Let's talk about the elephant in the room. Morgan James asks for a fee before any publishing-type activities begin. When I was looking into them, I read many articles about this fee and the consensus seemed to be that because of it, Morgan James is a vanity press.
That was my first thought, too.
Though the fiction acquisitions editor, Terry Whalin, said they receive thousands of fiction submissions a year, and only publish five—I was skeptical. I've been in the publishing world for eighteen years; I've had my heart broken before.
But when I started looking at what they were offering me, and what—exactly—the fees entailed, I began to view Morgan James in a new light.
Here's the thing that makes authors balk at the investment requirement: $5,000.
Morgan James says this fee is for the purchase of 2, 500 copies of your book at cost plus $2.
**Cue disgruntled gasps everywhere**
Since there's money involved going FROM the author TO the publisher (which is NOT the way it's supposed to work, we think) people all over the internet vilify Morgan James and accuse it of being a vanity press. Publishers Weekly has had Morgan James on their Top Ten Independent Publishers list several times over the past ten years, because Morgan James IS NOT a vanity press.
"A vanity press/publisher is a publishing house that publishes books at the author's expense."—Webster's Dictionary
Like I said, I struggled to wrap my head around the money up front (well, after the acceptance and contract is signed). I knew I didn't want to go with a traditional publisher because...
I've been self-publishing too long and the idea of giving over control to others gives me the heebie jeebies
Yeah, pretty much just that
However, Morgan James will be my intermediary with bookstores, working to get my books on shelves, AND they'll produce an audiobook.
Have you commissioned an audiobook? Man. In addition to the time commitment to listen to auditions and then to listen to the finished product, it can cost up to $600/per finished hour! It could easily cost me 5k just to produce an audiobook.
When I think of Morgan James as my publishing PARTNER, it completely changes my attitude. Because they are a hybrid publisher, they manage much of the publishing process, but they don't do anything without involving ME.
"In hybrid publishing, the author pays a press to professionally manage the publishing process."—Sophiee Playle
Not only am I brought into the process, but I'm also allowed to bring my own team with me—so, my PA, or business manager. We all have a voice in the cover design, book design, narrator selection, marketing plan...on and on and on.
That, my friends, is freakin' amazing!
Cover design, formatting, book distribution, and audiobook production for 5k is a good deal. Add to that all the support, education, teamwork, and more that Morgan James brings to the table and I think it's a great deal. Especially for someone like me who enjoys self-publishing and isn't willing to give up total control.
I hope this helps put some of the nay-sayers to rest, and help other authors decide if Morgan James is right for them.
The Morgan James Publishing Process:
Submit query (I pitched my book at a live pitch event, so my process was a little different)
Upon request for full, submit full
Phone call with acquisitions editor to discuss the Morgan James publishing model
Receive sample contract
Send in marketing plans, as well as current social reach
Wait for approval from the publishing board
Receive acceptance phone call!
Receive digital acceptance letter
Send in 5k payment
Receive digital contract to be signed
Receive hard copies of acceptance letter and contract all signed
Receive the dreaded Author Questionnaire
Return completed questionnaire
Schedule Welcome Call!
Welcome Call with Heidi ~ she was very friendly and welcoming
Schedule first author Mastermind with my Author Relations Manager
Stay tuned for more on the publishing process with Morgan James Publishing!