Why can't I automatically add ebooks for sale on your bookstore?
We differ from booksellers like the MegaCorps™, in that one of our staff and talent scouts will have read and recommended every book we sell. Similar to any old-style family bookstore, we offer a curated choice of interesting books that have tickled our fancy - not all books by every writer under the sun. Our philosophy is that life is too short to read books that don't agree with us. You can read more about our ethos here. Most authors who are selling through OnceWasPaper are approached by out scouts, in store readers and genre experts. We don't want to close off the avenue of being stocked in the shop to indie authors who haven't been approached, though. Hence our process as detailed below.
What are the functional requirements of selling ebooks on Once Was Paper?
- Your book should be written in the English language. We don't currently sell non-English works.
- You must be the creator of the work and own all relevant rights for the book, its cover illustration etc, to offer it for sale through us. We will waive this rule for the legitimate estates of recently deceased authors. Books out of copyright in the UK/USA/EC cannot be submitted unless pre-agreed with us.
- You need to own the world rights to the book you are selling. We don't run technology to filter traffic by country, so theoretically, anyone in the world can purchase your e-books from us. If you've sold Canadian territorial rights to a publisher, but have retained rights to the rest of the world, you shouldn't sell through us, as you might sell copies to Canadians and be in breech of your contract with your publisher.
- You need to be able to provide the ebook to us in either (and preferably both) .mobi and .epub format - these files need to be finished and without production errors. They must be DRM-free. If you are the writer/illustrator of a comic-book, your book will be sold as an Adobe PDF file and needs to be supplied as a DRM-free PDF file. You will also need to supply a well-designed cover .jpg image for use in the store. If you can provide us with a sample chapter or two in PDF format as a free taster, we'll run that too.
- You need to be able to provide 'blurb' copy for the book. This should be unique to our bookstore, as duplicate content shared with other store will get your book page ignored by Google and other search engines. This will hit your work's sales in a negative manner.
- You should be able to upload a file we will supply to you to the author's official web site as part of the identity verification process. This is to stop impersonators trying to sell books they don't own - aka stealing the fruits of the rightful creator.
So, how can I submit my ebooks for consideration for sale in your store?
First, you need to meet the functional requirements above. Second, for the book being submitted, it needs to have passed one of the three quality thresholds listed below.
- You should have received an on-balance positive review from one of our trusted review sources (see list below).
- Your book should have received twenty+ votes in The eBook Suggester.
Please note, that the quality thresholds above are what we need to accept your book for reading and evaluation. Our staff still have to give a thumbs up to your work and feel it fits on our shelves, for it then to be sold through the store. This is a subjective decision, and only a small fraction of the books that have been submitted and read by us are put on the shelves for sale. Don't take a non-stock decision too personally.
We appreciate that having to pass these quality bars is a pain for indie authors, but we are sure that as a writer you are well intelligent enough to appreciate the alternative is unworkable with human curation. By way of example, the Kindle store currently has 400,000 indie titles by authors. If they were all eligible for submission to Once Was Paper and we could read a book a day, it would take ten dedicated staff readers one hundred and nine years each without a weekend or vacation/sick day off to clear the back-log of the current literary snapshot of a single year!
What's a trusted review source (TRS)?
These are publications whose judgement we trust when it comes to reviewing books - at least enough to have a look at a work they recommend for consideration for stocking in the Once Was Paper bookstore. This is the current TRS list...
What kind of works can be submitted?
Just about anything - fiction, non-fiction, magazines, comic-books, role-playing game manuals. If it's format fits in either .mobi/.epub/.pdf format, and it meets our quality thresholds, we can sell it.
Who sets the cover price of the e-book?
You do, although we there is a minimum pricing level of £0.90 to cover processing and download costs. You can also sell your work for free if you want to build an audience who might then go on to buy other works written by you. If your works are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike license or similar, you are welcome to offer them at no cost through our bookshop. As a UK-business, we add VAT tax at 20% to the cost the author specifies.
How will you pay me?
We will pay you by PayPal transfer in GBP (UK £). You can set up a PayPal account for free if you don't already have one. Cheques are being phased out in the UK, so we can't pay you in paper. Somehow, this seems fitting given the virtual nature of the ebook business.
What countries are eligible as the Author's country of residence?
We can accept authors resident in (and citizens of) the following countries - UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and nations with full membership of the European Community (e.g. Germany, France, Spain etc).
How much money will I get?
For all sales successfully completed, we will remit 60% of the cover price net of tax to you (we keep 40% to cover our costs). E.g. if you specify a price of £1, we will sell at £1.20 including tax at the current UK rate of 20%. If a single sale is made, the author will get 60 pence, we Once Was Paper get 40 pence. And the tax-man will take 20 pence to spend on aircraft carriers and semi-illegal resource wars.
When will I be paid?
Amounts owed will be paid to you 4 months in arrears, to allow returns/fraudulent purchases/charge-backs etc to be removed from the total owed. If the amount owed is less than £10, the amount will be rolled over into the next 4 month period.
Okay, I'm cool with everything here... where do I submit?
In the first instance, use the form here. Please note, that if the work being suggested isn't accompanied by a URL to a valid trusted review/ eBook Suggester page that meets our quality criteria as detailed above, the system won't pass the form details onto us... it's auto-filtered out along with the various offers for herbal highs and business opportunities from ex-oil state finance ministers (funny how many of them there are wanting your bank details, isn't it?).