BLKDOG Publishing was established in 2019. We are an independent publisher and pride ourselves on our honesty, integrity and cutting through the nonsense that stops books getting out there. It is estimated there are now over 6,000,000 Kindle titles on Amazon today (and supposedly 12 million paperbacks!), so how do you stand out in such a crowded marketplace?
We know the hassle of it all, we've been there ourselves. Our team consists of people who have experience in writing, publishing, formatting and marketing and we believe that sometimes you just need to take a leap of faith with a title.
We cannot, of course, accept every title that is submitted to us, but we will always provide feedback as to why we don't think we can work with a particular book.
Where are you based?
We are located near London in the United Kingdom but thanks to the wonders of the internet we operate internationally.
What services do you offer?
When you publish with us, we will arrange the copyright, formatting and the cover art. If you have artwork already, that's ok, we'll have a look at whether we think it will work for us, otherwise we design our artwork in-house. We will edit and proofread but your manuscript should be polished up and checked before hand. We'll continuously promote your title(s) and we put around 20% of our net profits back into advertising and promotion.
Do you produce audiobooks or offer audiobook only contracts?
We have decided this is something we don't want to do but there are other publishers out there who offer this service. Our authors retain full rights to audiobook versions of their titles.
Can you / will you publish my title as a paperback?
Yes. However, some titles such as poetry collections or short stories may not work for us as a paperback, in which case we will keep you informed and you will retain full rights over physical versions of your book.
Do you charge authors to produce physical books? Are there hidden costs?
No, we never ask our authors for payment.
What level of sales can you guarantee?
We can't guarantee any level of sales, no publisher can. We have some titles that have sold exceptionally well and others that have not sold more than a handful of copies. We will do our best to promote your book, and expect you to do the same, but ultimately no one can force a reader to purchase a book.
How often do you pay your authors?
We pay our authors quarterly.
Are there any genres you won't accept?
We won't accept erotica. We are not prudes by any means but it's not a genre that sits well with us or our other titles. We have no issues with sex scenes, controversial opinions, adult content or offensive language but titles where the erotica is the main focus is not something we're looking to work with.
Will I see my book in my local bookstore?
In terms of getting into bookstores, it sadly isn't quite the 'win' that writers assume it is and it can be incredibly difficult and risky. Most people don't realise that bookstores haven't actually bought the books they stock, they are essentially leasing the book space in their store and get a profit from any they sell. They return any unsold books back to the publisher so there is a huge risk and initial overlay for this which only the biggest of publishers are able to cover. Let's say a small publisher has bought 1,000 copies of one of their books, and they don't sell, it could potentially ruin them as a business.
However, this isn't to say it is impossible and our expanded distribution means our titles can be purchased by wholesalers from Ingram (https://www.ingramcontent.com/retailers/ordering/ipage) though many bookstores are understandably cautious about stocking books they cannot return. However, as the tide shifts in the world of publishing, bookstores are become more and more accepting of print-on-demand publishers. As we grow as a business, this is certainly one of our priorities and we have already begun contacting bookstores to look into this further. In a slightly backward and confusing way, the better a title sells on Amazon, the more chance there is you will see it end up in a bookstore. You may even discover that your local bookstore is happy to reach a private agreement with you as an author and stock a small number of your books, particularly as you won't be 'self-published' (a word dreaded by many bookstores). Optimistic caution is our mindset on this matter.
No one is buying my self-published book, can you help?
Marketing is by far the hardest part of the book industry at present. This isn't because of any failings on the part of the author, agent or publisher but simply because of how unbearably saturated the book market has become. The rise of self-publishing has been both a blessing and a curse. The positive side is that it has allowed authors to publish themselves and allowed small presses to survive by making use of print-on-demand services. The negative side is that this means millions of authors have simply published themselves and the possible profit margins grow slimmer each year as a result. The regrettable truth is that this has left many authors and publishers with completely unrealistic expectations of how well their books will sell. Some even take the shrinking market and the lack of sales and engagement their book attracts as an attack on their writing capability. Think of a sandwich shop, you could make the best sandwiches in town but if there are 6 million other sandwich shops on your street it's going to be difficult to convince customers your product is the one that is worth their time and money.
There is no magic wand to solve this issue unfortunately, and if there was we'd all be doing it. Standard methods of promotion include social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram); engaging and connecting with literary magazines, book bloggers and reviewers and encouraging our authors to support and each other. We use a percentage of our profits to advertise our books and but ultimately it comes down to Return on Investment (ROI). It would be financial suicide to promote a book for £1000 and only make £50 in book sales as a result. This isn't to say it's not worth trying, all advertising is a risk, but authors and publishers must live within their means. This is why there are sadly so many despondent self-published authors who are essentially begging people to read their titles for free. Many publishers are also folding as their profits disappear. We have seen and heard horror stories of authors and publishers spending thousands on advertising, with next to no profit, and downward spirals of even more money being wasted as they try to recoup their losses. As a general rule, we allocate 20% of our net profits back into promotion - slow and steady wins the race!
We understand this is likely to be disappointing news to many new and established writers, but it would be pointless to say differently and mislead self-published authors. We would not want to establish a professional relationship with someone we had filled with false promises and expectations. The book industry is what it is; and for those who blame Amazon, it's worthwhile to remember that Amazon (or similar print-on-demand companies) are also the reason they are able to exist and sell their books in the first place.
Any other advice when submitting?
If you have submitted to us and other publishers at the same time, do let us know as a courtesy. If you've been placed elsewhere let us know immediately. It is unfair and unprofessional to make our team waste hours of our time reading your manuscript if you are no longer looking to work with us
Don't be too concerned with underselling or overselling your manuscript, a simple synopsis will do. Be pleasant and friendly and be realistic with your expectations. If we decide we would like to work with you but we don't get on then it's going to be a long five years!
Do you have a question that we haven't answered? Then get in touch and let us know.