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The Flying Pen Press Philosophy

By David A Rozansky, Publisher


            Flying Pen Press LLC is the culmination of my twenty years in publishing. I started as a freelance writer, and over the years I stretched my wings and became a journalist, a magazine editor, a public relations writer, and a magazine publisher. Now, modern technology and two decades of experience have led me to the exciting world of book publishing.

            I bring my own philosophy and unique character to this venture, and the company has a business model that is nimble, innovative, and very much my own.

            I can sum it up in a few short sentences; Flying Pen Press shall treat writers with respect. Flying Pen Press shall publish only books of high quality, for the sake of the reader’s time and intelligence. Flying Pen Press shall comply with booksellers’ expectations for simplified distribution and sale of its titles. Capital risk shall be reduced as much as possible, to the point that each title shall bear little or no capital risk. Flying Pen Press is a virtual office, to take advantage of talent all over the world.


Treat Authors with Respect

            There are many different publishers and editors who I have dealt with in my experience as a writer, and I feel that many of them have been unfair or did not fully understand what a writer must do to produce usable text. For this reason, Flying Pen Press is dedicated to giving writers the respect they deserve, through fair negotiations and professional consideration. Royalties are based on the fairest method I can think of, and that is with shares of gross profit; thus, authors are not treated as vendors who need to be cost-contained, but who instead become partners in the book-publishing process so that as the company finds ways to increase profits, authors benefit at the same time. Flying Pen Press also strives to pay higher royalties than its competitors.

            Authors who submit their stories and proposals to Flying Pen Press for publication deserve careful consideration. These authors have taken considerable time to write their novel or create their proposal. While we accept only a small portion of the manuscripts and proposals we receive, all authors deserve to know the actual reason why the material was rejected. Flying Pen Press will never resort to the form rejection letter.

            The authors we do publish become part of the Flying Pen Press family. We not only publish, market and sell their books, we work to help them on their career. I feel confident that when you treat an author like family, he or she will work harder, writer better, and stay with you through many, many books. Loyalty and compassion shown to the author will be repaid in kind, tenfold. In due time, as Flying Pen Press grows, we hope to give the Flying Pen Press stable of authors such benefits as health insurance, office space, and retirement plans. This is all part of our philosophy of treating authors with the greatest respect.


Reduce Risk to Nearly Zero

            Traditionally, book publishing has been a risky business. It required risking a great deal of capital on a large print run. The books would be inventoried, and if the books did not sell well, a publisher would be caught with a large number of books in its warehouse, which would have to be sold at a loss or even thrown away. Fortunately, technology has changed this, and the risk for publishing a book—with our business model—is nearly zero.

            Flying Pen Press makes use of a fairly new technology called Print on Demand, where books are printed only as they are needed, one at a time, complete with cover and binding. In fact, the technology has developed well enough so that readers and booksellers can no longer tell the difference between a contemporarily printed book and a book printed on demand.

            Print-on-Demand Technology, or POD, allows a publisher to eliminate the need for a large print run. This raises the per-book printing costs, but the elimination of inventory risk more than pays for the increased cost. With POD, if Flying Pen Press publishes and book and it flops, and only a few hundred copies are sold, the company does not lose money, because there is no leftover inventory.

            Flying Pen Press also reduces its marketing costs at launch, so that even these capital costs are reduced. Review copies are released on CD-ROM, instead of sending expensive review copies around the country. Likewise, the company uses the Internet to advertise and create buzz about its books. Authors and readers will be able to connect through this very website once it is fully developed.

            Flying Pen Press does not pay advances to authors, nor does it pay flat fees to the various editors, illustrators and other freelancers. Instead, Flying Pen Press offers royalty to all the book’s contributors, based on a share of gross profits. This is probably the most controversial of risk-reduction methods that Flying Pen Press has created. For many writers and freelancers, these are not acceptable terms, as they will need money in advance, instead of waiting on royalties. This is understandable. But for those who have the opportunity and wherewithal to take profit-share royalties, they are rewarded with much higher royalties than our competitors can offer. It also encourages all these contributors to give their best work, as the quality of the final product will directly relate to their compensation.

            By reducing the capital risk to nearly zero, Flying Pen Press and its family of authors begin to realize certain advantages that larger, high-capital companies cannot offer. Because there is little risk in publishing a new author’s work, Flying Pen Press can accept more new authors. Avant garde writing and unusual, niche-market genres are no longer too risky to try. When a title does flop, there is no great loss on our part, and we can still feel comfortable with risking more titles with that same author.

            Print-on-demand technology also gives Flying Pen Press the ability to keep books in print forever, so books that may take longer to develop the right audience can have the chance to do so.


Publish Only High-Quality Books

            There seems to be an unwritten understanding that the more capital a publisher controls, the greater the quality of the book. It is true that almost all major publishing houses focus on quality. They have thousands of submitted manuscripts to choose from, and they have the staff to separate the poor quality from the high quality. On the other hand, the common belief is that smaller publishers—who have less money to spend and a lesser number of submissions—often elect to sacrifice quality, much to the chagrin of the readers, and thus also to the chagrin of the booksellers.

