In 2005, we knew we could build a better mousetrap. Then, by October 2006, we did
it. That fall we had two full-time employees and maybe five authors. Today, we have
27 full-time and 10 part-time employees. Our author list is more than 1,500 titles
(in our Mill City Press division). In 2009, Hillcrest Media Group became the majority
shareholder of Mill City Press. Hillcrest provided a powerful backend for Mill City
Press and the technical expertise to grow and provide authors more and better services.
For example, Hillcrest's patent-pending eBook conversion and publishing system (PublishGreen.com)
has been integrated into Mill City. Being part of the Hillcrest family of publishing
companies allows Mill City Press to offer much more than a single-focused self-publishing
company ever could.
We didn't need venture capital groups, a bunch of MBAs, or the unlimited budget
of a massive corporation in order to figure how to do it right. It was simple, really.
THE BATTLE TO LOWER PRINTING COSTS FOR AUTHORS
In order for self-published authors to have a shot, they have to be able to set
their book's retail price at a level competitive with comparable titles in their
genre. When we entered the industry in 2006, the printing markups were astronomically
high - on average 75-100%. This one fact made it virtually impossible for authors
to ever price their books correctly, thus crushing real chances for sales (other
than to family and friends). Since almost every self-publishing / print-on-demand
company uses the same printer, we knew exactly what everyone else paid. Instead
of marking up printing by outrageous percentages, we did what no other company ever
dreamed of doing -- we charged the exact wholesale price for print-on-demand. Yes,
we chose to give up a profit center in order to help authors. Unlike other companies,
we don't tell you that you can price your book at whatever you’d like (to make up
for huge printing markups) and still get people to buy it. That's simply not the
way the world works.
THE FIRST TO BRING 100% ROYALTIES TO AUTHORS
It's hard to believe that only five or so years ago, not one self-publishing company
offered true 100% net royalties. Today, it's more common. Imitation is the sincerest
form of flattery. Again, our philosophy was simple -- the author is taking all of
the up-front financial risk, so why shouldn't he or she get all of the rewards?
A true 100% net royalty means that after third-party sales and distribution fees
(e.g., Amazon's fee, a wholesaler's fee, printing fees , etc.), all the rest of
the money made on the sale of a book goes to the author. Many companies copied our
“100% royalties” but left out one important fact -- when they told their
authors to calculate their “100% royalties”, these companies failed
to mention that they were actually marking up the print cost by 75-150%. So, yes,
authors were getting a 100% net royalty, but only after the publisher had double-dipped.
CRAFTSMANSHIP FROM REAL PROFESSIONALS
We have in-house graphic designers (who handle book covers and interior formatting).
We have an in-house editing staff. We have an in-house PR department. Our marketing
department is in-house. See a pattern here? We know what it takes to make a great
book. We always provide our authors with industry-leading advice in order to give
the author's book the best chance of success.
Every company offers print-on-demand distribution through online retailers. At Mill
City, we go a step further and, for those authors who want and need that extra push,
offer expanded distribution options that include pitching the author's book to wholesalers,
retailers, and libraries. Most companies don't offer this because it's not easy.
But, through Hillcrest, we are able to connect to dozens of wholesalers and retailers,
and also provide our own website fulfillment service.
At Mill City Press, you can be published under one of our imprints or can publish
under your own company name by getting your own block of ISBNs.
BOOK MARKETING INNOVATION
At the end of the day, whether you're self-published or a mid-list author at a major
publisher, you have the same issue -- how to get potential readers to find out about
your book. Mill City Press and our parent company, Hillcrest Media, continue to
invest in and develop methods to target potential readers. We want online customers
already searching for topics like yours to find and purchase your book. Hillcrest
Media owns 1,200+ publishing-related domain names and in 2012 will be launching
dozens of specialized directories for specific book genres. Our book directory,
Published.com, is going to serve as a platform for connecting authors directly to
bloggers. And, we have a partnership with a 100+ store coffee chain that is dedicated
to marketing and promoting independent authors to a new potential consumer base.
WHY MILL CITY PRESS?
We believe every book should have a chance to compete in the marketplace. To ensure
that, we combine our knowledge and experience in traditional book publishing with
innovative book marketing. We provide real advice and help every step of the way.
- Wholesale printing costs on any size book order
- 100% royalties (after third-party retailer's fees)
- Use our ISBN or yours
- Patented eBook conversion and distribution
- Real-time sales, royalty, and inventory reporting
- Opportunities for traditional book distribution
- In-house editorial, production, and retail sales teams
- We won't sell you what you don't need or can't use
- Complete transparency - every fee is disclosed up front and we encourage you to
read our contract