Apex Publishing Limited is an independent international book publisher based in the UK. They were first established in 2002 and offer an ‘author subsidy service’ to established and new authors. Their list of published authors very much reflects this, and thought they published a wide variety of books; they have a notable interest and commitment to books in the sporting, biography, lifestyle and true crime genres. This in itself sets Apex Publishing apart from many other ‘anything published but the kitchen sink’ variety of author solution companies.
Mike Gray, published by Apex Publishing on Sky News in April 2009 discussing his book on Ronnie Biggs
I cannot emphasise enough in these reviews how important first impressions of a publisher are to a discerning author. The quality and professional appearance of the book product as well as the publisher’s website are critical. Writers, nor agents don’t go trouping around knocking on the door of publishing houses in the high street, so the publisher’s corporate image is the website—the shop window if you like. A writer, whether they are on line browsing Penguin, Random House or even the most dedicate independent small press operation, do not expect to reach a company’s page and see neon lights and arty flash media advertisements offering the latest, ‘we can’t be beaten’, ‘50% off our basic author package this month’, and ‘Prices slashed on our Gold Program’. They want to see books first and foremost. They want to believe that a company offering author services is still interested in books and the sale of those books to the general reading public. It is an expectation that does not need to reach the dizzy heights of rocket science to be easily understood. My biggest concern with Apex Publishing is that they do not make it clear enough to perspective authors that a fee may inevitable involved if they have a manuscripted accepted.
The Apex Publishing website is plentiful with links to author appearances, latest author news, events, interviews, reviews, and yes, books—available as well as those forthcoming. The Google blurb when you search and find their site immediately alerts you to the fact that we are dealing with an independent subsidy publisher, and on the website itself displays links which explains Apex Publishing’s process of submission and book publication from the point of view of the author. Apex Publishing made sure this was included in the meta-links when they designed the website. I take the opportunity to place great emphasis at the start of this publisher review only because Apex Publishing demonstrate how it should be done without compromising their own process of publishing using the author subsidy method, though, as I have said above, the message of fees is simply to watered down and has the potential to mislead authors inexperienced with publishing that no fees are charged.
“Let us help you to smooth the publishing pathway from manuscript to bookshop shelf and fulfil your dream of seeing your book in print.”
This is the first ‘slip’ by Apex Publishing. I am not a lover of the ‘dream about your book in print’ method of advertising by author solution companies.
“We hope you find all the information you require on our website, but if you have any other queries about becoming an Apex Publishing Ltd author, please do not hesitate to email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 01255 428500.”
They redeem themselves quickly by not indulging in the ‘don’t call us, just email and preferably on any day of the week with the letter ‘x’ in it.
“Who are we?Apex Publishing Limited, an independent international book publisher, was established in 2002 by a team of professionals with many years in the publishing industry behind them. We have grown from strength to strength and have quickly gained a firm footing in a competitive marketplace, now specialising in publishing and promoting the works of established, well-respected authors as a result of our excellent reputation, professionalism and dedicated customer service.Our overall aim is to create best-selling books, maximise sales and continually build on our success through the maintenance of high publishing standards.”
Nice punt, but it does vex me a little when companies talk of ‘professionals with many years in the publishing industry behind them’ without actually telling us who exactly, when and where. Names and professional credits would have greatly helped their case here.
“Please note that, in terms of works of fiction, certain areas of this market (e.g. poetry, short stories and children’s books) are already saturated with established names and thus can prove a harder market to penetrate as an unknown novelist. Debut authors should therefore set themselves realistic and achievable goals in this respect. That said, a truly talented and skillful new writer has every chance of succeeding in placing him/herself on the ladder as one of the crème de la crème of published authors, and we will do everything in our power to turn your work into a polished piece and actively promote it in every way we can.”
Sound, honest advice we are more used to hear from large traditional publishing houses, but the proof will be in the service Apex Publishing actually offer and the success they have had with previously published books. A look at their lists suggests there is some validity in their claim, but where the effort and expense comes from—we shall hopefully discover in this review.
“We also provide all administration, marketing, public relations, shop information, warehousing and rights selling, and have access to professional editors, cover designers, printers and, most importantly, distributors.
In addition, most of our publications are reviewed by the famous and well known and many include forewords written by them. An initial print-run of books typically stands at 500 copies. Future runs will incorporate any favourable review comments on the back cover to assist in increasing book sales.”
Apex Publishing’s YouTube Link.
Some of their books have been reviewed and included forwards by established writers, broadcasters, reviewers and journalists. This is not just impressive, but is, in effect, publishing as any form of traditional publishing goes. The sceptic in me is waiting for the clanger, the skeleton in the cupboard, the naked lady, the £10,000 subsidy price tag, thank you very much, ching, ching.
The submission process is pretty much a formal one. Email submissions are not accepted and manuscripts are mailed along with a submission form which can be found at the link provided.
Effectively, Apex Publishing do not accept all manuscripts, and make any ‘offer of publication’ based on their review of the manuscript. The offer can vary, and that means the costs the author will be expected to contribute.
“We offer all kinds of contracts, and these may vary according to the terms offered.”
The offer of publication will include editing, pre-production, print, promotion and marketing, as well as full distribution.
This covers:• copy-editing• review of proofs• typesetting• proofreading• cover design• back cover synopsis• printing and binding• cover lamination• bar-coding ready for retail sale• ISBN registration• forwarding complimentary copies to the authorMarketing, Sales & Distribution:This covers:• distribution of flyers/advance information sheets to agents and booksellers• contact with booksellers and overseas distributors and agents• distribution of copies to reviewers and as required by the Copyright act to:o The British Libraryo The Bodleian Library, Oxfordo The University Library, Cambridgeo The National Library of Scotland, Edinburgho The Library of Trinity College, Dublino The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth• distribution to local and national libraries• sending review copies to local/national newspapers• sending review copies to local/national radio/TV shows• providing information to press Internet sites• follow-up on local newspaper coverage• approaching local bookshops to stock and arrange a book signing• placing on worldwide Internet sites• providing information to ordering systems in most bookshops• providing author with book information cards, flyers and covers• submit books to television production companies• submit books to various book competitions/awards
I am seeing a potentially lighter wallet for the author after all this if an offer of publication is made and it is a subsidy contract, and I have to say, the sceptic in me is also saying vanity in a quiet voice. If an author is going to have to subsidise the publication of their book—I’d rather the publisher be open about how many noughts are coming out of my bank account if I am to believe all the above detail is going to be implemented by my subsidy publisher.
“12. What about my royalties?Authors receive royalties on all books that are sold, initially amounting to 20% of all money received from book sales.”
If an author is going to pay a four figure sum for the publication of their book, then there are two ways of looking at their expenditure. To a reputable subsidy publisher—the 20% seems low if the author’s financial input ranges much beyond £1000. A more appropriate model of publishing is partnership publishing discussed in reviews of Pen Press UK and Matador UK. The royalties with these companies are considerably higher than 20%, often as high as 50%. The other way of looking at this outlay is that of old style 1980’s and 1990’s vanity publishing models. Apex Publishing are not in the vanity game, but much will sway for their potential authors dependent on what financial outlay they are going to invest in their book and the belief they hold in it to sell well and recoup the financial input.
My last impressions of Apex Publications are of a sound subsidy press who will charge more than many other subsidy services, but in their specific specialised genres, particularly sports, there is no doubt that they have a proven track record in being able to market an author’s book. They fly in the face of those who say author solution companies cannot specialise in certain genres and will simply ‘publish anything’. This is not the case here, though I would suggest to authors considering them that their financial outlay may be more than they expect, and that the fiction genre would not be ideally suited here.