FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are the most frequent questions which we are asked. Don’t hesitate to ask a question not covered here or inquire about an answer that is not clear. We have two publishing options with differences between each. Some of the following responses apply only to our hybrid imprint.

At Torchflame Books we are committed to transparency and the notion that there should only be good surprises. Not only is that an ethical business practice but it makes our job easier and relationships better.

Our company was founded in 1998 by a family of authors who believed that there had to be a better model than vanity or self-publishing for emerging authors.

We are located in Durham, North Carolina. Our primary market is the United States but we also sell books in a number of other nations. We prefer to print locally whenever possible, working wiith printers around the world to decrease delivery time and cost. We offer short-run or high volume printed editions in numerous sizes as well as electronic books in all the standard formats.

Each author has a personal consultant who provides close guidance through the process. The author is involved in all aspects of designing and marketing every book whether written for a broad or select market. We look beyond the immediate profits of the latest “hot topic” to offer a platform for as many subjects as possible.

While we obviously aim to sell as many of each title as possible, we do not believe that the value of a book lies solely in the sale of large quantities. Many books that will only sell a few hundred copies are worth publishing for what they contain and the value of that information for those who need it. We also find that many titles having limited initial sales will continue to sell year after year because of their specialized content.

Seeking the best platform for each author and title we offer hybrid publishing and author publishing models.

You have something worthwhile to say and we want to give voice to your ideas. We are currently accepting submissions. We can’t publish everything but we can and will be happy to review your work with the respect it deserves.

No. Not every book is suitable for Torchflame Books but we are able to publish many books that have a smaller and more highly focused market segment because part of our production costs are contributed by the author.

We publish works of fiction and non-fiction in most genres. We do not publish books containing erotica or paranormal themes, horror, those which advocate hatred, sexual or other exploitation, libelous material, or plagiarized text.

Submissions are evaluated by our editors based on literary quality, subject, and sales potential. We value freedom of expression and encourage creativity of ideas. Except as expressed above, we express no social or political bias in our selection process.

We prefer not to publish works containing profanity but don’t make that a hard rule because of our position on content and expression. However, gratuitous use of profanity is unacceptable, uninteresting, and uncreative language which reflects more on authors than on their characters.

No, Torchflame Books is neither self-publishing nor vanity publishing. This is a hybrid publishing model wherein we work closely with our authors sharing production costs and sales profits.

It is a matter of expertise. Self-published books that are not professionally edited and provided with stunning covers usually fail in the marketplace and disappoint the author. Highly motivated entrepreneurial authors can often succeed by self-publishing and marketing a professionally designed book such as those produced through the Torchflame Author Publishing program.

No, you maintain full rights to your book. You must grant us sale and distribution rights for three years to hybrid publications.

Yes, if we accept your book for publication we will give you a detailed contract. Read a sample contract

A well written and clearly formatted manuscript can usually go to press in three months and be available in four months.

Send us your manuscript with the submission form. We will review it and provide you with an opinion based on our experience with similar books. We can provide feedback about your goals and answers to your questions by email and/or over a personal telephone conversation. Whether our opinion confirms your expectations or helps you think in another direction, know that we will be candid and honest. Because we both want your book to sell, our approach helps the author and also benefits us.

Yes, we format and typeset all manuscripts using CMOS and IBPA standards.

Yes, we will work with you to create a stunning cover for your book that reflects the message of the book in a way that will be appealing to potential readers.

Yes, if the author wishes, then we do publish an ebook in both epub and mobi formats and make it available through all commercial channels.

Yes, we will provide you with an ISBN and barcode for your book and also for your ebook if you wish to publish electronically.

The cost of publishing a book depends on the length and format of the book. The author’s share of the cost depends on the publishing model.

  • Hybrid Publishing: The author’s share of the cost is $6,895. Royalties are 60% to 75%.
  • Author Publishing under the Author’s Imprint: The cost is $2,995. Royalties are 100%.

Yes. You will be provided one or more proofs before printing.

Yes. You will be entitled to substantial author discounts which vary according to quantity and are calculated as our printing cost plus 20%.

We promote all hybrid titles on our website marketing page, the website author page, press releases, tip sheets, ARCs, and ebook campaigns as described in detail in the marketing section of our website.

ou will receive 60% of the profit we earn as royalties on print books we sell for you and 100% of the profit from books you sell yourself. You will receive 60% of the profit we earn as royalties on ebooks we sell for you.

Profit means the amount we are paid for each book minus the printing cost of the book. It varies by retailer and distributor but we are typically paid 40% to 60% of a book’s sale price. From that, for print books, we must pay the printing cost.

