Questions and Answers from the Publisher of Centaur Books

Based in Chicago, Joshua Tree Publishing is an innovative publisher dedicated to making your dreams of being a published author a reality. Not tomorrow. Not next year. But today. We specialize in works that uplift the human spirit, inspire people to reach for higher goals, and touch the hearts of readers.

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LA Times Book Prizes

Los Angeles Times Book Prizes 2013 Robert Kirsch Award: from left to right: David L. Ulin, Book Critic of LA Times; winner Kevin Starr; Johnathan Kirsch, presenter.
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Is Centaur Books going to charge me to publish my book?

Centaur Books is a traditional publisher. We do not charge authors to publish their books. However, we traditionally publish books which are professionally done. What I mean by that is we look for books that have been professionally edited with an interesting flow. Finally, the book must have a well-defined target audience.

Centaur Books differentiates itself as a source of well-written, edited fiction books. With the proliferation of the vanity presses and those that publish anything without even reading the content, readers are confronted with books which would never have been published if they had been reviewed by a professional. Once a book is out there, you cannot take it back. Ask anyone on social media if they have regrets for posting something.

When we consider publishing a book, we look at the author's track record, their marketing plan for the book, and how serious they are. While publishers can open the distribution channel to bookstores, the person who really sells books is the author themselves. Without their dedication and tenacity, their book is going to flounder. We want our authors to be successful and work closely with them.

I am a first-time author. Will you consider my book?

Absolutely. Every successful writer has started with one book. The difficulty is that writing is a creative process. Publishing is a business. What you are asking a publisher to do is make an investment in you. A typical book will cost us between $10,000 to $15,000.00 to publish. We want the author to succeed and sell books, which is how we get a return on our investment. I encourage first-time authors to contact us and submit their works. Oftentimes, we can assist them in how to move their book to the next level.

Are my books going to be available at bookstores and Amazon?

Centaur Books is distributed by the Ingram Content Group which is the largest in the world. Barnes & Noble and other bookstores are set up to order through Ingram which will fulfill their orders either the same day or next day. Amazon has picked up all our books and are usually in stock. We cannot guarantee your book will be in stock at bookstores. Reader demand determines whether a book is in stock. However, the books are available for order at the stores. And most importantly, we set up each book as returnable by the bookstore which means they will stock your book as demand grows.

My book has not been professionally edited.
Can I still submit it?

Yes you can submit your book. We review books to evaluate their potential. Sometimes we find a book that we are very interested in, but the book needs to be edited. In the normal publishing process, we do a final edit of the book before it goes to press. However, some books, while well-written, do not have a clear message or in fiction, a plot line that intrigues the reader. In those cases where we have an interest in the book, we will suggest to the author to contact a professional editor or coach to bring their book to the level necessary to be traditionally published. Occasionally, we will coordinate the editor and author in order to bring the book to our standards. That is not our preferred method of operating.

Today, if we find a book we want to publish, we will offer the author two contracts: one for editing by an approved freelance editor, guaranteeing our purpose in publishing the book, and the second, a publishing contract. Rather than a rejection letter, the writer has an opportunity to be published...once the book is ready for prime time. So how many times do we offer this opportunity? At this point, about one time in every ten submissions. Yes, that is only 10% but we value those authors and their work. We want to make their dream of being a published author a reality.

Exlibris, iUniverse, Trafford Publishing, AuthorHouse, etc.
(take your pick) want to publish my book.

Congratulations. We do not consider authors who have been published by the vanity or subsidized press. The reason is quite simple. In our opinion, when we have reviewed their various websites and offers, the common denominator seems to be the ability to charge the author's credit card or bank account. If that is successful, then they appear to be interested in looking at the book itself. Secondly, the notion presented about self-publishing your book is very misrepresented. When a publisher attaches their ISBN number to a book, that book is referenced to that publisher. Even though you retain the copyright and can cancel the publishing contract with notice, your book will remain associated with that publisher in Books in Print. Finally, unless you pay them an annual fee (as much as $600-700), most of these "publishers" will make your books not returnable. That will eliminate bookstores from carrying your books. Unless they are returnable, bookstores do not stock books that they cannot return. We suggest you consider why someone would be interested in your book without even reading it.

I have already published my book through CreateSpace, Lulu. Will you still consider my book?

Congratulations. We do not consider authors who have been published by companies that do not even read the books they publish. While many good authors have chose this path, the problem is that they are grouped with all the books that no one has ever vetted. Everybody in the publishing business knows that anyone can publish a book with Amazon's CreateSpace or Lulu without any regard to the content. While it may get your book in print and on Kindle, you are not considered a published author. Finally, CreateSpace offers Expanded Distribution so bookstores can order your book. The problem is that the books are not returnable so bookstores will not stock your book.

Recently, a very good author submitted her books which she had published in both print and digital format with CreateSpace. I felt so sorry for her. I do not know about you, but I have seen very few fiction books in 8-1/2" x 11" format. Of course, all she did was upload her Word file. Yes, she was published...and there was a reason why she contacted Joshua Tree Publishing and Centaur Books. We were not interested. It was too late.

I self-published my eBook through Amazon, BookBaby, etc.

Congratulations. We do not consider authors who have already published their books in digital format. In order to promote our authors, we publish both printed and digital formats, such as Kindle, iBooks, ePub, etc.