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Britain's Next Bestseller is an independent publishing house specialising in crowdfunding. ASK US ANYTHING relating to publishing, crowdfunding and writing!

David McCaffrey
Nov 13, 2017

At Britain's Next Best Seller (BNBS for short) we have a vision to revolutionise the publishing industry. For us, that means offering crowd funding opportunities, bespoke and tailored publishing packages and the kind of support that only comes from people who have been there and done it. BNBS is made up of authors, marketing experts, professional bloggers and fans.

For this AMA, we are waiting to answer any and all of your questions, as best we can, about publishing, writing that first paragraph as an author, how to market your manuscript and how best to develop your novel from beginning to end.

https://www.facebook.com/BNBSbooks/

@bnbsbooks

www.bnbsbooks.co.uk

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Conversation (55)

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Hi guys,

Thank you for all your questions. I really enjoyed answering them.

Maybe we will see some of your work, maybe you will go elsewhere, but irrespective we wish you all the best and hope to see you on bookshelves in the near future!

Best wishes,

David and Kelly

Nov 14, 12:47PM EST0

You say you are experts in crowdfunding yet, unlike, for example, unbound you don’t crowdfund titles on your website. Why? 

Nov 11, 6:10AM EST0

Good evening Alex,

Thank you for your question. 

We have never claimed to be 'experts', only passionate, driven and enthusiastic.

Unbound are excellent publishers and have released some outstanding titles. But there are many ways to skin a cat as the saying goes and no one, best way to publish a book. 

Having a bespoke crowdfunding programme takes a lot of capital. The one we had previously didn't work particularly well, so we decided to work with Kickstarter and Indiegogo who are world renowned and bring with them a trustworthy reputation. 

We believe in crowdfunding 100% as a new and revolutionising method of getting books published that would ordinarily be overlooked by the mainstream big 5, but some authors just want to be published with any stress and fuss, so we offer that too. 

Nov 12, 12:43PM EST0

How can I measure the company’s reputation?

Nov 10, 2:38AM EST0

Hi Vlatkojankov,

The easiest way is to search Britain's Next Bestseller on Amazon and/or the internet and check out our titles, visit our Facebook page where comments are completely transparent and visible and believe in the quality of the books we have and continue to produce. 

Nov 10, 5:25AM EST0

What will the publisher do for publicity and marketing?

Nov 9, 10:36AM EST0

Hi Dodevskaa,

That is a good question. Being only a small company, we cannot compete with the likes of Hodder and Stotton, Penguin etc (yet!), but we work on marketing and promotion as much as we can. This can be influenced by a few things.

If an author chooses to pursue publication via a crowdfunding campaign and it is successful, then some of the money raised is used to fund larger promotional campaigns using social media (Facebook advertising is still one of the best and most successful), our own P.R gentleman (Peter Mann) who will write an article and get it in local and potentially national press (depending on the subject matter, book being promoted etc). use Amazon Marketing Services for the titles and we have an outlet for magazines if again the book is relevant (science fiction for Sci Fi Now magazine for example).

If a campaign isn't the route, then we would still fund social media marketing etc, but it would be on a slightly small scale.

Nov 10, 5:23AM EST0

Who heads up this company?

Nov 9, 9:28AM EST0

Hi Zack,

BNBS and Live It Publishing (of which BNBS is an imprint of) is headed up by my wife and I.

There is some information about us (and dodgy photos) on the website www.bnbsbooks.co.uk

Nov 10, 5:06AM EST0

Where will you distribute my book?

Nov 9, 5:51AM EST0

Hi again Dodevskaa,

If a book takes itself through a successful crowdfunding campaign, then via our warehouses the books would be distributed to Amazon's worldwide and be available for other retailers to stock (Waterstones, Barnes and Noble, Tesco etc).

If the book is PoD, then it is again available worldwide via all the Amazon outlets, but not readily available in bookstores though as it is registered with Nielsen they would be able to order copies if there was demand. 

Nov 10, 5:05AM EST0

Do I have to pay in advance for production costs?

Nov 9, 5:25AM EST0

Hi Dodevskaa,

Nope, not at all. As I mentioned, it is quicker and easier of a manuscript comes to us having been at least beta read and had one proofread through, but this is something we can organise. It only adds a little more time to the process. You as the author, pay nothing at all.

Nov 10, 5:02AM EST0

What royalties will I be paid?