Example – based on a 200 page 5.5”x8.5” or 6”x9” softcover book printed using black ink on white or crème paper with a full-color cover. The printing cost depends on the number of pages.

Sales through Amazon or other bookstore
Retail price of $16.99
Wholesale discount of 55% is $9.35
Net we are paid is $7.64
Printing cost is $4.00
Net on the book is 16.99 – 9.35 – 4.00 = $3.64
Author’s royalty = 3.64 x 60% = $2.18
Our profit = 3.64 x 40% = $1.46

The ebook of this same title
Retail price of $7.99
Wholesale discount of 60% is $4.80
Net we are paid is $3.20
Author’s royalty = 3.20 x 60% = $1.92
Our profit = 3.20 x 40% = $1.28

Author direct sale of book at event
Retail price of 16.99 / ‘Event special’ price of $15.00
Author cost is 4.00 + 20% = $4.80
Net on the book is 15.00 – 4.80 = $10.20
Author profit = $10.20

We distribute royalties to authors after we have been paid for the sales of their books by our wholesalers and retailers. Those payments vary but tend to be 90 days late. This means, for example, that we are paid for January sales at the beginning of April.

The first author royalty is paid at the end of the quarter that falls approximately six months following the release date. Subsequent royalties are paid quarterly in January, April, July, and October for author account balances of $25 or more. If less than $25 then the balance carries forward.

We hold 20% of author royalties for 8 months to cover books which may be returned to us from bookstores. On average, 20% of books are returned during the 8 months following their purchase by bookstores. (The industry average is 30%. We are fortunate to be closer to 20%.) Any amount held back which exceeds returns is paid to the author. If returns exceed the amount held back then the author reimburses for those, usually from future sales.

We follow the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) guide to publishing standards and the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) guide to style, usage, and grammar.

The Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) is the largest publishing trade association in the U.S.A. IBPA is a not-for-profit membership organization serving and leading the independent publishing community through advocacy, education, and tools for success.

As a former IBPA board member, our Senior Editor Elizabeth Turnbull, was a founding member of the IBPA Advocacy Committee which defined the Industry Standards for a Professionally Published Book. Many of the examples used to illustrate these standards are from books published by our company.

Elizabeth also helped create the IBPA Criteria for a Hybrid Publisher, which we adhere to for all our hybrid titles.

IBPA proudmember

Booksellers/Wholesale Customers:

Torchflame Books is proud to work with Ingram and IPG for the distribution of our titles.

To place an order, contact one of our distributors for the standard wholesale discount rates.

If you are located outside the USA you can also order directly by contacting us.


Individuals:

All our titles are available through major booksellers online or in stores.

We encourage you to support your local bookseller and order directly through them. Find a list of independent booksellers near you.

If you are located outside the USA you can order physical books directly by contacting us.

Torchflame print titles have unsurpassed distribution through the Independent Publishers Group (IPG) and Ingram, the world’s largest wholesale book distributor. Your book will be available through all major internet retailers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, and Book Depository. It will also be available to more than 39,000 bookstores worldwide.

Torchflame books are included in the Ingram Title Library System, which provides key information including, metadata, cover, description, author information, genre, targeted audiences, reviews, format and price to distribution channels so retailers can create their listings for the titles in their own ways. This is one of the most thorough and globally distributed cataloging systems available to all and is used by most retailers.

Torchflame books are included in printed and digital catalogs published and distributed by Ingram.

Ebooks are distributed through IPG, which provides not only distribution but also promotion and special marketing opportunities. Your ebook will be available to over 30,000 libraries plus Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, and all reputable ebook retailers.

Marketing is the final and most important key to the success of every book. In a general sense, publishers do broad marketing to wholesalers and retailers while authors do targeted marketing to readers.

We work with our hybrid authors to create essential marketing programs involving print, electronic, and social media. We help authors communicate with their followers and reach prospective readers. Successful marketing involves both the publisher and the author.

What We Do

Wholesale Distribution

Torchflame print titles have unsurpassed distribution through the Independent Publishers Group (IPG) and Ingram, the world’s largest wholesale book distributor.  Your book will be available through all major internet retailers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, and Book Depository. It will also be available to more than 39,000 bookstores worldwide.

Torchflame books are included in the Ingram Title Library System, which provides key information including, metadata, cover, description, author information, genre, targeted audiences, reviews, format and price to distribution channels so retailers can create their listings for the titles in their own ways. This is one of the most thorough and globally distributed cataloging systems available to all and is used by most retailers.

Torchflame books are included in both printed and digital catalogs published and distributed by Ingram.

