Sandi Rog, one of our beloved editors and the author of Out of the Ashes (a 2016 Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award finalist), has announced her imminent retirement from IFW. But she is moving on to bigger and better things--like her own publishing company! We are so proud of Sandi and honored that she agreed to be interviewed about her new company. We wish her the best of luck for the future.
And, without further ado, an interview with the splendid Sandi Rog.
Q: Congratulations on establishing your new publishing company, TULPEN PUBLISHING!What inspired you/made you decide to start your own publishing company?
A: That’s a great question. As you all know, I’m an author, and after getting several royalty checks over the years, I discovered, I can make more money off the blood, sweat, and tears put into my books if I publish them myself. This is becoming a trend among many writers, even bestselling authors.
A good contract will pay authors 10 percent off the “retail,” meaning 10 percent off the price of the book. So if the book sold for $14.00, the author would get $1.40 per book. This is considered a fair royalty rate from publisher to author. However, there are publishers out there who only pay 10 percent off the “wholesale” price or “net” worth. That means if the book costs $7.00 to print, the author would only earn 70 cents off each sale of the book. I’ve dealt with publishers who pay both these amounts, and in my opinion (and most agents will agree), the royalty amount of 10 percent off the “wholesale” is unethical and unfair to the author. Not what I’d call “author friendly” at all. Ultimately, this is what motivated me to publish my own book, but I also made my company available to other writers because I know a lot of talented authors out there who can’t get a big house to take their work. It’s my goal for Tulpen Publishing to be another avenue for those authors so they can get their books published.
Q: Will you be publishing e-books, print-bound, or both?
A: I will be publishing e-books and print books. I will say the e-books are the biggest sellers. I’ve made ten times more on my e-book sales than I have on my print sales. E-books are now the biggest sellers in the market.
Q: Is there a set royalties factor for each title, or will royalties be based on the genre?
A: I’m eager to treat any author who writes for Tulpen Publishing with a fair royalty rate. All authors, of any genre, will receive 10 percent off the retail price of their book.
Q: Do you plan to publish an equal number of male and female authors? (I ask this, because numbers are adversely skewed in favor of men with the majority of US publishers, outside of the romance genre.) New and established authors?
A: I plan to publish books that have a great story and are written well, no matter who the book is written by, whether male or female, or new or established. If you’re a new author and your book hasn’t been edited, please don’t submit it. Don’t waste your time, or mine. I will reject it. I’ve already had to reject several manuscripts for this very reason. This is also why I’ve added Inspiration for Writers (IFW) to my website. For people who need an editor, they can go to someone I trust. It’s important they know I’m not making a profit from any of their edits if I send them to IFW. If you run into a publisher that offers editing services, RUN in the opposite direction. They can’t be trusted, and they may just be out to get your money with the promise of publishing your book if you pay an exorbitant amount of fees. An author should never have to pay to be published (unless they specifically hire a self-publishing company). Tulpen Publishing is a traditional publisher. We don’t charge our authors for anything.
Q: Do you consider a writer's platform before offering a publication contract?
A: Platform is very important; however, I’ve seen authors without platforms become big sellers because their story is great! But I will look at an author’s platform, and that will have an influence on my decision. For those who don’t know what a “platform” is, read this ARTICLE.
Platform is kind of like managers saying, “We won’t hire you if you don’t have any experience.” Well, how do you get experience if you can’t get a job? Many publishers won’t take on an author if they don’t have a platform. In my experience, a GOOD STORY is what sells and what will then help build your platform, so don’t be discouraged if your platform is a little flimsy. Still, I do hope to see an author online: Facebook, website, blog, etc. We want more than just family and friends to buy the book.
Q: How involved will your company be with promotions? (i.e., book tour, advertising, free review copies, interviews, etc.)
A: Once an author is published with Tulpen, we initially offer 20 free books for promotions, giveaways, copies to keep, etc. The author’s book will be on our website, along with the author’s bio and a brief description of the book. We will also provide more copies (if the author has need) for promotions such as book signings, etc.
Publishers today, whether big or small, have little to do with marketing. All the marketing belongs to the author, which is why it’s important to have a platform. I do share a Marketing Plan Sheet with my authors, and in fact, HERE’S A LINK to a welcome letter I send to all of Tulpen’s new authors (something few publishers offer).
Q: Will your company's books be stocked in independent bookstores, major bookstores, department stores?
A: Tulpen Publishing is a POD press, so if a person wishes to purchase an author’s book from, let’s say B&N, the buyer will have to order it, and will likely even be charged shipping (unless they’re a member of B&N; then they won’t have to pay for shipping). As for independent bookstores, if the author knows of one in their hometown, Tulpen can send the bookseller the author’s book(s) to put on their shelves. These small booksellers are usually more open to putting local authors’ books on their shelves, and it’s best for the author to make initial contact while Tulpen does the follow-up.
Tulpen Publishing’s wish is to put God first: to be ethical, honest, furnish reliable edits, and offer an "author-friendly" environment with no upfront costs, industry-competitive compensation at 10 percent off the retail price, world-wide distribution, and numerous tips and help for marketing.
Q: Are you actively seeking submissions? If so, where are your submission guidelines posted?
A: Yes, we are open to submissions. You can read our submission guidelines HERE.
Q: Will you only be publishing Christian books?
A: If a book is clean according to your best judgment and a character experiences moral growth, Tulpen will be willing to take a look. But Tulpen is principally focused on Christian books.
Q: You're already a multi-published author, so what advice do you have for new writers who want to break into publication?
A: Write a story that you’re passionate about, a story that excites you. If you’re not excited, your readers won’t be either. Finally, learn the craft! The editors here at IFW can teach you a lot. But before hiring an editor, get your hands on the books below. Not only will they make your editor’s job easier, learning on your own first will improve your manuscript so much that you won’t have to hire an editor two or three times to get your book where it needs to be.
"Self-editing for Fiction Writers" by Dave King and Rennie Browne
"The First Five Pages" by Noah Lukeman
"As the Plot Thickens" by Noah Lukeman
Thank you so much for having me. It was an honor to be interviewed by my favorite editors.