Nov 9, 1:52AM EST0

Morning Liudmyla,

We offer 50% royalties on all mediums be it audiobook (if produced), paperback or, in the event you get that most coveted movie deal, 50% again form any agreement). In addition, anything that a campaign goes over its target

In addition, anything that a campaign goes over its target by is split with the author 50% after costs payable to Kickstarter etc

Nov 10, 5:00AM EST0

Is there a print run of physical books, and if so, who pays for them?

Nov 8, 11:19AM EST0

Morning JC!

If a campaign hits its target, then a physical print run is carried out with titles shipped to our warehouses and Amazon etc. If an author decides to go for PoD then it would be available as a physical book via the Amazon sites. The paperbacks they produce are comparable to our printers and many others (which makes sense, as they are Amazon after all!).  

Nov 10, 4:58AM EST0

How much will it cost you to publish a book? Are there any hidden costs?

Nov 8, 11:04AM EST0

Hi Mvidal,

No hidden costs. If an author takes part in a crowdfunding campaign then, if the target is hit, then that pays for all publication costs from proofreading onwards. 

If the author chooses to move forward with either Print on demand or an e-book then although we would prefer a book to come to us having been the least beta read and undergone at least one proofread, it is something we would take care of ourselves. The only cost is time if we have to arrange it as proofreading waiting lists can be long!

Nov 10, 4:56AM EST0

How do you get out of the arrangement if it’s not working for you?

Nov 8, 9:43AM EST0

Hi Lesley!

We would be happy to discuss an author being released from their contract if they felt disenchanted for whatever reason. There can often be a fee related to the release, but as with all things, this is dependent on circumstances surrounding the request to leave and potentially other mitigating factors. 

It is about authors being happy, not us being materialistic. Of course, we have a business to consider and bills to pay, but there is always room for a conversation because an artists integrity and right to protect their work is paramount. 

Nov 9, 11:45AM EST0

What are your Top 5 selling titles from the past year?

Nov 8, 9:43AM EST0

Hi Lesley!

Top selling titles are quite an eclectic bunch (in no particular order)

1) Embodying Authenticity (a self help book about empowerment and leadership)

2) I Blame Morrissey - autobiographical book of author's experiences during the Brit Pop musical decade

3) Operation ACID; The Downfall of Charlie Kray - book on the previously unseen transcripts regarding the sting operation to capture the last Kray brother in 1996

4) By Any Means Necessary - Stephen Sayers first foray into crime fiction with a thriller set in Newcastle in the 1980's

5)Blurred Vision - sci fi thriller

Nov 13, 10:45AM EST0

Do you require exclusivity?

Nov 8, 1:23AM EST0

Hi Katerina,

We offer 5 years contracts for all titles, feeling that it wasn't too long a period for a title to remain with us and thereby allowing the author in a reasonable timeframe to receive their rights back if they wish to pursue other avenues. 

Many of the big publishing houses ask for anything up to 25 years exclusivity which we understand, especially if a title is a big money maker for them. But being a smaller publishing house, it is only fair that authors get the chance to shop around after a short period of exclusivity has elapsed. 

Nov 9, 11:42AM EST0

What is the timeline for publication?

Nov 7, 8:47PM EST0

Hi Diana,

All things being equal and as stated in the contract, we endeavour to have a title published within twelve weeks following receipt of the final product.

Nov 9, 11:40AM EST0

Do you have DRM (Digital Rights Management) Protections?

Nov 7, 6:37PM EST0

Hi Joseph,

As we publish our ebooks via Amazon, DRM is an option which can be selected. 

As an author myself, I'm in two minds about it and feel this analogy I once read sums it up best.

Enabling DRM is like placing a lock on your book.  However, this “lock” keeps the honest people out (i.e. paying customers).

It does cause anyone who is dishonest to work harder to remove the “lock.”  But in the end, it does not truly stop piracy. 

I personally don't have it enable on my own titles as an author, but we would leave it to the author to decide if they wished to opt out of having it enabled. 

Nov 9, 11:39AM EST0

How long does someone have to write the book?

Nov 7, 3:49PM EST0

Hi Tamara,

As long as you need! We place no pressure on our authors and are here for them when they are ready.

Most titles come to us already written or at least as a first draft, but there is no hard or fast rule.

Nov 9, 11:33AM EST0

Do you work alone or with a team?

Nov 7, 3:12PM EST0

Hi Adrian!

We have a small team of 6 - 

Kelly and myself, 2 manuscript advisors, a P.R manager and a promotional manager.

We have plans for expansion next year with the launching of the America's Next Bestseller domain, but at the moment just nice and small!

Nov 9, 11:30AM EST0

How much experience have you had as a publisher and is it your full time job? Also where is your office based? 

