Navigating the waters of getting your work published is multi-faceted, and can often be overwhelming. We hope the information below is helpful as you chart your journey.
PLEASE READ THROUGH THE FAQ IN FULL BEFORE YOU MAKE YOUR SUBMISSION OR ASK US QUESTIONS. THANK YOU!
What types of projects does South Main Media publish?
We publish fiction and non-fiction works from both seasoned and first-time authors and artists. We are selective, and look for projects that have a positive message, and are intentional to encourage and challenge the reader and listener to grow in their Christian faith, while also influencing the culture with a compelling, 7 Mountain and Kingdom narrative.
South Main Media will not publish any work that has been previously published elsewhere, contains profanity, is slanderous or puts you or us at risk for libel, is still under legal contract with another publisher, violates copyright laws, infringes upon the rights of any third parties, contains content used without permission from other parties, contains lewd or sexual pictures or situations, contains sex and drug paraphernalia, has nudity showing any private body part, has excessive violent language or imagery, or promotes a narrative against Christian Biblical or US Constitutional principles, morals, and values.
Please note that all non-fiction books containing historical references must be fully cited from original source documents. Blogs and Wikipedia are not acceptable forms of citation.
WHAT GENRES DOES SOUTH MAIN MEDIA PUBLISH?
WHAT WE DO PUBLISH:
+ NOVELETTES & NOVELLAS
+ SHORT STORY COLLECTIONS
+ SCIENCE FICTION
+ HISTORICAL FICTION
+ POETRY COLLECTIONS
+ CHRISTIAN DEVOTIONALS
+ CHILDREN'S BOOKS
+ CHRISTIAN STUDY GUIDES & WORKBOOKS
+ COFFEE TABLE BOOKS
+ TRAVEL BOOKS
+ MUSIC RECORDED & ENGINEERED BY SOUTH MAIN STUDIOS
WHAT WE DO NOT PUBLISH:
+ HORROR, WITCHCRAFT, OCCULT
+ MURDER MYSTERY
+ FOREIGN LANGUAGE BOOKS
+ MEDICAL OR HEALTH-RELATED BOOKS
+ TECHNICAL BOOKS
+ DICTIONARIES, ENCYCLOPEDIAS, OTHER REFERENCE BOOKS
Is there a submission fee?
Yes. Each submission that you send to us for consideration has a $25.00 (in USD), non-refundable submission fee. There is a link on the submission form for PayPal. Any submission that is sent without the submission fee is automatically rejected, and will not be reviewed.
Does my submission have to be in a digital format? Can I fax you my manuscript, or send it in the mail?
Your submission and all subsequent manuscript proofs must only be submitted in PDF and open document formats. We do not accept faxes, or manuscripts sent through the mail. All images must be in digital format, according to our image guidelines*.
Do I have to send you my entire book for consideration?
Yes. We want to read your whole manuscript, from beginning to end. Placeholders for forthcoming illustrations, images, and photographs must be included in your submission and clearly marked, so we know your page count. All images must adhere to our publishing and image guidelines*.
What if I have an idea for a book, but I'm not done with my manuscript? Will you consider my idea?
No. We will not review blogs, notes, or anything other than a full manuscript, complete with images and/or image placeholders.
Can I use a pen name?
Yes, you may use a pen name on your book. We do require your real name on your submission form, and for our records.
Do I need to have a reliable and working email address?
Yes. The bulk of our correspondence will transpire over email. The rest of our correspondence will happen over the phone, and in some cases, in person.
Am I required to have a literary agent in order to submit a work for consideration?
Can I send you an unsolicited manuscript?
Unless stated otherwise on our website, we are currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts.
What style guide do you require if I'm citing other sources in my book?
We require all source citing to adhere to the guidelines of The Chicago Manual of Style. This includes Biblical citing. For your convenience, the guidelines can be found here
Does my book have to be a certain number of pages in order to be considered? Is there a maximum page count?
Novelettes and short children's stories, such as picture books, will generally have a word count up to 13,000 words. We weigh each manuscript submission according to the appropriate page count for the genre, whether it tells a narrative in line with our vision, and whether the story has a good cadence and is told in completion. To calculate your word count, you can use the word count function within your software program, or you can use one of the numerous online word count calculators. If your book is over 250,000 words, it may be appropriate to split your manuscript into multiple books. Please see our Pricing
page for more information on page count and package pricing.
