Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 14, 2011

SPOTLIGHT ON TELEMACHUS PRESS

Emerging Leader in the eBook and Print On Demand Markets

Interviewed by DIANNE OCHILTREE, www.ochiltreebooks.com 

The back story:  Telemachus Press is today’s equivalent of the classic ‘private press publisher’.  Their attention to detail has earned the company its reputation for quality and value. Telemachus Press authors and illustrators can bring out-of-print titles or original work to the marketplace in all formats at once:  eBook, paperback and hardback. Recently, I sat down with Claudia Jackson, founder and partner of Telemachus Press, to find out more about the company, its products and the creative community it serves.

Q: Why did you decide to establish Telemachus Press?

I’m neither a writer nor do I have any desire to become an author of popular books for the masses!  I gave that up many years ago after writing and publishing several software training manuals (before they widely existed).  Since then, I’ve spent many years as a computer consultant specializing in desktop publishing and printing.  Recently, I found myself in a strange predicament where I had to publish a book for a friend.  OK, it was my husband, Steven H. Jackson, who wrote a murder mystery titled, “Death of a Cure.”  It was a tough decision that we jointly made.  (Do you wait for a literary agent to sell your book to a publisher or should you publish it yourself?) I already had the background, the skill set and the software – all of the tools to get the job done.  What I lacked at that time, however, was a working knowledge of the process that takes a completed manuscript and turn it into a novel or non-fiction work.  Countless days and nights were spent reading, researching, studying opinions (everybody has one) and comparing the various options available.  

There are many publication services on the Internet and they continue to grow in number every day.  Costs can be high, complicated and very confusing.  Many of the business models employed by these author services companies were anything but transparent value propositions.  To be honest, there was a lot of “bait and switch” leading the author to pay and pay without any upfront, full disclosure.  Be all that as it may, it doesn’t take long before the brain is overloaded with everybody’s advice, not to mention having to weed through a multitude of Internet scams.  It proved to be a long and frustrating experience, not unlike the experiences read about in blogs and forums as other authors travel down this same road.

Not being one to sit around and wait for things to happen, I woke up one day and decided to not only publish this book, but to go all the way and start a publishing company focused on providing all the technical publishing services a self-published author needed in a simple and fair model.

Telemachus Press has come a long way since that first book. We have expanded our resources and continue to build an excellent network of people who not only care about the job, but care about it getting done professionally.  Our references are our most important asset!  At Telemachus Press, you will have someone to actually talk to, and, more importantly, someone who will not only care about the finished product, but take responsibility for it as well.

We are an advocate for you, the author!

Q:  What makes your publishing company different from the many other publishers in today’s marketplace? 

Full transparency to the author.  We are a work-for-hire author services company.  We don’t pretend that we are actually printing and distributing the book.  We use Lightning Source Inc., a company owned by Ingram Books as our print-on-demand channel partner.  Many “vanity presses” today give the author the impression that they are everything.  We disclose actual book printing costs to the author and do not up-charge.  Everything we do for the author is his or her property and they can take it anywhere should they get noticed by the traditional publishing world.

The biggest difference?  We take no percentage of the author’s royalties.  We make no claim to own any of the author or illustrators intellectual property.  Our authors have 100% ownership of their work.  We have an author who is a Kindle bestseller and now literary agents, movie producers, etc. are approaching him and he doesn’t have to check with us first.  He has 100% complete freedom to do as he wishes with his work because he owns not all of his writings but also anything we create for him on his behalf (i.e., covers and cover art). We work for the author – no strings attached.

One issue that we face is pricing for our services.  Because we do not believe in the “bait and switch” model, we publish one fee that covers a clearly defined list of services.  We don’t come asking for more!!  The only variable cost to the author is possibly a licensing fee for cover artwork and that is usually a minimal amount.  We constantly hear from our authors and prospective clients that their experience with many of the other providers of these same services is far different.  A low price entry point followed by a lot of add-ons that total more than we charge.  We just like being honest and fully disclosing everything up front!

Another important issue is control.  We leave the author in full control of his work and how it is received in the market.  The author sets the retail price and can select the physical size of the book.  The author participates in the design of the cover.  In short, the author has the final say in everything.

Q:  How does Telemachus Press help authors and illustrators navigate the ever-changing world of publishing?