Nov 7, 2:45PM EST0

Good afternoon Shelia,

Kelly and I purchased BNBS last October. To be frank, aside from what we knew from my being an author, we were quite green going in. However, something serendipitous happened a few weeks after we took ownership.

We were expecting to have a nice bedding in period, no rush, where we could learn at a leisurely pace everything we would need to know to at least get us started on our journey as publishers. 

A friend of ours whose book I had ghostwritten suddenly had his publisher fall through and said he was looking for another one. I happened to say "Funny you should ask that!"... famous last words!

He said that was excellent, but they needed the book for his book launch 21st December - and it was the 2nd already!

Thrown; deep end!

So, in the space of two weeks, we had to get a cover designed and ready, the book typeset ( it had been proofread, which was fortunate) and 500 copies printed. Our printers in is Poland and with it being the run-up to Christmas, they were going to have a delay on orders.

Long story short, the printers were kind enough to rush the printing, we had the cover ready and everything else that needed organising and the author was over the moon with the final product which is now in Waterstones a year later as we speak. 

So, there is a lot to be said for being under that kind of pressure as we learned so much in a short space of time. Not ideal, but we produced a product that the author was happy with. 

Since then, we have dedicated ourselves to learning everything there is to know about publishing, but there is always so much more to know and it is an ongoing process. 

The only assurance I can give you is that we have published 10 books since December with no negative feedback from either stores or authors. Yet, we are always striving to be better, more efficient and to expand the BNBS brand. 

Kelly and I are actually nurses by trade, which my wife still works as. I now work 

I now work full time on the publishing side of things (keeping my registration up but have left nursing). This and writing myself keeps me out of trouble. 

As for where are based, we are in the North East of England in good ol' Teesside!

Nov 9, 11:25AM EST0

What kind of customer service do you offer?

Nov 7, 11:36AM EST0

Evening Giada!

If you mean what kind of contact do we offer for our authors, Kelly and I firmly believe that as a publishing house, we should be approachable. Having experienced how it works myself, we offer two things always.

1) Every submission receives written feedback, whether we decide to publish a title or not. We don't believe in the 'It's not for us' or 'It doesn't really work for us' comments without stating why and how it could be improved (if indeed it needs to be). 

2) We are personally accessible to every author and will reply to every email personally

Authors have to feel they are appreciated and important, not that there story is just a means for making money. 

Nov 8, 3:20PM EST0

What will you do to market your book?

Nov 7, 11:34AM EST0

Hi Tawny!

We have an excellent P.R gentleman who works with us who is a former journalist. He speaks with the authors and does what he can to get an article in local papers, leading tabloids, magazines etc. We use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pintrest (only just launched) to advertise our authors and their books. We are also affiliated with Audible and Amazon so if the interest is high enough in a title that we submit and they pick it up for audio production, Amazon deal with some marketing themselves too. 

We also run daily adverts in a rotational basis for all titles to keep interest high for some of our older books.  

Nov 7, 3:18PM EST0

Exactly what production services do you provide – and who’s doing the work?

Nov 7, 10:39AM EST0

Evening Nicz,

We often a wide range of services.

We currently have an opportunity for someone to be supported through the entirety of their manuscript from beginning to end, with editing for each chapter, e book conversion, promotion and publication, all for a reasonable fee.

Aside from that, we offer three basic packages - Kindle-only publication, Print on Demand and crowdfunding. We appreciate that, as industry revolutionising as crowdfunding is becoming, it isn't for everyone. Some authors just dream of having their book available on Amazon so opt for a Kindle version which is both cost neutral and quick.

Print on Demand (PoD) again is something that is increasing in popularity but many bookstores remain a little snobbish about taking such titles. However, it means readers can get a physical copy of their authors book which again is what some authors love. 

Crowdfunding is where the campaign will allow (if successful) a large print run and potential availability in mainstream stores (W H Smith, Waterstones etc) and where all proofreading, typesetting costs, conversion etc are taken care of by the moneies raised. 

For the others, the manuscript would ideally come to us already proof read, though this isn't a deal breaker if not. 

As for the work, we believe in a 50/50 split. We offer industry-leading royalties alongside only one other publisher we know of, with a 50% royalty share for all our authors across all platforms (audio for example if it is successful in being optioned by Audible whom we have a relationship with). 50% royalties mean that we expect the author to do some of their own promotion via social media, but we take care of the P.R side of things, Facebook marketing, advertising, booking author events for our authors etc.

Nov 7, 3:15PM EST0

How long does the manuscript have to be? Is there a minimum?

