Little Steps Publishing

What is partnership publishing?

Partnership publishing is where the author shares part of the cost with the publisher.

What's the difference between self-publishing and partnership publishing?

Partnership publishing allows the creator to become a financial partner by paying for the printing costs. Partnership publishers work with the author to provide design, production, editing, distribution and marketing. Self-publishing only allows the creator to buy a quantity of printed books.

Is Little Steps considered vanity press?

No. ‘Vanity publishers have no selection criteria as opposed to other "hybrid" publishing models’ – Wikipedia. All submissions are reviewed by our publisher and editorial team, to see whether they fit into our list before being accepted. We pursue books that we will be proud of, and ones that have potential to become successful. We are proud of the Little Steps name and will never ever publish a title that does not meet our standards.

If this is partnership publishing, what exactly am I paying for, and what is Little Steps paying for?

You are paying for production; Little Steps is putting in costs for design, edit and magic. We want your book to be the best it can be - whether that means taking time to digitally ensure colours in artworks are at their brightest, workshopping a rainbow of open options for editorial direction with your book, and providing you with the backup and advice you may require to market your book post-release.

What is a distributor?

Publishers distribute through a distribution service, which has representatives that actively sell books to bookstores. Our distributor has representatives that visit bookstores Australia-wide.

How much money am I going to make?

Becoming a published author (traditionally or otherwise) is not the quick road to quitting your day job and paying off the mortgage to go party with Elton John on his yacht. That said, we’ve had authors who have sold over 6K copies, which is a lot more than is generally sold in traditionally publishing children’s books. We cannot guarantee that your book will sell x amount, but we will direct you towards the choices that will improve your book’s chances remember, we are also invested in the title. For many of our authors, we are a platform to getting their published book into the market and starting the journey of publishing books. Furthermore, around 20% of our authors will go on to publish a second or more titles with us.

Crunch some numbers for me!

  • In sales made by Little Steps, Little Steps will pay 80% of sales revenue to the creator. For example, if Little Steps has sold your book online for $20, the creator will receive $16. Or if Little Steps has sold the international rights to your book for $2000, the creator will receive $1600.
  • In sales made by the distributor, Little Steps will receive 35% of RRP (with the 65% going to the distributor and bookstores), and therefore the creator will receive 80% of this 35%. For example, if the distributor has sold your book for $20, Little Steps will pay you $5.60 of $7 received
  • In sales made by the creator, the creator will receive 100%.

How will I know how the sales of my book are going?

The royalty statements will denote how many sales are made by the distributor, and how many through Little Steps.

How often are royalties paid?

We pay royalties every half financial year, though it takes us up to 3 months to process the royalties for that period. So for example, the period 1 January - 30 June will be paid out by 30 September.

Will I be able to know what bookstores my books will be sold at?

Due to the large amount of titles bought by the large amount of bookstores, we cannot put this data on the royalty statement. Following the processing of royalty statements, you can request a bookstore sale breakdown (see section of breakdown below).

As a first time author, what are the chances of a major bookstore taking on my book?

Very high - as you can see from the small example above, many major bookstores have taken up the title of this first time author. This is not to say that EVERY major bookstore will take up your title, and this depends on factors like trends in publishing, the final look of your book and its perceived attractiveness.

What happens when my printed books arrive?

If, for example, the creator has ordered 1000 copies, Little Steps will receive 100 copies, the distributor will initially receive 200 copies (to be replenished as time progresses) and the remaining 700 copies will be sent to the creator to promote and sell to the public. All copies remain the property of the creator until sold.

Can I Customise a Package?

Yes! The package prices are only the standard prices and are completely customisable. If you would like your book to be bigger, have coloured foils and die cutting, then the package price will change to reflect these additions.

What about illustrators?

Illustrator fees are not included in Little Steps packages, however, we can suggest illustrators if needed. Illustrators usually cost around $2000 (for a 32p picture book).

Are there any hidden costs?

No. Our costs include all that is needed to get the book published and into stores. The only thing we may have to charge extra for is anything additional, like extra finishes (e.g. embossing) or shipping to multiple destinations or non-metro areas.

How is payment processed?

A 50% deposit is due upfront and the remaining 50% is due once the creator has signed off on the proofs. After the creator has signed off on the proofs, no further changes can be made.

What are proofs?

Proofs consist of accurate colour reproductions sent from our printers in China. Proofs show what the book will look like once printed, including the cover image. It is important that the creator thoroughly checks proofs before agreeing to go to print.

How is my book going to be promoted?

Little Steps will send copies of your book to magazines and newspapers for review and promotion. Little Steps will also create press releases and help with book signings and book launches. Little Steps will register your books on Title Page, which is the national database of books that booksellers use. Little Steps will also provide your book with an ISBN number. We encourage the creator to contact local schools, their local paper and promote their books through local radio stations. The ELR, PLR and CAL remain in the responsibility of the creator, with Little Steps happy to assist if necessary.

As a first time author, what are the chances I will get reviewed in the mainstream media?

Quite high - we send out review copies to channels we know have a high chance of publishing a review. Quite often, these are blogs etc. We have had many books published in local and national newspapers - one even made it to page three of the Sydney Morning Herald. However, the way to get this done is by making that contact with the media and putting your request out there for the story.

What happens if the bookstore takes on my books, but then they are not sold?

Bookstores work on a system of ‘sale or return’. This means that the store has a period (usually two months) to sell the books, and then they can choose to return it if it has not been sold. This is good for first time and unknown authors, as it means the bookstore is more likely to take on their book, because it has less risk for them. However, it does mean that a true ‘sale’ wont be known for a few months. The returned books can still be sold, however.

How come online booksellers are selling my book at a discount?

Booksellers purchase books (from us or the distributor) at a 40% discount on the RRP. This means that their profits are 40% of the RRP if sold at full value. Often, online booksellers can cut their costs (due to savings on bricks and mortar), and sell the books under RRP. But dont worry, you will still get the same royalty payment as the seller is still purchasing at the same amount!

What happens if the distributor doesn’t sell all of my books? Will they become pulp?

No way. You own the books until they are sold (as opposed to the publisher owning the books in traditional publishing), so we wouldn’t destroy any without your permission. Pulping books only happens when publishers print huge quantities of books in order to get a cheap print run, and take the gamble that the book will sell. When this gamble doesn’t pay off in these cases, it ends up with pulp.

Hardback or Paperback?

It is a tough call. Paperback is cheaper to produce, with hardback costing $1.85/copy more. Hardback does allow for a higher RRP of $24.95 compared to $14.95 (generally). So the profit margin is clearly higher for hardback. Also, traditionally first-editions would always be hardback, though now it is more apples and oranges.