Wednesday, 17 August 2016 11:00

Writing a Query Letter

You finally did it; you wrote that book you have always talked about. All of the long nights of feverishly typing your first draft are over, you talked yourself out of throwing out the entire manuscript even though you couldn’t stand to look at it anymore, and you meticulously edited until the book came to life. What’s your next step?

Authors pursuing publication with a subsidized press like CBP or a traditional publisher, or the representation of a literary agent, should create a one page query letter. The query letter is the first point of contact with a potential agent or publisher, and should be honed to perfection before it’s sent out.

Query letters, wherever they are sent, need to be short, sweet, and to the point. The letter is designed to grab the agent or publisher’s attention; in many cases, it’s the only chance you get to convince that person to read your book.

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 20 July 2016 16:13

Writing for Publication

Welcome, writers and readers to Cincinnati Book Publishing's new blog. CBP staff and authors will be joining forces to bring you the best writing and marketing tips and publishing trends. 

First, a few words about me and our company.  I am an author, editor, and publisher with training and publications in American art, architectural, and political history. I fell in love with the publishing process and became enthused about reviving the Queen City's reputation as a publishing center. In 1992, I began my own consulting firm to manage fund-raising, writing, and publishing projects. Cincinnati Book Publishing grew out of that entity. Today, I manage the editorial department, while Tony Brunsman skillfully manages book design, production, and marketing. 

As executive editor for CBP, I field most inquiries about our editing and publishing services.

I find many would-be authors are frustrated with the traditional writing and publishing process.  Too many think the traditional process is rigged for insiders.  And, in some respects, that assumption is correct.

Traditional publishing with one of the "Big Five" New York City publishers is open primarily to authors with a successful record of published works and sales of 10,000 or more copies per title. While book sales are strong, economic pressures and volatility in the U.S. marketplace have dampened risk-taking among traditional publishers. The big houses will not accept unsolicited manuscripts; a prospective author must first contract with an agent who will sell the project to a publisher.

Securing an agent is not an easy task. The usual route is to submit a prospectus with a query letter, and many authors query for years without success. Consequently, talented authors with specialized knowledge or a good story to share are often rejected by traditional and academic publishing houses. As a result, many professionals and amateur writers are electing to self-publish with the assistance of companies like CBP. 

Cincinnati Book Publishing assists authors who plan to self-publish a book or submit their manuscript to a traditional national or academic publisher. CBP provides professional editing, design services, and counsel to authors. We also function as a publisher of quality books for those who want local, personal attention. Many authors choose to remain with CBP in order to personally oversee all aspects of production and publication. They retain ownership of the inventory and copyright, and receive all royalties from sales or gift proceeds to a favorite nonprofit.

At Cincinnati Book Publishing, manuscripts are reviewed before acceptance. Books must be professionally edited and designed to be published with our imprint. We do not offer print on demand, our minimum requirement is a press run of 250 copies for digital printing, and 1,000 for offset. We use local and regional printers and binders, whose work we know and trust. There will be no ink-smudged pages or failed bindings with CBP.

With CBP, the merit of the manuscript and the quality of the publication are priorities. We are not a vanity press like online print shops, which accept any and all submissions. We have a formal submission process, which begins with a query letter or interview. Like the NYC biggies, we will require a finished manuscript of significant merit and any illustrations in digital form before beginning the editing process. Materials will be subjected to a rigorous review by our editorial staff.  If a manuscript is accepted for publication, CBP insists on copy editing, design, and proofreading, just like the NYC houses. The key difference is that CBP's business model relies on client fees rather than publisher book sales for revenue. With CBP, the author or sponsor earns 100% of sales proceeds. Authors who use their business books for seminar materials or sell the work direct to students or conference attendees usually recoup their investment within six months and realize profits within a year. Popular presenters have made more than $20,000 on a single print run, and some are on their third or fourth printing.

CBP does not offer slick print packages to sell services. Quoted fees and expenses depend on book size, paper stock, binding, complexity of design, and the number of copies.  Each book we do is custom, and our project managers treat each one with the level of care the author took in composing it. Our goal is to make your book a work of art, and our objective is not to be the cheapest but the best. I enjoy talking with fellow authors, and am available for a free introductory consultation.


Sue Ann Painter 

Published in Blog
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