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Interview Series: GBG’s Accounting Department

October 21, 2014

Thinking about publishing your book? No matter where you are in the process, it is important to ask questions. I went ahead and asked them for you! In this series, I will be visiting with each department at Greenleaf asking some of the frequently asked questions.

This week, I asked accounting about the world of royalties and returns.


1. What is a royalty?

A royalty is payment for the sale of a book. For each book we ship to a retail partner and for every e-book that gets downloaded, a royalty is calculated for the author (pending any returns). In most cases, our authors retain 35% of the cover price for all physical books sold to retail accounts. For e-books they retain 70% of Greenleaf’s payment.


2. How does Greenleaf’s royalty program differ from that of other publishers?

Traditional publishing houses will often pay out an advance to an author when they accept their book. The typical advance range is about $2,000 - $20,000 with a royalty rate of 5 – 15% of the cover price. Royalties are paid only after the author has earned enough to re-pay the publisher. With Greenleaf, royalties are recognized from the very first book sale. As mentioned above, our royalty rate is generally higher than traditional publishing houses.


3. What is a return?

A return occurs when any book comes back to us from our retail partners. It’s industry standard that all physical books be fully returnable to the publisher. Returns occur for various reasons, one being decreased sales demand. Stores have limited shelf space and will therefore return books with slower sales in favor of newer titles. Books may also be returned because of damage they may have received in transit. Smudges, bent covers, torn pages – these are all examples of transit damage that result in unsellable product.


4. How are returns processed from an accounting standpoint?

Our authors earn a specific royalty rate for each book sold. That same rate applies for books that come back as returns. For example, if John Smith earns a $5.23 royalty per book sale ($14.95 cover price X 35%), then $5.23 will be deducted from him should that book be returned. The accounting on the retail side works much the same way. Greenleaf invoices a retailer for books sold and they pay Greenleaf. If that retailer ends up returning those books, they deduct the amount originally paid from a future Greenleaf payment.

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10 Tips for Marketing Your Book

October 14, 2014

There's so much information out there about how to market your book that it can be hard to determine the best place to start. Here are 10 simple tips for marketing your book that will put you on the path to success.


1. Know your audience. Thinking that your book is for everyone doesn't give you anywhere to focus your efforts and usually results in inconsistent messaging. Identify whom your book would appeal to most, then start your marketing and promotional efforts there.


2. Create an elevator pitch. Can you tell someone what your book and/or platform are about in 30 seconds or less? Sometimes that's all the time you have, so create a memorable and impactful elevator pitch that you can deliver at a moment's notice.


3. Develop a press kit. Before you can begin PR outreach, you need to compile all relevant information into a single, professional press kit. Bio, photo, elevator pitch, book excerpt, and endorsements are just some of the materials you should have at the ready.


4. Launch a website. What is one of the first places people to go for expert advice? The Internet. Your author website is the hub for information about you, your book, and why you're an expert. Get it launched, keep it updated, and establish your online presence.


5. Network. Online, at events, in your industry. Work to establish meaningful connections that strengthen your position as an expert and that can create opportunities down the road.


6. Focus on discoverability. One of the biggest hurdles for authors is getting lost in the shuffle of the thousands of books that are published each week. Make sure that you have a consistent online presence, that your book previews are available for consumers to browse, and that your retail pages are optimized with keywords and descriptions and are rich with reviews.


7. Start locally. Regional media and booksellers are typically most interested in promoting local authors because of their ties to the community and local interest. Once you gain local and regional attention, you can begin focusing on national placements.


8. Pitch yourself, not your book. You can only talk about your book so many times before people stop listening. But as an expert, you can talk about, blog about, and discuss how your specialty relates to an endless list of current events. Focus on the broader reach of your expertise and your book will get noticed because you're getting noticed.


9. Submit submit submit. Reviews and awards are a great way to get people talking about your book and serve as proof that your ideas offer value to readers. Be on the lookout for awards and publications that specifically relate to your niche.


10. Don't get discouraged. It's a marathon, not a sprint, and each turn offers new opportunities to refine your message, build your brand, and sell more books!

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Happy Pub Day!

October 7, 2014

All of us at Greenleaf Book Group send congratulations and best wishes to our authors who have books launching in October!


