Book Guild Publishing is an UK Independent publisher based in Brighton. They have been in the publishing business for twenty-five years and their managers and senior staff are all highly experienced in the industry.
“At Book Guild Publishing we give as much attention to the books published under our Partnership Publishing programme as we do to our conventionally published titles, and this is what makes us unique in the UK book publishing arena.”
Book Guild Publishing is a traditional publisher offering conventional publishing as well as Partnership and Self-Publishing services. Part of Book Guild Publishing's strength is that as a traditional publisher they have their own dedicated distributor in Vine House Distribution allowing them a global network to get their catalogue to high street stores. Their website also has an on line bookstore to support their catalogue with plenty of book links on their main webpages.
What is particularly impressive about Book Guild Publishing is the fact that they have not stood still as a publisher over their twenty-five year tenure in the industry. They began as a traditional publishing house but have developed a modern perspective on a changing industry and married it to their core publishing methods. They tailor each book project around the author, new or established, and constructively involved them in the process of book production and marketing. They offer a Partnership Publishing program as part of this strategy as well as basic book production services.
“We offer an eclectic mix of quality books: novels and stories to enchant and engage both adults and children, vivid memoirs and biographies that give insight into remarkable lives, past and present, and timely books on current affairs. We publish under 100 books a year so that we can maintain our high standards and we pride ourselves on offering an effective and efficient service to a wide range of authors, both established and new.”
Book Guild Publishing’s conventional form of publishing is intended for books they evaluate and consider ‘will sell well in the mass market’. They will pay for all costs and may pay an advance to the author. The ‘may’ here is important to note, and some critics would argue that this qualifier means that a ‘no paid advance’ is not in fact traditional publishing at all. However, in recent years, more and more independent and small publishing presses are not guaranteeing an advance payment to an author. Despite the mainstream media headlines about million pound advances to authors, the reality is very different. Many authors are paid in very low four figures sums, and the advance to an author can often just be several hundred pounds—more a cursory and respectful gesture on behalf of a publisher for an authors efforts.
“We rely on sales to keep our company afloat and we do not print on demand or do very short print runs – in fact our print runs are entirely in line with those of conventional publishing companies – and this is why our experienced in-house Marketing and Publicity team, and our Sales and Distribution agents, are so very important.”
This is an interesting admission from Book Guild Publishing. The POD digital print method is the core of most author solution companies, but instead, as we have seen with several other publishers who use the ‘Partnership Publishing’ model—publishers still believe that offset printing and a reasonable print run of books for a new title is the best option to marketing and promotion and building retail sales.
Book Guild Publishing describe their Partnership program as ‘the middle way’ option for authors wish to have a considerable say in the production and publication of their book while at the same time having the support of a traditional publishing house. They do not disclose the percentage costs an author will have to contribute, and that itself may lead the author to paying much of them if the exact figure is not specified prior to the signing of contracts.
“Partnership Publishing offers a higher royalty rate: in general terms, the author will receive 30% of the retail price of every book sold, which is equivalent to 80% of the net receipts. Mainstream publishing offers between 7-10%.
You only pay for the origination costs for the first edition: any subsequent reprints are paid for in full by the Book Guild.”
This royalty share is often 50/50 on all profits after expenditure print costs with other publishers using the partnership model. Book Guild Publishing say their ‘Partnership’ option includes everything a full publishing package should include from any traditional publisher. That includes a rigorous editorial service, high-quality production, professional jacket design, publicity, marketing, a UK sales force, global marketing where appropriate, warehousing, distribution, accounting, representation at the London Book Fair, inclusion in their catalogue, website bookstore and on Amazon.co.uk, and two years representation after publication.
Book Guild Publishing also provide a ‘Production only’ service which includes full editorial, production and design of your book, through to finished copies for the author’s own distribution and use.
Book Guild Publishing has a strong and respected reputation in the UK publishing world. They represent a strong option for an author considering self-publishing. Those authors considering using Book Guild Publishing should first ascertain the kind of contract (exclusive or non-exclusive) on offer. With Partnership publishing, it is often an exclusive book rights contract. Likewise, authors should seek quotes on author costs and a full detailed proposal before signing a contract. Partnership publishing is a serious commitment and investment on any author's part, but Book Guild Publishing offer the best of many worlds.
On balance, for what Book Guild Publishing offer, they are really only for experienced author with a highly marketable book and sound and proven belief they can recoup any financial investment. Expect partnership deals to cost an author several thousand. This alone, in my opinion, will preclude most authors (and it rightly should), and for that reason, I must reflect that in the overall rating for this company.