Who We Are
Questions About Our Print-on-Demand and Ebook Publishing Company
Q. Who owns your publishing company?
Our company is co-owned by the husband and wife team of Angela and Richard Hoy.
Angela is well-known in the online freelance writing community as the publisher and editor of WritersWeekly.com, a site that publishes new freelance jobs and paying markets every Wednesday. She is also a vocal advocate for writer’s rights, publishing numerous articles on how writers can protect themselves from deadbeat editors and publishers, as well as common industry scams. She created and moderates the Whispers and Warnings forum on WritersWeekly.com, where writers can share experiences with deadbeat companies. She has one traditionally published book (How to Publish and Promote Online, St. Martins Press), as well as nine self-published titles.
Richard is a former Internet marketing executive. He’s developed and executed online promotional strategies for Hoechst Marion Roussel (now Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.), DirecTV, and Compaq Computers Medium and Small Business Division, as well as a host of smaller firms. From 1996 to 1999, he was moderator of the Online Advertising Discussion list, the first discussion community on the Internet dedicated to the subject of online advertising. In 1999, Richard created and edited The ClickZ Guide to Email Marketing, one of the first compendiums on the subject of the then-emerging field of email marketing. He was a regular speaker at the popular Web Advertising and Web Marketing conference series back in the heyday of the dotcom boom. He was also a well-received columnist on ClickZ from 2000 to 2001, where he wrote a column on small business use of the Internet.
Q. How long have you been in the publishing business?
Angela started WritersWeekly.com, our publication for writers, in 1997 as an independent project. She was one of the first authors to use ebook technology to publish her work (long before Stephen King made the term “ebook” famous). In September of 1999, after marrying, we bought Booklocker.com – one of the first stores online that sold ebooks. A year later we started offering POD services. In the Spring of 2001, we decided to incorporate all our business ventures under one banner – BookLocker.com, Inc.
So we’ve been publishing and selling other authors’ ebooks since 1999, and publishing and selling POD books since 2000.
Q. How many employees do you have?
The two of us (Angela and Richard) work full-time. And then we have one full-time employee: Zach. We contract out cover design work, ePub conversion, and the printing of the POD books. Everyone is located in the United States. We believe in supporting US workers and companies, unlike some of our competitors.
We are highly standardized and automated, and put a limit on the number of new books we accept for publication. This not only helps assure we are putting quality books into the market, but it also allows us to offer excellent customer service to the authors who do use us. Whenever you deal with us, you are dealing with the owners. There are no layers of bureaucracy like you find in a bigger POD and ebook publishing company. We make sure everything gets done and problems get solved quickly.
Q. Where are you located?
We are located in Bradenton, Florida.
Q. Why can’t I call you on the phone?
We only do business by email, not by phone. Since we work with more than 1,000 authors, corresponding by email gives both parties an electronic paper trail. And, it’s much easier to follow formatting and design instructions in writing.
Angela personally works with all authors one-on-one. If we took phone calls, we’d have to hire more people to do what she does, which would increase our prices, lengthen our turn-around times, and lower the level of personal service we give to each author. We hope you understand that doing business this way enables us to respond faster and offer a much higher level of service than our competitors. And, this ensures all POD authors are able to deal with one person…Angela. Angela usually responds to emails same-day.
Q. How many authors use your print-on demand and ebook publishing service?
We have published more than 1,000 authors in print.
Q. Who are your competitors and how are you different?
There are three big players in the print-on-demand publishing business, iUniverse, XLibris, and Authorhouse (formerly 1stBooks). The rest are small companies like ourselves.
The dirty little secret, though, is that we all use the same back-end service to do our print-on-demand printing and we all distribute our books through Ingram. So the quality of our books and the places to which we distribute them are identical. The only real differences are the prices we charge, the quality of our customer service, and our business models.
iUniverse, XLibris, Authorhouse and many of the smaller POD companies have a business model built around selling a base POD publishing package, and then upselling authors on additional POD services. Whether you sell a copy of your book to anyone or not doesn’t really matter to them because their profit comes from upselling author on more products and services. This is also why they accept any book submitted. They are always looking for new authors to which they can sell publishing services and marketing products and services. You can read details about this upselling in Angela’s article, How Some POD Publishers Milk Authors.
Unlike the other operators, we’re not into upselling authors on products and services. The only extra service we have is cover design, and we offer that more out of convenience for the authors than a source of revenue (you can submit your own cover at no extra charge – and we’ll give you a template to help!). Our goal is to get a quality product into the market with the lowest initial investment for the author.
We then try to create an environment that favors book sales. Book sales to the public are where most of our revenue comes from. That way the business interests of the authors are aligned with our business interests. When a sale happens, they make money and we make money.
We feel our approach is a better way to do business. It is a sustainable model for both us and the author because our interests are aligned. And, because we keep the POD setup costs low, it is a low-risk way for an author to test the market for his or her book. If successful, we both win. If it isn’t successful, neither of us lose our shirts – the author is out a few hundred dollars and we’ve covered our labor/setup costs to find out if the book has potential.
Our publishing model is really a low-cost way to get a foot into the market and see if a book has legs. It is not the end game, necessarily. We’ve had several author prove the market using us, and then take the book to a traditional publisher where they can possibly negotiate a better deal. Traditional publishers are more likely to offer a contract to an author who has already proven there is a market for their book.
For more specific information on BookLocker’s services, see our FAQ: Questions About the Services of Our Print-on-Demand and Ebook Publishing Company.
Q. Why do you make authors submit their manuscripts for review first?
The most important reason is that we don’t want to publish junk. As explained above, we depend more on book sales to the public to earn our living than we do on selling publishing services. We need to be putting out quality material so the public will buy from us again and again.
Also, by controlling our inflow of work, it allows us to pay more attention to the authors who are our clients.
Q. How do I submit a manuscript for consideration?
The submission process is two steps.
First, you fill out a form. We’ll use this to create a log of your submission.
Second, after you submit this information, we give you an email address and an ID number. You use that email address to send in a file of your manuscript and you’ll put the ID number in the subject of the email.
We don’t require any special formatting to submit a book for consideration. We only ask that it be a text, pdf, rich text or MSWord document.
All we ask is that you don’t start the process until your manuscript is complete and ready for review.