Submissions & FAQs
What factors do you consider when reviewing and accepting a submitted manuscript?
We consider the content of the work, the quality and style of the writing, how ready the manuscript is for publication, how dedicated the author is to producing a high-quality publication, how closely we feel the material aligns with our vision of promoting new paradigms in psychology, social justice, and critical thought, and an overall sense of the "fit" between Belly Song Press and the author.
What should I do if I'm interested in submitting a manuscript?
First, you should contact us via email and let us know who you are and a brief synopsis of your manuscript. We will email you with some basic information and questions to see if it makes sense to schedule a phone call to discuss the project. Eventually, to move forward, we would need a draft of the manuscript, a proposal package, or some sample chapters and outline.
Are you currently accepting submissions?
Not at this time. Please check back with us in January 2018.
What is self-publishing, what are vanity presses, and what are traditional small presses?
Self-publishing is the publication of any book (or other media) by the author of the work, without the involvement of an established third-party publisher. The author is solely responsible and in control of the entire publication process (content and editorial decisions, design of cover and interior, formats, price, distribution, marketing, and public relations). Self-published authors have unlimited freedom and control but bear the burden of complete financial responsibility as well as having to navigate the publishing field by themselves or with the help of hired consultants.
Vanity presses are publishers who authors pay to have their books published. Vanity presses can call themselves small presses, but they derive their profit solely from the author (verses from book sales to the public) and are therefore not usually selective as they have no stake—financial or otherwise—in the final publication. They offer a similar level of independence and control over the final publication to that of self-publishing, however other limitations or requirements may apply. For example, some vanity presses assert more control over rights to the published work. Most do not offer distribution at all or if they do, it’s not very meaningful. Others require the author to buy a certain number of books directly from the press. Many provide little or no editing, design, or promotional services and lastly, it’s not uncommon for costs to rise high into the five-figure range even without those services.
A traditional small press is a publisher who is independently owned (i.e., not part of a bigger conglomerate), has low annual sales income and profit (typically that means below $50 million after returns and discounts), and publishes on average of fewer than 10 titles per year. This is all true for Belly Song Press, thus we are technically considered a small press, but we have similarities and differences to vanity presses that are important to point out.
How are you similar to and different from a vanity press?
We are similar to vanity presses in two major ways: our authors are fully participatory in all aspects of their book from editorial decisions to design decisions and our authors are also required to make a significant financial investment in their book. However, we differ in important ways.
First, although our authors have a lot of control over their books, we are different than your typical vanity press in that our relationship with our authors is highly collaborative and our commitment to the process and the product is at a high level.
Our authors' satisfaction around the process of publication and their final book is of critical importance to us. No decision is made without their knowledge, input, and permission. Likewise, we take great pride in producing the highest quality publications possible both in content and aesthetics so we do not hesitate to recommend or advocate for why we feel strongly that certain editorial or design decisions should be followed. That’s why our relationship with our authors is so important to us. We know your book is your baby. In a way, we feel it’s our baby too, in that we consider our authors and our books members of the Belly Song family. So, unlike a vanity press, we are very selective about both the authors we take in and the quality of their work. Additionally, we take very seriously the decision-making processes along the way as well as the quality and beauty of the final publication. So in the end, we, too, feel proud to put the Belly Song Press name on your book.
Second, as in self-publishing and as in vanity presses, the author must make a significant financial investment in their book. We charge one fixed fee due at the signing of the contract as well as an hourly rate for some services and a fixed rate for other services as we guide you and your book through the publication process. We are upfront and explicit about the services we provide and how much we charge and our services cover you from start to finish. We are confident that our rates are very reasonable and on par with what it would cost you in time and money to produce a publication of equal quality if you were to seek out these services on your own. However, you have the advantage of not having to remake the wheel because we’ve already figured it out for you.
Unlike some vanity presses, we do not require authors to purchase a certain number of books. In fact our authors own all of their books with the exception of the quantities our distributor requires us to send to them and a mere twenty copies to us. And as stated above, our authors can sell as many of their books on their own (within the terms of our distribution contract) at any price they wish while retaining one hundred percent of those profits.
Lastly, as we’ve mentioned before, unlike your average vanity press we take your book very seriously. We offer our services and process only to our own authors; we don't offer our services a la carte as consultants to other writers. This is because we care about your book and its presence in the world. Our vision is to bring new paradigms of psychology, social justice, and critical thought to the world one book at a time. Our work at Belly Song Press is largely a labor of love, and thus, payment from our authors allows us to continue to make our vision a reality.
What makes you similar to a traditional small press?
As we’ve already discussed above, like traditional small presses, we are selective about the manuscripts we accept and we care deeply about the books we publish. There are three more ways we compare to traditional small presses.
First, publishing your book under our unique imprint “Belly Song Press” carries more weight, credibility, and respect in the industry then publishing under your own name. This also means our authors don't have to bother with setting up the legal or financial entities that they would need to establish if they were to self-publish.
Second, we offer distribution through Small Press United (SPU), the small press arm of Independent Publishers Group (IPG), one of the most highly regarded distributors in the industry. This is absolutely critical to garnering book sales as well as national exposure for your book. Not only is it incredibly time-consuming and labor-intensive to do the work of submitting a proposal to even be considered by a distributor, but the result for independent authors, especially first time authors, is often rejection. By publishing with Belly Song Press you automatically have a top-quality distributor in your corner.
Third, we have built relationships with a team of professionals who handle the editing, proofreading, design, indexing, and printing of our books. You have the relief of knowing your manuscript is in good hands and will result in a final book that is more beautiful than you ever imagined.
Our marketing and promotional services are still being refined. Currently, we provide a complete pre-publication review package to our authors, submitting to 7-8 reviewers complete with book galley, fact sheet, and publicist-level letter. We can also offer some useful advice on what additional promotions we think may be helpful and we can even begin making inroads for our authors in terms of radio interviews and online book reviews. Inquire with us for more details.