When will I know if my book was accepted for publishing?
You will be contacted within 6-8 weeks of your submission if we are either interested or not interested in publishing your project. During our high production times, or if your submission occurs close to a US holiday, it may take a little longer to hear back from us. We will let you know via email if we are interested in your project as is, or if our interest is contingent on you being willing to make some minor additions and/or revisions to your manuscript, or to meet a minimum of missing and necessary publishing criteria. We will not send invitation or rejection letters via USPO, or in paper format. If your email bounces back more than twice, we will not make additional attempts to resend.
An invitation letter requesting minor edits may include a contingency of adding illustrations, photographs, and/or other visual aids to deepen or complete your narrative, which is particularly important when submitting autobiographies, testimonial and life story-type manuscripts. This contingency may also include adding additional story content to increase your word count in order to meet publishing minimums and book trims guidelines for printing.
An invitation letter requesting major edits may include a contingency that necessitates a complete overhaul in storylines, character development, or more broad rewrites in some or throughout all of the manuscript. In this case, we are telling you that we like your story and we are interested in publishing you, but your manuscript would need to be updated per our recommendations, and resubmitted with another $25 fee in order for us to to move forward.
I'm getting impatient but it hasn't been 8 weeks since my submission. Should I contact you to see if you've read my manuscript?
Due to the volume of submissions, applicable holidays, and/or our production flow, we ask that you do not call or send us emails to ask if we've read your manuscript. We promise we will send you a reply, and won't leave you in the dark.
If my book was rejected, can I send in a revised book, or different book at another time?
We welcome you to try again if you're willing to revise your project to meet our suggestions and/or required criteria. As stated above, if you choose to resubmit your revised project, you will need to let us know in the comments section on the submission form that you made the revisions
. Revised submissions require a new submission fee of $25.00/each, USD.
Once my book is accepted, how long does it take for me to see it published?
This time frame has many moving parts, and cannot be nailed down to an exact date until your work is closer to being finished. Once we receive all of your materials and understand your vision, we will next discuss a formal project plan. We require that our authors meet deadlines as requested, as having timely communication between us and meeting those deadlines certainly helps to keep your project on track. Also of consideration is the length and complexity of your book, the number of edit cycles necessary, our production volume, and the turnaround of the print vendor. As a courtesy, as a South Main Media author you will have a login on our website to track the stages of general progress of your project.
Please note that we do, of course, have grace if you encounter personal emergencies where you require extra time to turnaround content requests. In the case of financial emergencies mid-publishing, we also have grace. Understandably, financial emergencies will require us to suspend our services if there are any outstanding or due monies on your part, to include our editing, layout, promotional design, printing, etc., until those obligations are met. When they are satisfied, we will then put you back into our current production schedule at the earliest juncture, which may or may not be delayed due to other projects that have assumed your time slot. A suspension or break due to missed turnarounds and/or personal or financial emergencies will logically result in a continuation and completion of our services past our previously discussed timeline, and a pushed back book release.
Do I need to buy my own ISBN barcode? What IS an ISBN barcode?
ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. Every book, eBook, and CD has one, and it's used around the world to identify those works in a standardized format. You must have an ISBN barcode for your printed book, and one or more separate ISBN barcodes for your digital book. South Main Media will supply your ISBN barcodes for you.
Can I choose what size book I want?
We will make size recommendations that are appropriate for your budget, book's length, binding, and genre.
Do you layout, edit, and proof my book for me?
Yes. We will do all of your layout, editing, and proofing, to include structural revision suggestions, copy editing, and proof editing. Please do not use your own editors after we accept you as a South Main Media author.
Will you design my book cover?
Yes. If we are the publisher of your book, it is contractual that we will also design your book and media promotionals. If you have artwork or images you would like to include on your cover, or you have written a picture book and illustrated the cover, you will need to submit the artwork and/or images to us according to our image guidelines*. The final cover design will be done by us, either using or not using your provided images, as appropriate.
Can you do my illustrations, too?
