We do things differently to other publishers, but in a good way. Our slogan – ‘Building futures, bridging divides’ – is about opening up new opportunities to writers, building their futures as authors and creative individuals, as well as bridging divides in the publishing world.
Whereas many publishers are too afraid or insular to take risks on new authors, we exist to give them a chance. People from disadvantaged backgrounds, who might otherwise struggle to get published because of their lack of contacts or poor self-esteem, are most welcome. Books that have an environmental or social theme – which help readers to positively change their behaviour – are also encouraged.
Since 2019 our sole publishing focus has been around supporting authors in line with the charitable purposes of the Arkbound Foundation. We also take on new authors who present a compelling case for publication of high quality work (‘traditional’ publishing).
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Consultation and Assessment
There are many steps in publishing but the first and arguably most critical one is assessing a manuscript and consulting with an author. Arkbound believes that each author is unique, with different needs and goals, so we aim to develop a personal relationship with the authors that we take on.
A manuscript sent to us is carefully assessed to see if we are able to publish it (you can send manuscripts at http://arkbound.com/submissions/). Sometimes there are reasons where we are not able to do this, in which case we may be able to offer an author a Partnership Publishing agreement (see below) or refer them to another publisher.
Proofreading and Editing
Short of the story itself, a good book must be properly written. This means the grammar, punctuation and structure must be excellent. However, in practice even the best writers can overlook simple errors that a fresh pair of eyes would spot straight away. All successful authors have one thing in common: they utilise the services of a good copy-editor and proof-reader. And that is why each and every book published by Arkbound is carefully proofread and edited, without exception.
Cover Design and Illustration
Books are judged by their covers – at least by most people, initially. An outstanding book cover can make all the difference between one that is just average. Arkbound works with talented young designers to produce book covers that say in readers’ minds: we do not just ‘slot in’ stock images and spend a few hours on Photoshop, but dedicate whole days to producing a professional cover. We can also work with authors on this most important of tasks. The same applies for books that have interior illustrations.
Design and Formatting
All books we publish are available in print and in digital format, so each file must be carefully designed and formatted according to the platform where it will be available. Depending on the size of the book and number of illustrations, this can take from one day to a week.
Reviews and Promotion
Writing a good book is one thing, selling it is another. The book market is becoming increasingly saturated and competitive, with far too many authors overlooking the need for extensive promotion.
Arkbound uses innovative and extensive promotional techniques to get each book effectively promoted. Our links to media has seen Arkbound books featured on leading book review pages, even in full-page spreads within national publications. Through Arkbound’s links, our authors have secured radio interviews, slots at book speaking events, festival appearances and magazine interviews. We utilise an extensive press contact list with hi-tech publicity techniques that set us miles apart from other small publishers.
Reviews form an important part of this. How can someone expect to know if a book is worth buying if they haven’t seen the opinions of other readers? Arkbound getsquality reviews for each book published, on a variety of platforms.
We can work with every author to build a dedicated website for their book. Each website is carefully designed and author’s can update it themselves quickly and easily. After being constructed, we can also perform a comprehensive SEO exercise to get the website high on search engine rankings for the appropriate keywords.
Printing and Distribution
Arkbound usually uses Print on Demand for initial print batches, so that we can measure the demand for each book., but we can also utilise bulk print runs in appropriate cases. We use printing methods that are affordable, high quality and environmentally friendly.
Books are made available to an expansive base of retailers through our distributors. Through these networks we can get a book into national retailers, as well as small independent book shops. What is more, the world is a big place… so why not let your book go travelling? With Arkbound as your publisher, your book is enjoyed by people across the world. Our books have virtual passports to cross borders as far afield as America, India and Australia.
Rewards and Awards
We pay our authors a fair royalty that amounts to 66% of each book sale, after the cost of printing, distribution and retailer discounts is taken into account. This means, for a £7.99 book, you will be receiving on average around 0.90p. Many other publishers take a higher royalty, sometimes leaving authors with just a few pence per book sold.
On top of that, we don’t stop just because a book is published and being sold. We also look at whether a book can be submitted for an award – of which there are many. It may also qualify for being entered into the Zooker Award (see http://arkbound.com//zooker-award/).
Development and Translation
We see the publishing process as a journey that can continue indefinitely. Each book published can have subsequent editions or sequels and we work with authors to develop these. Moreover, we seek out translation opportunities so that books can be read by people who don’t speak English. In all cases we work with authors so that they have a good deal and enable them to access new opportunities.
Best ‘Sustainability’ and ‘Social Enterprise’ FFR categories
If your book is of high quality and if you can identify a strong reason why people would buy it, with routes you can help it reach the market, then you are well on your way to getting a Publishing Agreement.
However, we receive lots of submissions so even if your book passes these criteria it may be that we are unable to consider publishing it.
We have a particular emphasis on books with an important environmental or social message, which have been written by somebody from a disadvantaged backgrounds. For these types of books, the Sponsored Publishing route is an option (see adjacent).
There may be some cases where an author may be eligible for sponsorship. This means that the costs of publishing their book are covered by a third party, such as a charitable trust or foundation. There are also cases where books can be published after successful crowdfunding campaigns (see adjacent).
If we think your book can be sponsored then we will let you know and aim to help you in the fundraising process. In certain cases, your book may be eligible for sponsorship from the Arkbound Foundation (please visit http://www.arkfound.org/ for more details). Authors sponsored by the Foundation come from disadvantaged backgrounds and have written books with a strong environmental or social theme.
From 2021 we are encouraging ALL new prospective authors to raise support for their book through the power of ‘the crowd’ – a model known as crowdpublishing. This is increasingly being recognised as the best way to achieve the balance between supporting new authors and mitigating the financial risks for a publisher. It also provides a way to spur promotion of a book, since backers will represent future readers with an active interest in seeing the book do well.
We offer two tiers of crowdfunding support for eligible authors – one for those who can be more independent and the other for those from positions of significant disadvantage who need us to co-manage a campaign. It is also an area we are developing, so keep an eye out on future updates here and on our social media.