            While there are many small publishers (and a few large publishers) who sacrifice quality, it should be noted that most small presses actually have higher standards than their major-publishing-house cousins. Flying Pen Press is one of those publishers.

            It is important that a publisher of books act as a gatekeeper, so that only the best writing finds its way to publication. Booksellers must find that Flying Pen Press and its imprints represent highly sellable books, and this means great writing, great stories, great ideas. So long as booksellers and readers recognize the name Flying Pen Press as a provider of great books, our company will grow. If the quality falters only once, it takes little time for readers and booksellers to become jaded with our company, and Flying Pen Press would then quickly wither away.

            For this reason, Flying Pen Press chooses its titles carefully, even though we have reduced capital risk. Our reputation is purely the result of our quality, and our success lies purely upon our reputation.


Meet Booksellers’ Needs

            Booksellers have specific needs, and not all publishers meet those needs. In fact, POD publishers in the past few years, who have been mainly subsidy publishers and vanity presses, have failed miserably to meet these needs, and as such, most booksellers came to disdain the letters “POD” in book catalogs. Flying Pen Press recognizes that booksellers have important requirements of publishers, and so we strive to meet and exceed these needs.

            For instance, most booksellers will only stock books that can be returned to the publisher, or at least to the distributor (and in turn, distributors will only stock books that can be returned to the publisher). While a return policy is a considerable risk to the book publisher, it is the nature of the business. Flying Pen Press my be trying to reduce risk at all junctures, but it does not try to pass this risk on to booksellers. We accept returns, because we stand behind the quality of our books.

            We also work only with POD presses that can guarantee speed in fulfilling orders, and which work through all the major book distributors (and many smaller wholesalers). This assures booksellers that books are available when needed. The bookseller does not need special procedures to pre-order, order, receive, stock, sell, return or re-order any Flying Pen Press titles.

            Books need ISBN numbers, great covers, gripping titles, clear classification, and profitable yet reasonable cover prices; or else booksellers will not be able to stock the books.

            Flying Pen Press may be a small-capital, low-risk, POD publisher, but nonetheless, we meet all the requirements that booksellers have, just as any major publishing house does.


Maintain a Virtual Office

            Flying Pen Press has a virtual office, that is, there is no office, there are no employees. Everyone is a contractor, everyone works from a home office or from their own small business, and everyone telecommutes through the Internet. When we have meetings, assuming we are in the same city, we meet in coffee shops, bookstores, restaurants and hotel lobbies, or else we hold conference calls or Internet meetings.

            This eliminates the need to pay for office space, and keeps our accounting simplified. Everyone becomes responsible for their own actions and their own schedule. I can be more accommodating to the personal needs of the virtual staff, and the entire company has a relaxed feel but with a higher productivity than office workers.

            This gives Flying Pen Press instant global reach. Flying Pen Press is international in scope, and its people can reflect this. Talent comes from all over the globe, and as a company with a virtual office, Flying Pen Press can harvest that talent quickly and efficiently.

            The nature of POD also allows Flying Pen Press to print its books anywhere a suitable POD press is located, without need for exporting or importing books, without paying duties or tariffs. Not only can we harvest talent internationally, we can reach readers internationally.


Use Modern Technology

            This goes without saying. The latest technology saves time, saves money, increases productivity, increases quality. Yet many publishers shy away from the changes in publishing technology.

            Many publishers who publish in print are reluctant to publish E-books. However, Flying Pen Press publishes E-book and electronic-text versions of its books, for those who are using their computers and personal devices for reading. We even produce “podcast” and MP3 audio books for some of our titles.

            Because “camera-ready” files for the printer have become so simple to create with modern technology, we can take an author’s manuscript and almost instantly set it to the page the same day we receive the author’s final draft. The page proofs can be printed and reviewed, again, within the same day. It takes about two weeks to finalize the galleys, and that is simply a matter of shipping time. Once the editors and author approve the galley, the book can be released for publication.


Give Back to the World Community

            “Freedom of the Press” is not a freedom, it is an obligation. I have always been a humanitarian, helping those in need in developing countries. My new company, Flying Pen Press, will lead the way in giving a voice to those who suffer in these remote corners of the globe, and to those who help them.

            The Press for Humanitarian Causes is the imprint of Flying Pen Press that publishes books on the subject of human rights, human suffering, and humanitarian volunteerism. Flying Pen Press takes no profit from these books. After printing costs, royalties and costs associated with marketing or distribution, Flying Pen Press donates all remaining profits to the causes that are the subjects of these books.

            Often, publication illuminates the tyranny that hides in the shadow of media blackouts. Publication moves the general public to action that helps the hungry and sick. The forgotten victims of oppression and violence may see publication as their only hope for survival. The cruelest of atrocities—genocide, slavery, human trafficking, political imprisonment, warmongering, death squads, torture—are best fought not with the sword, but with the pen.

            The Press for Humanitarian Causes is a vehicle for all these writings, perhaps the greatest and most necessary of writings that humanity can offer. It has been my greatest dream in life to provide just such a publishing company. It is my reason for creating Flying Pen Press … not because I can, but because my humanity demands it.

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