For a while now I have realised I wanted a career in a sector which I was not only passionate about, but one that I could also make a difference in. After receiving an entrepreneurial award for my business pitch, I realised that perhaps I could actually turn Inspired Quill into a business that I could really see going somewhere, and for all the right reasons.
On the 5th of April, 2011, I received the email from Companies House, telling me that Inspired Quill was now a fully registered business. Not only that, but we will be operating as a Social Enterprise. That doesn't mean that we can't make a profit (since it's different to a charity), but it does mean that the company profits will not be lining the pockets of the Director (me, in other words), but will be pushed back into the company so that in short order, we can begin making good on our vision statement.
Since IQ is incredibly new, this means that we have only just opened the doors for the first manuscripts to be sent in, ready for the formal ‘grand opening’ in September.
And for those of you who perhaps look upon this venture with a more critical eye (that is, “How is a Publishing House meant to be a Social Enterprise? Why would anyone decide to publish with you instead of Del Ray, Penguin or Random House?”) take a look at our Mission Statement.
"Inspired Quill is a unique publishing house focusing on indelible quality in upcoming publications from start to finish. We strive to showcase new writing talent and set a new standard in economically friendly, people-oriented publishing by providing a reliable platform for up-and-coming authors. Inspired Quill allows them to both publish their work and hone personal skills such as marketing and web commerce, with the added benefit of gaining knowledge of the ‘behind-the-scenes’ element of publishing. Inspired Quill also offers a way to achieve otherwise unobtainable work experience in the publishing sector for the next generation of editors and agents."
Vision Statement: The future development of Inspired Quill will seek to include both creative and nonfiction workshops to promote writing and literacy in disadvantaged schools and local community centres.
I'd obviously like to start getting in some manuscripts, but I would also really welcome any and all questions you might have. (Yes, even the annoying nit-picky questions. It helps me a lot in my vision for the company to know what concerns potential authors might have and such).
The actual submissions information page is HERE. We're in the process of moving over to a new server at the moment, so unfortunately that page is still on the blog part of the site.
~Sara, from Inspired Quill
Thanks Shawn! I have to admit that it took me about 6 hours to do my mission statement. -Chuckles- The other great thing is that I have a few friends who are actors, so even audio books wouldn't be out of the question. :)
I think the most difficult part will be getting those first couple of authors interested. :)
I have to admit I did give a whoop when I got the email. Own company at the age of 22. Not that shabby. (All I have to do now is make sure I don't fall too far behind on my Masters Degree. xD It's been a bit of a juggle).
Since you asked what concerns potential authors might have, here are a few of the things I'd look for before submitting a manuscript to a publisher :
1. Whether the company pays advances or royalties, and what the royalty rate is
2. Whether books will be produced in electronic form, trade paperback, mass market paperback, etc. and what kind of distribution the publisher has
3. What experience the staff have in editing, cover art, etc.
One reason I'd be asking these questions, rather than just submitting my manuscript, is because I've seen several publishers start up with the best of intentions but not get very far. So I tend to be cautious until I'm certain the publisher knows what they're doing. Best of luck!
Absolutely. Those are things which - looking at other publishers - don't seem to be noted on a 'submissions' page. I'll answer them here however, so you can take a look and potentially get back to me with your opinions.
1) No advances (for now), but we pay a base rate of 25% roalties, with the percentage raising for every subsequent novel or year the author remains with us, up to a cap of 50% for paper-publishing and 75% for e-books. Each contract is 12 months, and after that time the author is free to either remain with us, or to take their manuscript elsewhere.
2) The books shall be in a number of electronic formats, as well as print-on-demand. With the latter, the company is currently looking at breaking into some well known shops with small amounts of each title to begin with. I have also looked into distribution, and have contacted a reputable US company, which means that the books would be available in both the US and the UK.
3) In terms of editing, I've been doing it (formally) for around two years now, although I have a BA in English and I'm working towards my MA. My other main editor has been editing for a little over a year, and also has a BA. All authors will get a free 3-page edit before any contracts are signed. I appreciate that different editing styles appeal to different people, and there's no point in handing over a manuscript if you're not confident in the way it'll be edited.
3.2) I would contest that although our knowledge of the publishing industry is all self-taught (having said that, my thesis for my MA is concerning electronic publishing and the future of literature), it makes us flexible enough to see where the standard publishing houses are going wrong. We don't have any ways in which we are 'stuck', as it were, which makes us more dynamic and adaptable.
Thanks for the great questions!
~Sara, from Inspired Quill
Thanks for your answers, Sara. Specifically regarding the submissions page, you might want to specify what are the minimum and maximum word counts you'll accept (and maybe whether you have any reservations as to content - e.g. no swearing, no explicit scenes, etc).
I've added a few things to the page, as well as offering queries via the same email address to make it easier for authors to get in contact. :)
~Sara, from Inspired Quill