Ebooks are distributed though IPG, which provides not only distribution but also promotion and special marketing opportunities. Your ebook will be available to over 30,000 libraries plus Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Nook, and all reputable ebook retailers.

Website

Every book is featured with a full page on our website including the cover image, description, sample text, key reviews, purchase links to the major retailers, and other optional information.

Every author is featured on our website along with their titles, including an author bio, photograph, contact information, and social media links.

Author’s Information Packet

The Author’s Information Packet includes materials to help you sell your book and forms to gather information we need to help you sell your book, including:

  • Contact information
  • Book synopsis
  • Social media links
  • Comparable titles and descriptions
  • Amazon Author Page setup
  • Goodreads Author Page setup
  • Pub Light marketing guide
Press Release

As your release date draws near, we will work with you to create a press release for your book and its launch.

Title Sheet

One of the essential marketing pieces for a book is the title sheet, also known as a “one sheet.” This document tells retailers why they should sell a book and how they can get it. The title sheet includes the title, ISBN, brief description of the book and author, important reviews, release date, genre, audience, format, price, and distributor.

Author Copies

When a book is approved for release, a limited number of copies are printed and sent to the author in advance. These copies are intended for use in soliciting endorsements and reviews or entering contests. If these efforts produce strong quotes or reviews from well-known figures, that information may be added to the final edition distributed for sale.

Digital ARCs

We provide a digital “Advance Review Copy,” which includes images of the front and back covers. These are in pdf format and are more easily shared than hardcopies. They are preferred by many reviewers who find themselves running out of space to put physical books.

Ebook Campaigns

We work with retailers such as Amazon, Apple, and Kobo to feature titles as special offers, such as a daily deal or monthly deal. The price of campaign featured titles is lower than the normal retail price but sales volume tends to be higher. We also work with authors to obtain other highly valued promotions from sites such as BookBub and Fussy Librarian. We regularly offer worthy titles for special promotion and many are accepted, though the final decision is up to the retailer.

Author Purchases

Authors may purchase copies of their books at or below wholesale cost. The author’s price for books is determined as printing cost plus 20%. Printing cost decreases with quantity purchased at one time.

Authors are free to sell their books at any price they choose. Because the author does not pay a wholesale discount of 40% to 55% on books sold directly to readers, the profit on those sales is much higher than on copies sold to bookstores. Books purchased by authors do not count towards royalties paid by Torchflame Books.

Marketing Plan

We provide to our hybrid authors a marketing plan that details the steps they should take for their book and helps highlight special opportunities for their titles. We are also always happy to work with authors on questions they have regarding marketing and provide support when appropriate.

 

What the Author Does

Networking

You must be highly motivated to promote your book through an ever-growing network of family, friends, groups, press, bloggers, reviewers, and local retailers. You need to study and practice the marketing information you will receive in the Author Information Packet, including the Pub Light marketing handbook.

Social Media

For most authors, effective use of social media is one of the most cost-effective ways to become known and promote your book. This includes Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Pinterest, and Twitter. This is covered in more detail in the “Be Social” chapter of our Pub Light marketing handbook.

Website and/or Blog

In addition to promoting your book, a good website helps provide credibility to you and your work. You can sell books yourself through your website or you can direct readers to retailers. It helps even more if you add a blog to your website before the launch of your book. On that blog you can share your thoughts, steps, and milestones of the publishing process.

Personal Appearances

Seek personal appearances and opportunities to speak on radio shows, at special events, and book clubs. To do this properly requires a lot of telephone and leg work and it may take time to see results, but they will come and will increase over time.

Endorsements and Reviews

Torchflame Books authors should solicit endorsements and reviews. An endorsement is a short quote of praise from an authority. A review is a formal synopsis and critique. Neither is of great value unless the person providing it is considered qualified by the reader. If the person is unknown and their title is obscure, then using the endorsement or review could actually work against the book’s success.

Consider experts in the subject of the book, bloggers, well-known authors of similar books, famous people, media personalities, and trade reviewers including BooklistForeword ReviewsKirkus Reviews, and Publishers Weekly.

We do often assist with requests from authors who are told by reviewers that the ARC must come from the publisher rather than the author.

Awards

A number of companies provide competition and awards for books, and authors receive many offers to place their books in those competitions, which include an entry fee. Because many competitions cover a large number of categories, that increases the odds of becoming a finalist or winning an award but does not assure an increase in sales. Such awards can be an encouragement to an author, help create interest in a book, and provide a measure of credibility to readers.

As with reviews, the sales-related value of an award is based on the importance it is given by librarians, bookstore owners, and other professionals. In general, the most important awards for independent publishers are considered to be the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards, the Foreword INDIE Awards, and the Eric Hoffer Book Awards.