Lists Are Your Friend


Image by Little Red Press via Not on the High street

I like lists—holiday lists, shopping lists… but today we learnt about the importance of lists within a publishing company.

Kelvin Smith wrote: ‘No publisher would survive for long by publishing too many different types of book within one list or under one imprint. This is why several publishers have several lists (with different imprints) to publish books for different markets’ (2014).

The decision to make a new list is made by the senior management as they need to make sure they have the skills and resources for it and need to calculate if it is financially viable. This will then be managed by the commissioning editor.

Profit and Loss sheets (P&L sheet) are used P and Lto estimate the gross and net profit of a book. We had to fill one of these out today, but it baffled me a bit as I had not come across before, but after I spoke to Tony about the bits I didn’t understand, such as miscellaneous costs, it became clearer. We were informed that publishers usually expect up to a 65% gross profit margin before they will consider publishing a book, unless they are selling lots and lots!

Smith, Kelvin, (2014), The Publishing Business: From p-books to e-books,  Bloomsbury Publishing, 17 July 2014, p.92

Email Reply

We also received a reply from the author today, from our task last week:


Our response was probably not the best approach, especially considering the author’s reply. We also looked through some other responses from other people in the class and the best approaches explained that it is ‘standard protocol to release it in hardback first’, that we are ‘committed to producing this book in the best possible manner’.  ‘We have contacted the… Sales Representative, about enquiring about re-ordering more copies of his book to Waterstones’ and we hope that we have ‘alleviated [his] concerns’. This results in the author feeling reassured that the publisher cares about publishing his work and that we are trying your best to sell the book in his best interest.



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