Yes, but it is on a case-by-case basis. We have several in-house illustrators with specific styles who may or may not be a good fit for your story. If we are not a good fit, you will need to provide your own illustrations, according to our image guidelines*.
What if I publish with another company, but I'd really like to use one of the South Main Media illustrators for my book?
We won't be offended. If one of our illustrators is a good fit for your story, we'd be happy to bridge that connection for you.
If you offer graphic design for promotionals, as well as, illustration, can you also design a website for me and host it, even if I don't publish my book with you?
Yes. With a worldwide client base of Fortune 500 companies, Mindwatering can both design your website and also host it for you. Please see our Mindwatering
and Mindwatering Hosting
websites for more information.
If you'd only like to hire us for your promotionals, or to design your book or CD covers, simply let us know when you submit your questions through the Submissions and Questions form link at the bottom of this page. Instead of working under the South Main Media banner, you'd work with us under the Mindwatering
banner. Our Mindwatering policies are found here
, for your convenience.
What if I would like an audio book? Don't tell me you do that, too?
Indeed, we do. Visit South Main Studios
for additional information.
Will I have to sign a contract? Are there any costs up front, besides a submission fee?
Yes to both questions. You will sign a Statement of Work/Contract with South Main Media. Your contractual total is due in full
before we render any publishing services and begin actual work on your project. When it comes time to choose the quantity of books you would like to order, the cost of the printing order, along with any applicable taxes and shipping and handling, is due in full
before we send your book to print. An increase in scope on publishing services, and à la carte design promotionals, website development, and/or hosting for your website will be invoiced separately, if added at a date after your initial contract. All balances must be paid in full before any project goes to print.
Do I own my story copyright if you publish it?
Yes. South Main Media does not take ownership of your copyright. You are contracting with us to distribute, advertise, and duplicate your work, and you are responsible for any legal copyrighting. For more information about copyrighting your work, visit http://www.copyright.gov
Do I own my illustrations if you publish my story?
Yes, unless you have a different agreement with your own illustrator. It is exceptionally rare for illustrators to retain copyright on images they created for placement in books. Predominantly, illustrators are "work for hire" only, whereas they are hired to complete a job (illustrations) according to the specifications stated within their contractual agreement, and then they release those illustrations to the publisher and/or author. The illustrator will not be able to use their illustrations for another project; however, they will be able to showcase those illustrations in their portfolio as part of their body of work.
Do you work with illustrators who want to retain their copyright?
No, we will only work with book illustrators who are "work for hire."
Will I get an advance on my book?
No, we do not give advances.
How is the individual price of my book determined?
The price of your book is determined by page count, printing costs (such as trim size, full color vs. black/white, and paper stock), and net profit margin.
Will I receive royalties?
Yes, you will receive royalties as you sell your books within the distribution channels. Each distribution channel has their own schedule matrix of royalties, according to whether you sell digital or print copies. As your publisher, your royalties will be sent to us, and then we will send them along to you.
Our goal is for you to be as successful as possible, and we will help you navigate your best options for selling your book at your highest profit margin.
When do I receive my royalties?
Your royalties are typically calculated on a quarterly basis, based upon each calendar year. Royalties are only paid if the amount is above a minimum monetary threshold. Of course, your book's retail price to cost ratio has to be high enough to make you royalties.
Do you publish authors that do not live in the USA?
We do not generally publish authors outside of the United States. In addition, we do not publish in any language other than English.
Will I need social media promotionals for my book?
Yes, it's strongly recommended, as social media is the standard gateway to worldwide visibility.
As a bonus add for our authors, South Main Media includes two FREE
digital promotionals with both of our base packages. Included is one digital promotional for social media (appropriate as an in-feed image on your social media profile, or to send with emails, etc.), and one digital banner/header promotional to be used on your Facebook page. The digital files of your promotionals will be put into a DropBox
folder for you to download after your final book goes to print. It will be up to you to apply promotional pieces to your own social media accounts.
Additional social media promotionals, or a website, can be quoted and designed à la carte, at any time. We'd love to be your one-stop-shop for all of your promotional needs!
What about print promotionals?