Nov 7, 8:34AM EST0

Good evening Shilpa,

The length of a book is often dictated by the story you are telling, not by us or any other publisher. As a rule of thumb, anything under 7,500 is a short story, under 40,00 is a novella and 40,00 and above a novel.

We would consider anything that fell into those brackets, though the marketing for each of the above may vary.

Nov 7, 3:06PM EST0

Do you have a website where I can learn more about your work expertise?

Nov 7, 5:45AM EST0

Hi Hanahb!

Certainly. If you go to www.bnbsbooks.co.uk you will find all you need, but if there is something you wish to know that isn't there please just drop us a line at info@bnbsbooks.co.uk

Nov 7, 6:36AM EST0

Do the people behind this company have significant publishing experience?

Nov 7, 5:24AM EST0

Hi John,

BNBS was established by entrepreneur, Murielle Maupoint. When Murielle sold the company to Kelly and I, we established some firm guidelines for ourselves, the first being surround you with people who know more than you do. 

We took on board manuscript advisors who are authors themselves, established and well-respected proofreaders and typesetters, deal with dedicated graphic designers for the covers encompassing both free-lance and renowned designers. 

As for Kelly and I, our experience is derived from my being an author myself and being open, honest and transparent in our running of BNBS. We have been fortunate enough to sign some influential authors such as Steve Wraith, Stephen Sayers, Alan Robson MBE to name a few, all of whom have come to us based on our family orientated approach to publishing. 

 

Nov 7, 6:35AM EST0

Will my bio, photo, and blog address appear on the book jacket?

Nov 7, 12:38AM EST0

Hi Brittany.

Often, the authors like them inside the book, usually at the end which is where they are traditionally placed. However, of course, you can have them on the back. It is usually a matter of space more than necessary that they go inside. And some authors don't wish to have their face on the back cover of their book (myself being one of them as it would put people off!)

Nov 7, 6:18AM EST0

How much creative control will you have over the look of a book?

Nov 6, 8:44PM EST0

Morning Rebekah!

It is a completely collaborative process. Any ideas the authors have for their cover (which is often the case, as many have some imagery in mind that evokes the spirit of their story) will be sent to one of our designers along with any suggestions we may have. These suggestions would be shared with the author and from that,  a few sample covers produced so you can see that imagery at work. 

We would never dictate how the cover should look; just often suggestions if we feel it could better sell the idea of the story. After all, it is very true that covers sell books!

Nov 7, 6:17AM EST0

Top BNBS links - 

CURRENT CAMPAIGNS - https://igg.me/at/zalia/x/16828477

                                           - http://kck.st/2z1mafm

FACEBOOK - https://www.facebook.com/BNBSbooks/

Nov 6, 10:55AM EST0

Can a writer prosper in any niche of their choosing, or will only the popular genres prevail? What determines the success of a writer?

Nov 6, 10:28AM EST0

Good afternoon Chinyere!

That is an excellent question and there is no one, right answer.

We have two campaigns running at the moment over two platforms; Indiegogo and Kickstarter; both children's books. One is almost at its target, the other is struggling. Both have quality illustrations from award-winning illustrators and gentle, simple copy for children, yet only one is looking likely to achieve success.

We find this occasionally with titles and personally I don't believe it is a genre issue. One possibility could be that you pay after a Kickstarter campaign ends whereas with Indiegogo you pay when you place a pledge, meaning with Indiegogo people are less inclined to part with their money.

We believe it is down to an author's support network and to a lesser extent, the promotion of their campaign. In the above two cases, both authors have campaigned hard, but one seems to have a more dedicated and supportive campaign base. 

The genre can have an impact, but Kelly and I find crowdfunding so positive as it allows those books to be potentially published that a traditional publisher (i.e the big 5) won't touch because it doesn't fit in with their well-trodden path of same-old same old storylines. 

They are reluctant to take risks, yet so many of the books we have been fortunate enough to publish have been universally receive, proving that when readers can choose what it is they want to read, they enjoy those books that are slightly off-kilter, different and take a well-trodden genre and inject some new life into it. Alongside indie and self-publishing, we feel that these routes for publication are allowing some exceptional talents to get their books onto bookshelves. 

As for success, that is the same for any method of publication. Write for yourself and most importantly, keep writing. Don't rest on your laurels and write only one book and expect it to be earning royalties 3 years later when you haven't had anything else published. NEW TITLES = BACK CATALOGUE

Nov 6, 11:10AM EST0

Thank you! lol @ same old-same old

Nov 15, 3:04AM EST0
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