Fearless Leadership by Carey D. Lohrenz

Leading on Purpose by Timothy I. Thomas & Rip Tilden

Travels with Gannon and Wyatt: Greenland by Patti Wheeler & Keith Hemstreet

Engage the Fox by Larry Chester & Jen Lawrence

My Life Among the Fairies of Walnut Ridge by Michael E. Glasscock III

MAGIC by Tracy Maylett & Paul Warner

Wizard Lizard Rides the Subway by Bli & Dan Dugi

Powered by Purpose by Scott Demming

Coquito Escritura Script con Razonamiento Verbal by Everardo Zapata-Santillana

New Mom, New Woman by Rachel Egan

The "Perfect" Parent by Roma Khetarpal


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Liven Up Your Facebook Page

September 30, 2014

Things a little lonely on your Facebook page? Your problem might be that you're thinking of Facebook as a sounding board. It's not. Contributing to your Facebook page should feel more like you're chatting at a lively party than delivering a keynote address. So if you're aching for some interaction, and you're ready to get the party started, try out some of the tips below:

• Mix it Up: Share a variety of personal updates, articles, videos, photos, and polls to keep your page fresh and interesting.

• Pose a Question: Take a break from being the one to dish out all the information. Instead, post a thought-provoking or fun question and get a sense of how your fans feel.

• Mingle: "Like" and comment on the pages of your peers and related organizations--they may return the favor. Your comments will also leave footprints that lead back to your page, giving you more exposure with their fans.

• Keep an Open Invite: If you're prepared to monitor your page, allow fans to add their own content and posts to your wall. It will give them a sense of ownership.

• Drop a Thank-you Note: When your fans take the time to ask a question or pay you a compliment, make sure you respond or thank them. Those few words can go a long way in earning their loyalty.

• Give Out Door Prizes: Post a question to your wall and offer a prize to a randomly selected respondent. Even a small gift card or a free signed copy of your book can give you a boost of activity.

Remember, social interaction--whether online or in real life--should be enjoyable and manageable for you. Have fun with these tips and you may just find yourself going from a Facebook wallflower to the life of the party!


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Interview Series: GBG’s Design Department

September 16, 2014

Thinking about publishing your book? No matter where you are in the process, it is important to ask questions. I went ahead and asked them for you! In this series, I will be visiting with each department at Greenleaf asking some of the frequently asked questions.

To kick things off, I’ll start with Greenleaf’s talented design team.

  1. What are the components and/or considerations that go into designing the cover? 

The purpose of the cover design is to create a package for the book that encapsulates the content accurately, is sellable and genre-appropriate, and is aesthetically beautiful. The title must be legible from a few feet away so that it grabs attention from bookstore shelves. Balance, color, good typography, and a hierarchal structure of elements are essential to a successful cover design.

  1. How does the design process work at Greenleaf?

Greenleaf has a uniquely collaborative process for designing covers.

Our authors have the opportunity to convey their vision for their book directly to the design team. Our designers also familiarize themselves with the unique content, and review comp titles to confirm the competition and genre. We work up many designs and narrow them down to the top 3–4 covers. Those designs are reviewed by our Editorial and Distribution teams to determine if the designs reflect the content, are genre-appropriate, and are sellable and competitive.  Once our internal teams have given their approval, the designs are presented to the author.

We believe there is more than one solution for every book cover, and therefore provide options for the author, who knows the content best. We rely on the author to choose the cover that feels right for their project from a group of designed and vetted covers.

  1. How does a designer decide on a theme for the book cover?

Designing a cover is a lot of work—and a lot of fun. The theme for the cover is decided based on author input, tone and message of the content, and target audience. Concepting is rigorous, and we often create multiple rounds in-house before we share the winning designs. The process includes image research, typography experiments, critiques, and refinement. Rather than sketches, we present almost-finished comps to our authors, so there is no question at that point if the theme can be executed well.

  1. What goes into the design of the 'interior layout’?

The interior page design of a book should be a continuation of the cover. The text composition should guide the reader easily through the content.

At Greenleaf, interior layout begins with a page design composite, developed using sample copy from our Editorial team. The sample copy includes examples of all the different elements of the book—front matter, chapter titles, body copy, headlines, bulleted lists, and boxed text, among other elements. The designer builds on the basic look and feel of the finished cover design and translates it to the interior pages. Similar fonts and elements from the cover are often incorporated. We adhere to industry standards for margins, spacing, and best practices in composition and typography.

  1. How long does it take to design a book cover?

A timeline for the creative process is hard to predict. Sometimes the right concept is—Bam!—immediately apparent, and sometimes we struggle to uncover it. Other delays can occur when specifications change, such as a subtitle, genre placement, or trim size. We usually spend about two weeks on a round of comps for a cover.

  1. What are Greenleaf’s favorite types of covers to design? (i.e. genre)

Greenleaf’s design team is unique in that we are well versed in genres across the bookshelf. Our designers have amazing range, from business to fiction to full-color cookbooks. We love the variety of projects we produce—it keeps our work fresh. We can be more aesthetically creative with fiction titles, but stretch our brains with concepting for business books.

Our favorite type of cover to design is one in which the author is passionate about their project, and open to our ideas and expertise. Translating that passion into a finished design is very rewarding.

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