Telemachus Press is a work for hire POD and ebook publishing company that I heard a bit about a couple of years ago when I won a grand prize author package from Bookbuzzr in 2011. For the review I will be discussing their ebook service since that was the service I used. I did not use their POD service so it will not be reviewed, but I will mention it later.
Telemachus Press was the publisher who formatted and published the ebook version of Escape from Ancient Egypt. The ebook version also has a lot of artwork, but due to the smaller nature of ebook interior formatting the same types of problems that presented themselves for the print did not occur.
Disclaimer: The review is based on my overall experience with the publishing process. The prize winnings via Bookbuzzr have no influence over the integrity of the review.
The contract is very straight forward and easy to understand. There is nothing hidden in clouds of legalese and everything is disclosed up front. No cloak and dagger/bait and switch stuff here.
All author accounts belong to the author regardless if they set them up for you.
Authors own and have access to all digital files. What you pay them to create for you, you own. You can ask for these after publication or at any time at no additional cost.
TP doesn’t take any royalties from the author after retailer fees (i.e. Amazon.com). So the author takes home the profit.
You will send in your manuscript as a word document, and you are encouraged to have it edited. They do have editing services available to you should you need an edit which I will touch on briefly. I sent this in with all the artwork in place where it was supposed to be. The ebook service does include a custom cover with up to 5 included stock photos, but since I already had a cover, I simply had one alteration done to it. It takes as many tries as it takes until you are happy with your book.
All of the artwork and text is formatted for Amazon’s KDP platform and for Smashwords premium distribution. During formatting, if there may be minor things that slipped past the editor, author, and proofreader (it happens), they will also correct these for you at no additional cost.
You are sent files to preview for approval before they will be published. Once approved TP will upload these to Smashwords and KDP. For Smashwords, TP will make certain that the files are approved for the premium catalog before everything is considered complete. This can be the most frustrating part about working with Smashwords at times.
TP is very key on quality which is good. If something doesn’t look or work right they will let you know and take steps to fix it if possible.
TP has great customer service. They respond to you emails in a timely manner and they don’t harass you relentlessly. They don’t call you unless it’s really necessary or if they set up a time with you ahead of time. They usually communicate by email. Everyone I have had contact with have been very friendly and helpful.
The website is easy to navigate and looks very professional. Very user friendly.
Other Services of Interest:
POD: TP also offers POD services through LS for paperback, hardcover, or both. However, do you really make 100% royalties through their POD model? For more info about their figures click here. Actual printing costs can be $.013-.015 per page and $.90 for a paperback cover for a regular 6X9 paperback book. Anything over that then the publisher is marking up the book, and when that happens, the publisher is pocketing money that is actually yours, if they claim to be giving you 100% royalties. Based upon what I see on their website, TP is the only other publisher that is really giving you 100% royalties and not marking up printing and without having to do it yourself.
Editing: For more information about their editing services click here. Since I did not use their editing service, I don’t know how good it is. You are free to use your own editor, which I did. My assessment of the editing cost is that it is a bit steep from what I consider the ideal for indie publishing, but it is isn’t in the ridiculous range. My figures for basic edit: .008 to .015 per word, a line/content/stylistic edit: .01-.035, and developmental/substantive edit: .035-.045. If you haven’t found your own editor yet, this is definitely an option. A higher price for editing is better than having no edit at all; editing is not the place to skimp.
Marketing Helps: These come at no additional cost and are included with your services. You can post any achievements or upcoming events on their publicity blog. They do have a catalog on their site in which they will list your books and their formats with purchase links and links back to your site. They don’t offer marketing services, so it it will still be up to you to market your book. Remember this is still self publishing.
Spark: For more information click here. Another and newer form of their ebook publishing service. The service I got for free actually would retail for more, but Spark didn’t exist when I won the package. Anyway, from what I read I am not too sure what the difference is between Spark and the other ebook service. I wouldn’t be surprised if the higher priced service went away if it hasn’t already.
For a summary of costs click here. This is in the neighborhood of fair publishing costs as far as POD is concerned–if you are going to hire someone to help you and you not do it on your own, and TP guarantees their work. The other ebook service that is listed isn’t really a good deal–I would go with Spark if I was a paying customer here for ebook publishing. However, only you can judge if they are right for you.
TP offers great service and great quality for anyone who needs help along the way. Everything is easily understood and disclosed up front. The only thing that would make the experience better is if they had a means for their authors to sell their books on the TP website or have a backend ordering system in which people could purchase the author’s book from the author’s website so they could get an even higher royalty without a 3rd party retailer fee. This would be a win-win for TP and for their authors. Who knows, it may be on the drawing board right now or it could be. Of course authors could sell their copies direct via their website, but most newbie and first-timers may not have the know-how to do that or the connections, I know I didn’t.
I would recommend them to other authors to let them judge for themselves.
So rating this was a bit tricky. It wasn’t a perfect 5 and it was better than a 4…
Rating: 4.5 our of 5 Pretty Cool 🙂