Print promotionals are essential to have if you plan on selling your book through local distribution channels. The full color, print-ready digital files of any print promotional piece you order will be put into a DropBox
folder for you to download and print on-demand through your own vendor at the quantity, cost, and timeline of your choice. Additional print promotionals can be quoted and designed à la carte, at any time.
Does South Main Media advertise my book once it's published?
Yes. We will advertise your book on the South Main Media page on Facebook for the first 3 months after your project is released. Your digital promotional, the same one we send to you, will remain on our Facebook page for as long as you remain a South Main Media author. You will also be listed as one of our authors on our website, and you will be asked to provide a bio and a picture for that listing. Those details will be given to you during the publishing process. Depending on the distribution channel, you can choose to purchase their advertising opportunities, their catalogs, conferences, etc, as desired.
How many personal copies of my book can I have?
You can have many as you'd like to order. As your publisher, we will keep on hand 10 print copies of your book to sell on site, and to have available for direct orders through South Main Media. When we order the quantity of books you designate, we will add these 10 additional books to your order, which will be paid for by you. We carry your books on consignment, and you will receive your net profit for books sold directly through South Main Media on the same schedule as your royalties.
How do I reorder my book if I run out? How do local retailers order or reorder my book?
As your publisher, your book orders and reorders are made through South Main Media. Retail stores can order either through South Main Media directly, or through the distribution channels.
Will I be able to see who has purchased my book?
No, but you should be intentional to keep an eye on your online and social media book reviews. We inform you of the number of books that were sold within a distribution channel (e.g. 2,398 eBooks on iBooks, or 432 softcovers through Amazon.) Your South Main Media royalty report, typically generated for you quarterly, will indicate how many of your books were sold through the retail channels where your books are available.
Will I see my book at actual local bookstores and libraries?
It is up to you, and how hard you want to work to make that happen. You are always your very best advertising because it's your voice, and your story to tell. Local bookstores love to have local authors on their shelves, and the opportunities for book readings and signings are only as far away as you willing to build relationships with the owners and staff at those entities. We strongly encourage you to become a regular patron at your area bookstores to both support their businesses, and also to expand and strengthen those relationships. With libraries, they will usually have a website where you will be able to locate a link for submissions into their collection. They also take notice when people continually request a title, so get your friends and family involved in some phone calling. Both retailers and libraries also weigh online book reviews and sales, so these numbers are important. But let us offer a word of advice when pounding the pavement: Be sincere! Be ready to enthusiastically talk about your book when asked, but don't be aggressive, and always take each "no" gracefully. A "no" now doesn't equate to a "no" forever. You are a writer, and you'll have more stories to tell, and people recall how you treat them. Remember, building your reader base is never a sprint. It's often more of a slow, but wonderful marathon!
Where will my book be available?
South Main Media publishes your book so that it's available on the worldwide market for digital download, and available to order in print, everywhere fine books are sold. This includes major distribution channels such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. Even if your book is not on the physical shelf at a book store, a customer can order it. We will also keep copies of your book in our own on-site bookstore. You should also make sure you have a readily available supply of your book with you, so you can sell it directly.
What things can I do to boost my sales and exposure?
Besides remaining positive, leverage both your online reviews and social media. We encourage that you rally everyone you meet who has read your book to get online as soon as possible and write a review for your book or music everywhere they can - on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Every single review adds up, and the more you receive, the higher the likelihood you will increase your sales and demand for your book. We do not encourage being unethical about this. Don't ask people to write a review if they haven't read your book or listened to your music.
+ ALL IMAGES MUST BE SUBMITTED IN DIGITAL FORMAT, AT 300 DPI, OR GREATER.
+ ALL BLURRY IMAGES WILL BE REJECTED.
+ WE ASSUME ALL IMAGES YOU SUBMIT BELONG TO YOU, OR YOU HAVE PERMISSION TO PUBLISH THEM.
+ ALL IMAGES MUST BE SIZED APPROPRIATE TO THE BOOK TRIM SIZE. IN OTHER WORDS, WE CANNOT SCALE A 2" x 3" IMAGE LARGER IN ORDER TO FIT A 5.5" x 8.5" PAGE.
Do you still have questions, or are you ready to submit your work? Here is our Submission and Questions form.