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Publishing Help at Affordable Prices

Small presses often consist of one or two people doing the work of ten. Some are drawn in because of their love of books, their ability as writers and editors, or other urges and talents. A few become extremely competent jacks-of-all trades, brilliantly handling all editing, layout, page and cover design, publicity, fulfillment, and all the other tasks of publishing. Most need some help with some of those tasks.

There are plenty of consultants and companies eager to help, but usually for a high price. You can easily spend tens of thousands of dollars on bad advice and poor-quality services. Your choices can make or break your publishing venture.

At Upper Accesss, we're eager to provide at least a little help, at an affordable price, if we think we can. (If we don't think we're the right match for your book, or if we're just too busy to give sufficient attention to your book, we'll tell you so, because we don't want to waste your money.) Most of our clients are small publishers who prefer to do most of the work themselves. We consult with thm to help direct their focus on the most effective steps to make their books commercially viable and to achieve publicity and sales. We also take on specific projects with midsize and large publishers.

Our Background . . .

Upper Access has been a successful small publisher since 1986. While we generally publish no more than two or three new titles per year, most of our books win critical acclaim and enjoy substantial sales. We also operated a successful book fulfillment service for ten years, working with hundreds of other publishers and learning first-hand which promotions worked best in each situation. (The fulfillment service was sold to Book Clearing House, whose services we continue to recommend.)

We also publish the most widely used industry-specific business software for independent presses, Publishers' Assistant and Couplet. Because we supply their business software, we have a chance to work with many publishers to help them operate with the highest standards of professionalism and efficiency.

Between our own publishing operation and our experience working with others, we have developed expertise on what it takes to publish a successful book. As long-time advocates of the small-press movement, we enjoy working with others and seeing them flourish.

Who We Are . . .

The principal contact for your publicity campaign will usually be Steve Carlson. Steve is publisher of Upper Access Books. His varied background includes positions as a congressional press secretary, an editor of a major trade magazine, capitol bureau chief for a statewide daily newspaper, and radio news director. He now spends his full time in the book business. Among other distinctions, he recently served as a member of the board of directors of Independent Book Publishers Association, and he currently serves as president of Independent Publishers of New England. When appropriate, Steve may refer you to another person who has the needed expertise for your situation.

Services and Prices . . .

We have, in the past, provided full-service publicity campaigns, but we can no longer spare the time for that. We limit ourselves to consulting, to determine the optimal campaign for your book with precise recommendations for each step, and/or specific tasks such as editing for marketability. We bill our services at a rate of approximately $100 per hour, although it may be more or less for specific services. In most cases, we'll quote you a price for specific services based on our estimate of the amount of time it will take.

As an example, often an author or publisher consults with us early in the process, when a great many decisions remain to be made. For a particular title, what type of binding and printing processes make sense? Which distributors or wholesalers should be approached? What is the best price point? How many books should be printed in the first run? Which reviewers should receive galleys, and which should receive finished books? The answers to questions such as that are different with each title. We'll look through your book (or manuscript, or draft, whatever stage it is in at the time) to help you get on the right track for a successful publication. The full process will probably take two-to-four hours, so the cost will be between $200 and $400. For larger projects, we are sometimes able to scale down the hourly rate.

Sometimes, we can also take on specific projects. We are expert book editors, for example, and often we are hired for that. You can probably get a good proofreader for a lower price, but if you are looking for editing for marketability—work on the text to make it more salable as a book for the general public—our services can't be beat. If you are interested, provide us with the book in its present form and we'll give you a quote, based on the amount of time we expect the project to take.

We often also get hired to write a press release, or a sell sheet, or a cover letter for mailing to reviewers. We typically charge $200 each for such projects. However, we can sometimes round down the price if it is part of a bigger package. Obviously, if we've reviewed the book in detail already and helped to plan a promotional campaign, we'll have a head start on how to write promotional materials.

Types of Books . . .

We have worked with most types of books, although the majority are nonfiction. Sometimes we are hired by the author, sometimes by the publisher. Some of our clients are self-publishers. We will not accept your project unless we believe that our efforts will be worthwhile. If we turn you down, that doesn't mean it's a bad book—only that the chemistry doesn't seem right or that it's not a good candidate for the types of promotions we're best at. (Or, during some periods, we are focused on our own titles and cannot take on new projects, no matter how attractive.)

In most cases, we will not promote books published under the imprints of subsidy publishers such as iUniverse, Xlibris, or Author House. We regret that, because we have seen many very good books with those imprints. However, such books are generally not reviewed in major publications and are rarely stocked in stores or libraries, so the types of help we provide would not produce the desired results.

A self-published book can be a good candidate if it is well produced. In other words, if a self-published book meets the same production standards and other criteria as a "big-press" book, it does not bear the same stigma with reviewers and bookstores as a subsidy-press book.

Works of fiction usually become difficult to promote if they have not gained critical and public attention while they are new. However, in some cases, if the book covers a subject area that is in the news, or if the author is an expert on a specific subject or has interesting stories to tell about how the book was created, press releases and broadcast interviews may possibly revive interest.

Results . . .

There is never a guarantee of any specific level of success regardless of how well a book is produced and publicized. We'll consult honestly about all the steps we think will help. We'll advise you on ways to improve your chances of getting the major book reviewers, resellers, and talk-show hosts to notice your book, for example. But once they notice it, will they like it? We can make good guesses about that, but publishing is a fickle business, more of an art than a science.

That said, many books that fail do so because of poor planning and poor execution of crucial steps in production, promotion, and business practices. People look back and say "This book might have been successful if only . . . ." We can help you to avoid that; and help you to give your book the best chances of success.

Contact Us . . .

To get in touch, it's usually best to send us an e-mail at Info (at) Upperaccess.com. . If you prefer to telephone, the best number to use is 802-482-2988. Please keep in mind that this is a very busy office, so we can't be sure that we'll be able to talk when you call. In that case, we'll try to set up a mutually convenient time for you to call back.

Meanwhile, for some free advice, check our step-by-step guide, What to Do and When to Do It: A Guide to Effective Book Publicity or our series of Questions and Answers about Book Publicity for new publishers.



 
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