed on Amazon and on Kindle, and do not care about distributing it elsewhere, then your costs will only be for the proof copies that we order for you,–about $15 to $30 depending on how quickly you want them shipped.

If you want full distribution, then we will purchase a block of 10 ISBNs from Bowker in your name. Currently, that costs $295 in the U.S. In other countries, the costs are different, and they are free in some countries. They must be registered to you, as you will be the publisher of record. The $295 will be charged to your credit card. This is the largest of the 3rd party costs you will encounter. All-in-all, you will have about $350 to $400 in third party costs, consisting of the ISBNs, $49 title setup fees for Ingram, optional $55 copyright fee, and then whatever the cost of printing and shipping your proofs will be (typically $15-30).

Be very wary when someone tells you that they will “give” you a free ISBN. The ISBN has to be recorded in your name, so that you are the publisher of record. If they bought a few thousand ISBNs and assign them to their clients’ books, they are the publisher, not you. Having said that, some companies, such as Amazon, have worked out a deal so that they can sell you a $10 individual ISBN and it can be registered to you, so that is an option for you. It lets you be listed as the publisher. BUT, you cannot use that custom ISBN anywhere else. It is only usable on Createspace for Amazon. It is best, if you wish to distribute your book widely, to bite the bullet and buy the 10 ISBNs. That allows you to have one for your paperback, your hardcover, and your ebook, and leave seven in reserve for your next book, or for the audiobook edition.

Pedernales has been exceptional. It was very important that my new book appear professional in every way and Pedernales Publishing has done it”

Laureen Vonnegut – Award-winning film maker, author of Twin Lies, and Oasis. And yes, she is niece of that Vonnegut.

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