Fiction4All was established in February 2005. It seems a long time ago now, but the reason for setting up Fiction4All is as fresh in my mind today as it was back then. At the turn of the century I decided to do what a lot of wannabe writers do – they write a story. That took a year or more of my life and then I started the daunting process of looking for an agent – without success. Undeterred I then decided to send my precious script off to a number of well-established publishers here in the UK, where I am based, and you guessed it – before long the rejection letters from some started to arrive. Then of course there were the organisations that never bothered sending any form of reply. By chance, and an ill-wind I spotted an advert in a newspaper for a publisher seeking authors and I jumped at the opportunity. At the time I had never heard of vanity press so it was inevitable I would fall for it. They wanted just over £2000 to get my book published in print (the internet was not a major player in those days) and they promised the earth – book signings, advertisements and so on. So I paid them the £2000 and waited. And waited. To cut a long story short, my book, which was a private investigator story, that the publisher’s review panel had lauded (yes I know it was a con now, but at the time it felt great to get a positive response), sold exactly 4 copies in the first year and then they decided to kill it off! That was the final straw for me – they took £2000 for effectively nothing.
So, some head scratching later, and a chance contact with another author who had been similarly treated, and I decided to do something about it. The big publishers were apparently seldom interested in new, aspiring authors, and the only alternative option seemed to be the trap I, and countless others, had fallen into.
Fiction4All was established with a view to making it relatively easy for authors to see their work on sale without it costing them a fortune to do so. Actually, the ethos of Fiction4All was to make it free for an author to get their book published – the advent of the digital age made this easier than some might believe possible. So, going the route of selling online, the model I started with was if a book sold online then it was worth creating a print edition, even though at the time things were not as straightforward as they are today.
For several years now, Fiction4All has been busy acquiring other UK publishers and their imprints, and for the sheer need to make money by selling what people were buying online, this involved a foray into the world of adult fiction. Over a few years Fiction4All acquired three well-established publishers from the world of adult fiction, namely The Olympia Press, Silver Moon Books and BDSM Books. Together with their authors and contact lists, this made it possible for us to grow into a wider market, exploring the growing number of websites selling this kind of material, while at the same time reminding ourselves of our roots in General and Young Adult fiction.
So, to 2019. At this point we split our adult/erotica publishing from the kind of books now available on Fiction4All.
At this point in time Fiction4All has about 800 authors who we have published or acquired from the above publishers. Not all these authors continue to write but a significant number do and on a regular basis. We have a substantial online presence with well over a dozen active domains and we distribute our own author books on sites such as Amazon/Kindle and Barnes & Noble, Nook and various other sites.
As of 2020 through our non-erotic imprints on Fiction4All we publish books in 4 sizes:-
Micro books range from 5000 to 15000 words
Short stories range from 15000 to 25000 words
Novellas range from 25000 – 45000 words
Novels are any book over 45000 words
All books, with very few exceptions, are firstly created and sold as digital editions, and distributed on 3rd party sites such as Amazon, depending on content.
For novels and novellas, we will consider each book on its own merit for the creation of a printed edition, which is usually a Format B paperback (129 mm wide by 198 mm tall). More recently we will also consider creating a paperback edition within Amazon, providing we can first get the digital edition accepted by them.
Until 2019 we had never charged authors for any of the services we have provided, but it has become apparent we are dealing with two very different kinds of authors these days and the time has come to require payment for editorial services from those authors who need help with their works.
Many of our authors clearly take pride in what they write. They evidently take time and trouble to follow instructions for the presentation and formatting of their works. They also check for things like name consistency, spelling and grammar, and many of these authors also provide their own cover image for us to use both in the digital domain and in print.
Over the last few years there has been a growing number of authors who seem to think it is acceptable to produce their manuscript to a format that suits them, with the use of weird and wonderful fonts and sizes. It is obvious they have little regard to spelling or grammar (and we are happy to accept English dialects that include British, Canadian, American and Australian) and, sadly, we have seen the number of these kinds of scripts submitted to us on the increase. With modern day word processors it is not acceptable to just send a first draft unchecked to any publisher.
Accordingly we have decided to change the way we handle scripts. It is easy to spot scripts submitted by the first kind of author. They have clearly read and followed our guidelines and their submissions are more or less exactly what we want to receive so require only modest effort from our editors to make them publishable in both digital and print formats. These authors will continue to be handled by us without any cost to them to get their work published as quickly as possible.
Where we receive scripts that are clearly not presented as we require them, as stated in our style guide, we will return the script to the author giving them the chance to remedy their own works or for them to pay for editorial services, either supplied by ourselves or someone else they prefer to use. We have professional editors ready to assist with this work, and as you would expect they are doing this to earn money so authors should expect to pay these editors for their time. The costs are not huge, certainly nothing compared to the costs I originally incurred nearly 20 years ago! But it really has become important that we do not get inundated with substandard scripts that simply place a huge drain on our resources when we should be spending those resources on authors who are happy to work with us and submit their scripts in the format we require. With more and more authors looking for us to publish their work it has become imperative that we impose submission standards on everyone, from the absolute newbie author to our best-selling authors. I hope you understand.
So, please take time to absorb the information in our style guide, it is there to make it quicker to get your book published in both digital and where appropriate, print formats.