Grosvenor House Publishing – Reviewed Titles – 293 Titles – 298

Grosvenor House Publishing is based in Surrey, England and one of its directors is successful self-published author Graham P. Taylor. The English vicar self-published Shadowmancer in 2002, a children’s novel, and in less than a year, Taylor had signed deals with Faber UK and Penguin Putnam USA. In many ways, Taylor followed the blueprint that all self-published authors should follow. He started selling his work to his local church-goers and after doing public signings and appearances locally, the success of his book slowly grew into a national story itself. His own life is a book in itself, and it must surely have helped in the intrigue of the media and success of his books worldwide.

“Graham states that the main reason for becoming a director in Grosvenor House Publishing was because of his own experience of self-publishing his first novel, Shadowmancer.”

Grosvenor House publishing offer authors a single publishing package priced at £795. Its aim is to include all that is necessary to set-up a book using print-on-demand digital print technology and the author services to make it available to on line retailers and book wholesalers. The package is fully detailed on their website and there is plenty of information available there for an author with questions. There are links to ‘why self publish’, book costs, royalties, costing calculators, as well as a downloadable copy of their publishing contract. The information provided is concise and well-laid out. If I have one qualm, it is, yet again, the lack of books on their website. Authors should also note that Grosvenor do not have an on line retail bookstore facility.

“Whilst we are definitely not guaranteeing you sales in the thousands or financial success like Billy Hopkins or Graham Taylor, the fact is you never know what you and your writing can achieve unless you try. With most publishers refusing to even look at unsolicited manuscripts and literary agents either increasingly deciding not to take on any new un-published authors or because of the sheer volume of unsolicited manuscripts they are sent each month (over 1,000 per month in some cases) they are simply overloaded, is it any wonder that the Billys and Grahams of this world slip through the net?”

What I like straight away about Grosvenor House Publishing and the way they present their services is the balance they have struck with selling author services without overly engaging in the ‘publishing dreams’ hard-sell. It seems that author solution companies consistently fail to get the balance right on their websites and publishing guides when they advertise their services. Far too often in my reviews I encounter companies who decorate their services with unrealisable dreams and promises of success to the author and a general and concerted attempt to make the process of publishing seem austere and complex. There is also the other extreme, where a company will disclose as little as possible about their services, costs and contract details in an effort to present their publishing model as that of a traditional royalty-paying publisher.

“Finally, the only person who can truly decide whether or not your work should be published is you. If like Billy or Graham, some friends and friends of friends have read your manuscript and given you positive feed-back, those comments might well be an indicator that your work is worth pursuing. If on the other hand their responses have been luke-warm at best, maybe your manuscript needs more work done to it, or possibly your talents lie in other areas other than writing.”

Grosvenor House Publishing includes full cover design in their publishing package. The author can submit their own cover or images if they wish and these can be incorporated in the design. Part of the cost saving for Grosvenor is the fact that they allow the author to go on line and use a module to design their own cover. This is something similar to Lulu or Createspace. The 2000 image library seems a little limiting, but the author can upload their own images. To be fair, when I used Lulu last year for one of my books, I certainly do not recall seeing anything like 2000 images available for an author to use. Full interior layout is provided, though interior images come at an additional cost. For a technical book with illustrations, this may be restrictive, and the author would do well to properly cost out the additional charges per interior image.

If you want your book to contain pictures, we can insert these within your interior text. We charge per picture we insert on the initial book set-up and this is a one-off charge.
1-30 images – £5 per image inserted
31-50 images – £4 per image inserted
51-100 images – £3 per image inserted“

Again, the emphasis here is on Grosvenor being at least upfront and open about these charges and not delivering a whammy after the author submits a manuscript and signs the contract. The package also includes the usual PDF proof, ISBN number (registered to Grosvenor), internet distribution for one year, and also wholesale distribution listing with Bertrams and Gardners. In addition, the author gets five free copies and legal registration.

“**We aim to deliver your book within 3 weeks from approval of copy**”

Importantly, this is an aim and not an absolute guarantee of publication of an authors work in this time frame. It also commences from the time the author approves their PDF proof. The package does not provide for proofreading or editing. These services are available for an addition charge. Proofreading is available at £4 per 1000 words and editing at £6 per 1000 words.

Grosvenor does provide what they describe as marketing packages, but author should be aware that this is confined to the printing of posters and postcards and a unique domain name and website. The website package is priced at £299 for just two years hosting space.

“GHP offer every author the chance to purchase their very own website. Choose from 6 styles and simply supply your own text – then leave the rest to us.
No other self publishing company offers this fantastic service.

£299 for 2 years”

Clearly Grosvenor has not been looking at two many other competitors. Quite why any author would pay any author solution company for a website facility at this price is entirely beyond me. These services are available from network providers at a fraction of this price and with user-friendly software tools. Grosvenor and their authors who have taken up this ‘offer’ should bear in mind that authors are not getting a publisher’s book page or a publisher with their own on line bookstore.

Our pricing structure for a paperback book is simple; £1.20 for the cover, and 1p per page. Therefore, if your book is a paperback 5″x8″and has 170 pages, the cost to print one book is £2.90 (£1.20 for the cover, 170 x 1p = £1.70) plus P&P. *Please note there is a minimum print cost of £2.28 per book and the minimum pagination for a paperback is 48 pages.”

Compared to many UK author solution companies, these prices are pretty competitive and only just marginally above Lightning Source’s prices. The math alone already suggests that the Grosvenor author is doing well on the royalty front.

“If you’d like us to post you a sample copy of one of our printed books,
please send a cheque for £5 and we’ll gladly post you a copy.
Should you decide to publish with us, we’ll refund this amount!”

You can also find more detailed costs for bulk print orders for books on Grosvenor’s website.

“Paperback Hardcover
Retail Price £9.99 £16.99
Retailer discount @ 40% £ 4.00 £ 6.80
Balance £ 6.00 £10.19
Costs of printing * £ 3.72 £ 8.02

Author royalty £ 2.28 £ 2.17

* Based on a 252 page book sized 198 x 129 and the price is the same for 1 to 5000 copies of the book. Delivery is an extra cost on top of the above prices.
As you can see from the above example the royalty you receive is 22.8% of the retail price of the paperback book and 12.77% of the hardback book. However, the retail prices (especially the paperback book) are quite a bit higher than you would find for the average book.”

Grosvenor House Publishing is taking nothing based on these examples of book costs. I have seen several author solution companies claim the above royalty as a 100% royalty, but Grosvenor explains royalties the way they should be explained, that is, based on the percentage of a book’s retail price. For authors wishing to order larger print runs, Grosvenor do also use litho offset printing and will quote on this.

A copy of Grosvenor House Publishing’s non-exclusive contract is available and can be downloaded from their website.

Grosvenor House Publishing has a lot going for them. There is no publisher, whether tradition or an author solution service, where an author can say they are a perfect match to their needs. Grosvenor is no different. They really do need a bookstore available to the general public to purchase books and not just for their authors needs. They provide no actual true marketing packages, bar marketing materials for an author to purchase, but they clearly state this on their website and in their contract. Where Grosvenor really does score highly is their retail pricing (on average, between £6-£10 for the average paperback), their royalties, and the fact that they do not attempt to cream money from the author on author book sales when the author has already paid for these services. They do not up-sell, nor charge extra for hardback editions as part of the set-up costs. It is small things like this which really do count to swaying an author in their favour.

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