Buttermoth Press Independent Publishing Guild

Buttermoth Press (Independent Publishing Guild)
Contact Details | Overview | Small Print | Life after Buttermoth 

Buttermoth Press is global web concern.  That is, we do not have a physical location.  We exist on-line with communication via email; repositories requiring a physical catalogue address, please list as:

Buttermoth Press
Queensland, AUSTRALIA

Major publishing houses are inundated with talent and have strict protocols when addressing potential aptitude.  Such dogma is far from discriminatory as quality should always be paramount.  However, this rigorous process of elimination does make it extremely difficult for unknown artists and authors to establish themselves in print.  

Whilst some enterprising authors choose to go it alone, self-publication can prove costly.  Often referred to as 'vanity' publishing, this ensures the author's name in print but it does not automatically guarantee distribution and associated sales.  While Buttermoth Press does not discourage vanity publishing we would like to highlight a couple of points that you need to remember, if you're thinking of self-publication.

The first is the small print.  Self-publication is often accompanied by limitations in regards to quantity of purchase.  While ordering 500 copies of your own book may see like a great idea at the time, reality can tend to dampen ones enthusiasm.  Besides the obvious question of distribution, few of us can afford to outlay hundreds of dollars (or pounds) without the benefit of a guaranteed return.  This inevitably limits the options of those who are not monetary endowed.  

The second point has to do with the issue of quality.  Editing not only offers grammatical assistance but also the opportunity for an unbiased review.  Unfortunately editing is not a standard feature in most self-publication packages.  Once again the cost of these added extras can outweigh the proposed return.  

Buttermoth Press emerged in response to a lack of assistance based, independent publishing options.  We are not a multi-national company; nor are we a small business for that matter!  We are a non-profit, publishing guild.  We publish what we want, when we want, simply because we can.  That's not to say that we publish any old piece of trash.  We take our role as a  publishing agent seriously.  As a private league we are entirely self-funded so we are selective out of necessity.  We pride ourselves on the quality of our publications and try to adhere to professional standards.

Once you step through our metaphorical door (as a web concern we don't actually have a premises) we are dedicated to supporting your efforts.  We want you to reach your full potential and as such we will guide and advise as best we can.  The Guild assists in preparing manuscripts for publication; organises an active web presence; and ensures access to on-line distribution via POD publishing (print on demand).  There are no fees to pay, no minimum number of books to buy.  Note that this does not include legal deposits which are a worldwide mandatory requirement (see below for further details).

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Small Print

So what's the catch?  How much is it going to cost me?
In terms of fees, the Guild is a non-profit endeavour.  Assistance and participation is completely voluntary and as such we do not charge for our services.  It is also why we offer a strict 'invitation only' policy.  We have limited time and resources and allocate them carefully and accordingly.  

Purchasing an ISBN
Cost is incurred in regards to securing an ISBN number.  The amount will be based on whether you purchase a US distribution package or an Australian ISBN.  As prices are subject to change, we have provided a valid link to our printing & distribution agent in the US in order to obtain the latest pricing:  www.lulu.com

Alternatively, you may purchase a single Australian ISBN which will set you back approximately $40 (AU).  Buttermoth Press will purchase the ISBN on your behalf however the cost of the ISBN is to be reimbursed by the respective author.  In return, your book will be listed with the necessary bibliographic authorities including Google Books.  Buttermoth Press will also issue associated press releases and assist in building a web presence.

Legal Deposits
One final cost to calculate is in regards to legal deposits.  When a book is published, copies must be deposited at specific repositories in relation to publishing laws and associated copyright.  In Australia for example, a single copy must be submitted to each of the following - the National Library of Australia; the local State Library; and in some instances the State Parliamentary Library.  As Buttermoth Press publications are printed and distributed in the USA, 2 copies must also be deposited with the US Library of Congress.  You will need to purchase a minimum number of books in order to meet your legal quota (approximately 5-6 copies).  This purchase is mandatory, the cost of which is to be met by the respective author.  Note that Buttermoth Press will happily submit the publications on your behalf once expenses have been met.  Failure to submit a timely legal deposit may incur associated fees and the wrath of the respective government body.  Please calculate the above expenses when considering any publication.

Once you have paid for your ISBN number and bought and submitted your legal deposit requirements, there are no additional expenses unless otherwise previously advised.  Your book will be be made available for on-line public purchase at the negotiated rate and you will subsequently receive a percentage of the royalty minus commissions, paid annually (if applicable).

If you don't charge for your services how can you afford to print my book?
Books are printed in conjunction with US based Lulu.com - Lulu has printing presses in both North America and Europe and distributes worldwide via the web.  Lulu does not impose a minimum print order and prints only on demand.  That is, they print as the books are ordered.  Lulu pays for your book to be printed.  It recoups this expenditure when your book is sold.  In addition to the production cost, each book sold generates a small royalty.  A percentage of this royalty goes to Lulu; a percentage to Buttermoth Press; and the rest is paid to the author(s) of the work.  Both price and proposed royalty are negotiated between Lulu and Buttermoth Press prior to sale.  Author's will receive an annual report as to the status of their book orders and accumulated royalties; if payment is due it will be dispensed at this time (June 30th) unless negotiated otherwise.

How much money can I expect to make on the sale of a single book?
If you're publishing purely to make a profit then your setting yourself up for a major disappointment.  The Stephen Kings and J K Rowlings of this world are few and far between!   That's not to say that we wouldn't like to see you make a bundle in royalties - we just prefer to be realistic.  

In terms of the actual percentage paid, the amount varies.  A book selling for $7.99 US for example, may cost $7.00 US to print; out of the remaining 99 cents you may receive no more than 30 cents (probably less) as an estimated maximum royalty; the remainder being consumed by Lulu and Buttermoth's commission.  A book selling for $12.99 US may cost as much as $10.00 to print or as little as $7.00 depending on the number of pages and as to whether it is printed in B & W or colour, saddle stitched or bound.  Once again, profit equals the price minus production cost and associated fees.  You could make as much as a dollar per book or as little as 5 cents US per book.  

Suffice to say this is not high finance for any of the parties concerned.  Of course if you have your heart set on a bigger profit margin then we can always bump up the price of the book - but remember, the higher the price the harder it is to sell.  If you have a quality product at a reasonable price then the likelihood of a sale increases.  It's a question of give and take; you will need to evaluate your motivation and set realistic goals.

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Life after Buttermoth

What if after I get my book in print I decide to switch to self-publishing?
That's okay, you are free to do as you wish. Our only desire is to see you succeed. You may take your text work and re-publish. Specialty covers, interiors and manuscript layout designed by Buttermoth Press remain the property of Buttermoth Press. We're fairly flexibly though and are happy to negotiate a copyright release on a book by book basis.

What if my Buttermoth Press title generates mainstream interest?
Congratulations!  We couldn't be happier.  If you receive an offer from a mainstream publishing house we encourage you to follow through.  In regards to the existing publication, you'll find that the major publishing houses have their own idea as to the best methods of display.  Although authors own the copyright in relation to their work, a publisher retains copyright in regards to the way in which the book is publicly displayed.  When you change publishers you will find that your new publisher will want to stamp the display for themselves (i.e. alter the presentation, such as the layout of the cover and interior).  We do not have a problem with this and you are free to move on to bigger and better things.*  If you would like to remember us in your new preface or credits, we would be honoured :)

* if a major publisher wants to publish the book 'as is' (i.e. an exact duplication of cover and layout) then we would need to negotiate a copyright release.

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2009 Buttermoth Press (Australia)