We try our best to stay one step ahead of the technology that is changing as I type this sentence.  If any technology anomalies or issues arise after we have published a book, we fix them.  It is our goal to always make the work the best it can be. 

Also, new platforms in the eReader world and new print-on-demand technologies arise every day.  We commit to our clients that we will stay with the technology so that their work can be delivered in as many venues as possible.

Q:  Who are some of the authors and illustrators with whom you’ve worked to date? Just to name a few:

Authors:

Winslow Eliot

John Locke

Barry Moser

EB Lewis

Penny Pollock

Tom Gonzalez

Virginia Stroud

Illustrators:

Barry Mozer

Mary Azarian

EB Lewis

Penny Pollock

Tom Gonzalez

Q:  What is the basic publishing process at Telemachus from  manuscript to finished product?

Although not at a detail level, we generally do the following:

1.       We begin with an edited manuscript in Word for Windows format.  Cover art can be received as an Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop file.  If need be, we can scan the original illustration or we work with the author to find the appropriate cover art to create the cover.

2.       The materials go to the production manager, are reviewed and then forwarded to one of the members of our production team for management from beginning to end.

3.       We create the following per the request of the author:

eBooks for all popular eBook readers (Kindle, Nook, iPad, Sony, and more).

4.       Next we format the books for Paperback and/or Hardcover depending upon the request of the author.

5.       The author receives a PDF proof of the work and approves the proof.

6.       The book goes into the distribution channel both domestic and internationally.  The book is listed in the Ingram Catalog and will be available 6-8 weeks from the date of publication to bookstores both large and small.  Amazon, however, is much sooner, about one week.

Q: What is the average time frame for publication, and how many titles do you typically release in a month? 

Average time from for publication is 4 to 6 weeks. We release about 30 new titles a month.

Q:  How are Telemachus Press books distributed?

eBooks are distributed through Amazon and Smashwords.  Smashwords is a special eBook distributor for today’s most popular eReaders (Nook, iPad, Sony, Kobo Covers, Diesel, and more).

Paperback and Hardcover books are distribute through the Ingram distribution channel.

Q:  What is the average cost of bringing an out-of-print or original work to the marketplace?

eBook only is $995.00

Print on Demand is $1,995.00

If we purchase artwork on the author’s behalf we charge actual expenses.   No hidden fees, costs, or upcharges.

Q:  How does Telemachus Press handle author/illustrator royalties?

eBooks – We create the eBook accounts in the author’s name.  This way the author can keep an eye on their sales and ALL royalties go directly to the author.

POD – Because we have a relationship with Lightning Source, Inc. (an Ingram Company) we collect royalty payments for the author and distribute 100% of the royalties to the author four times a year with full disclosure and reporting from Lightning Source.  Additionally, an author can check with us anytime and we are happy to look up the sales numbers for the POD books.

Q:  Does Telemachus Press offer any assistance with post-publication marketing for the books the company produces? 

Unlike most “vanity presses” we do not provide marketing services.  We like to stick to what we do best — publish and distribute books.  Having said that, we do enjoy the subject of marketing and have resources to help the author.  We have an extended “bench” of experts in all areas of promotion and marketing.  We direct our clients at these “pros” and let them interact as needed.  We do not stand in the middle and collect a fee.

Q:  How can interested authors and illustrators contact Telemachus Press for more information on its books and services?

Our website is:  http://www.telemachuspress.com

Email:  info@telemachuspress.com

Telephone Numbers:

Main Office:  941-504-5496
Author Inquiries: 941-993-3993
Fax Number: 941-296-7873

Address:

5380 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Suite 105
Longboat Key FL 34228

Dianne Ochiltree is a children’s author, book reviewer and freelance editor. Her website is www.ochiltreebooks.com  

A few weeks ago while talking about this subject, I told  you to make sure you do your homework before jumping on this bandwagon.  This interview that Dianne has provided will help you with that homework.  Thank you Dianne for helping us research this topic to help us make an inform decision in this area.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. Wow, what an exceptional overview of telemachus press. Was getting ready to do business with this company but after reading this article I thought I wish I would of dealt with them in the beginning before my mom signed a contract of her first book with a bogus internet subsidy publisher and signed her life away on the contract. Thank you very much.

    Like

    • Paul,

      You have to be so careful who you work with. I have heard and seen so many horrible stories. I wish everyone would take their time and do their homework, before signing a contract.

      Kathy

      Like


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