How long does the whole process typically take from submitting my manuscript to you (in Word doc format), to publication (seeing my book in Kindle & Paperback format on Amazon & in Bookshops)?

We aim for four months from the point at which we agree a contract and commence the hard work. It is often quicker, but rarely longer. Traditional publishing houses generally take 12 months.

What generally constitutes a ‘good book’ in your eyes which you subsequently accept under the Thinkwell label?

We don’t accept frivolous works – those with no lasting value. We take on a variety of books (Literary fiction, Academic works, Sports journalism & Commercial fiction) but each must bear the stamp of originality, be well written and provide beautiful insight into a world which ultimately matters.

Does it matter who the author is, whether his/her background is one of academic success, altruistic endeavour and smooth, lustrous sailing?

If you can write, you can write – that’s all we care about. This isn’t an industry tied down or influenced by people’s blemished histories. Great works in many cases are often derived from adversity.

Who ultimately decides whether a book is accepted?

Both editors have very different taste at times, despite the organisation being built on a mutual love of literature. For this reason, if one of us is happy then that is sufficient to proceed with the project. No consensus is needed and overruling each other would simply result in bitterness over ‘what could have been’.

What kind of standards do you have in terms of how the book looks?

The book must look at least equal to the content which won one or both of us over in the first place. We have strict templates which we adhere to. We cannot underestimate the importance of artistic direction, cover design and interior formatting which we have complete control over. An aesthetically pleasing and impressive book is of absolute priority every time we begin a new project. Without it, we would descend into a malaise of ugly books which trash our image and do nothing to invite the reader in or engage with their senses.

Where do the responsibilities sit in terms of proofreading, editing, ‘dressing’ the book, publication and marketing?

A book, to our mind, has numerous sections – often overlooked or forgotten, but equally important otherwise the whole work is tainted. The front cover, spine, back cover (including blurb and ISBN), brief biography, positive quotes from publishers/agents/critics, the title page, copyright page, dedication, quote from another work, list of chapters and, finally, the work itself, represent a beautiful creation, an ordered yet typhoon-like foray into the mind of an author.

We expect, from our stable of writers – each time they produce a new work – a synopsis and the work itself (proofread and of a high standard in terms of self-editing/quality draft). It is not our job to drastically alter an author’s work but maybe indicate where improvements can be made for re-assessment.

Once happy, publication is absolutely our responsibility and we take great delight in adding another work to our stable; one that looks good, reads well and has the air and presence of a professionally-published book.

We will never compete with Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Faber and Faber, Pearson, Simon & Schuster, Bloomsbury, Pan Macmillan and other large publishing houses in terms of marketing, but we will slowly develop a reputation that is envied and revered due to our simple, seductive and innovative offering.

With the label Thinkwell Books, UK, we will grow and get stronger together.

Your ‘Why Thinkwell?’ section talks about “promotional videos, innovative marketing, reputation and word of mouth”? What do you exactly mean by that and what methods do you employ in order to market my book should it be one that fits your label?

The book market is fierce, competitive and challenging. We would never pretend otherwise. Books sell due to large advertising budgets, luck, nepotism, talent, bookshops’ relationships with the established publishing houses (and a nice 55% cut) and reviews which ‘steer’ us in a certain direction – quite often to very ordinary authors.

If your priority is to sell thousands of books overnight, then we’re probably not the right house for you (hundreds is typically our game). It is unlikely that such a high bar, or expectations around sales, will be reached barring a lot of luck and our publications getting into the hands of influential people and media sources (which we, of course, do not rule out). If your priority is to showcase your original – often radical – talent through a beautifully-bound book, however, while hoping (yes, hoping) that such pioneering, authentic work will eventually get its due, then we can certainly help.

It is an ever-crowded market (and average book sales are said to be between 250 – 1,000 depending on where you look), but we endeavour to:

  1. Produce four PROMOTIONAL VIDEOS which help to sell your work via TWITTER.
  2. Conduct an AUTHOR INTERVIEW which allows readers to hear your voice and thoughts thus stoking their imagination and interest.
  3. Focus on PEOPLE in and around the book (be that fiction or non-fiction).
  4. Arrange an AUTHOR EVENING for you given the cooperation and welcoming arm of local bookstores.
  5. Approach magazines / online sources where possible, particularly with genre-specific works and ask for REVIEWS.
  6. Check out the educational establishments attended by our author and ask that they highlight their FORMER PUPIL’s work.
  7. Hand out leaflets amongst theatre goers and other LOVERS OF CULTURE.
  8. Participate in STUNTS – be that posters on old, unused buildings, legal graffiti etc.
  9. Wangle our way into BOOK CLUBS.

We fail, succeed (Lee’s book floated inside the Amazon ‘Politics and Current Affairs’ Top 100 for a few days), feel busted up at times and underappreciated, but we try – we really do try, despite the many stresses in life.

If you still fancy sending us something, then great. If you don’t, that’s fine – we’ll be OK.

We love literature and art of any kind too much to let disappointments, delays, despondency – all of life’s little hiccups – break us.