Coquí Press: Breaking Down Barriers One Book at a Time
On January 3, 2016 | 0 Comments

Once upon a time in a land not so far away, a writer secured a hired gun known as an agent, and a portion of the manuscript was mailed to a publisher along with a formal query letter.

The hopeful author then waited several weeks or months to receive a response. In the meantime, the excerpt sat in a queue waiting for an available editor to read it. Of course this meant waiting on pins and needles to find out whether the manuscript had been accepted.

A rejection meant sending out another query letter to the next publisher on the list. Rinse and repeat until Mr. or Ms. Hopeful Author landed on a publisher who was willing to take a gamble on this unknown.  Stories abound of famous authors who received multiple rejection letters (some of them quite rude and discouraging) before a publisher took a chance—and clearly those chances paid off!

Back then, publishers held all the power. There was no such thing as a small press publisher in those days. Instead, there was only an exclusive club where membership was granted only to a select few.

I have run up against members of this exclusive club who insist that a real writer should have a pedigree. They say the offspring of Ernest Hemingway, Langston Hughes, Alice Walker, Isabel Allende, etc. should have doors automatically open up for them, have multiple degrees or, preferably, both.

As I so often do when defending my position that a person needn’t have myriad letters following his or her name in order to become a content writer, I say the same about someone who wants to write and publish a book.

This runs counter to everything you’ve been told, doesn’t it? As the daughter of not one but two writers, believe me when I say it runs counter to what I, too, was raised to believe.

This flawed thinking assumes that only writers with a capital “W” have something important to say and that writer hopefuls have nothing of value to share with the world.

I am actually of the belief that once barriers are removed—in this case, the traditional publisher who decides whose books will or won’t get published—a level playing field is created, and folks who previously thought their voices would never be heard have the same opportunities to connect with others in a meaningful way.

My intent with this blog is for people to move away from the idea that a published book is the exclusive right of a select group of people.

I loathe the word exclusive, if you haven’t guessed.

Once this message is clear, my goal is to explain the differences between traditional publishing and publishing with Coquí Press, so you can make the best choice for your manuscript and for you.

Pros and Cons of Traditional vs. Publishing with Coquí Press

The process for getting one’s manuscript published through a traditional publisher hasn’t changed.

Pros with a traditional publisher:

  • The much talked about advance against future royalties
  • No money out of pocket
  • Several rounds of editing. (This can be a con, actually. Some authors report that after their manuscript was edited, it didn’t resemble the one they submitted.)
  • Wider distribution through brick & mortar bookstores
  • Exposure to prestigious awards
  • Although you can retain the copyright to your manuscript, it’s not uncommon for a traditional publisher to pressure you into signing it over to them
  • Better promotion*

Cons with a traditional publisher:

  • Complete loss of creative control
  • They say jump, and you say, “how high?”
  • After your advance is exhausted, your commission is substantially lower than you might imagine. Most first-time authors can’t quit their day jobs.
  • *Don’t expect the same kind of promotion as the publisher’s big name authors. I can assure you Stephen King will get the bulk of his publisher’s marketing dollars with the leftovers going to the lesser-known authors.

What to Expect Publishing Your Book with Coquí Press

There isn’t a one size fits all when it comes to contracting with a small press publisher. Some don’t offer editing, some do. Some don’t offer promotions, some do. Some offer partial or full advances, some don’t offer anything up front. And while there are some very unscrupulous companies out there who will demand money up front, offer a very vague contract that doesn’t spell out their terms clearly and then backpedal when it comes to start paying out commission, by using common sense and trusting your gut, you can avoid drama and get to the finish line with a published book in your name.

There are many things you can expect when you partner with Coquí Press to publish your book. During our initial consultation, we will tell you about the services we offer. From there, some things you can expect from us:

  • You work with our design team to determine the layout and the cover art. This means you have complete creative control.
  • Those are your words on the page. Although we may suggest you phrase things a certain way, if you want to write like Yoda, use jargon, capitalize Black, White and Biracial and remove the Oxford comma, you can.
  • Your book may only need a light proofreading or a full edit. Either way, your book won’t be published until we all agree it’s ready for primetime.
  • Maybe you want to split the promotions with us 50/50, have us only make suggestions or take the reins. The choice is yours.
  • Do you want to use our print-on-demand service or order in bulk?
  • Costs associated with everything that are clear and easy to understand.
  • A commission structure that makes sense.
  • Above all, expect clarity and transparency. We want you to come back and publish all your books with us.

Once you are comfortable with everything, then and only then will we present you with a contract that spells out everything we’ve agreed to. Remember, this is your baby, let’s raise it together.

If you’d like to set up a consultation with Coquí Press, use the contact page to submit a query.

 

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