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frequently asked questions
about the Publishing House
- When and why was FACP established?
The Press was established in 1976 to promote, encourage and provide the widest possible audience for Western Australian writers and artists. It has grown into an innovative, successful and important publisher of quality Australian writing.
- How would you categorise yourself as a publishing house?
We pride ourselves on being Australia’s finest small publishing house with a strong and diverse list and a good sense of design.
- What are the categories you publish in?
The principle focus is on high-quality paperback literary works of prose and poetry, social history, autobiography and biography. In 1991 the Press began publishing picture books for children under its Sandcastle Books imprint, and in 1994 introduced a program of fiction titles for young readers. Most recently the Press has developed a strong trade list, including several photographic works.
- How do you see yourself in relation to bigger publishing houses?
We are strongly competitive, with a longstanding reputation for quality and a diverse and interesting list. Many of our titles have received awards, nationally and internationally.
Advantages – our size and location allows us to be dynamic, and have a close and personal relationship with our authors (most of whom live in Western Australia).
Disadvantage – the bigger companies do not have the cash flow problems that always beset the smaller companies. Their production and marketing budgets are of a size that we can only dream about.
- How and who do you market your books to?
Our books are marketed outside Western Australia by Penguin Books Australia. Our own sales rep is responsible for the WA trade. Penguin Books New Zealand represent us in that country and we have distribution agreements in North America and Europe.
about the production process
Making the physical book requires three main things: a schedule, a budget, and the specs of the book itself, it’s content and form. All three are closely interrelated. The production manager's role, then, is to help ensure the following:
- Book comes in on or under budget
- Book comes in on time
- Book is physically flawless, is as accurate as possible and looks good.
- What are the primary factors in determining a budget for a book?
The actual production costs account for a big chunk of total expenditure. To forecast a total cost and to keep track of all the expenditure, we prepare an initial cost sheet right at the beginning of the process. The print cost is the biggest bill, but costs of structural and copy-editing, proofing, illustration, including scanning costs, any extra design work that may be necessary, indexing costs if relevant, and author royalties must all be taken into account. Total costs and the proposed print run are used to calculate the recommended retail price of the book. This preliminary estimate is reviewed as actual costs are incurred and quotes received.. Author royalties may vary but the ASA recommendation of 10% of the selling price excluding GST may be used as a rough guideline. Trade discounts range from 35-45% off the RRP, dependant upon the extent of business individual stores may conduct with us - obviously larger scales of business attract greater discounts! Our print runs start from 3,000 copies and vary according to individual titles and our estimates of the potential market. Our books are printed in Western Australia, interstate and occasionally overseas. Projecting those costs and then monitoring them is a big part of a production person’s day.
- How do you market your books
Our Marketing Manager creates awareness in the media through ads, posters in bookstores, bookmarks, reviews in publishing magazines and the press, and national and international book fairs. We produce a catalogue that lists our backlist and promotes our new and forthcoming titles. Our website is an increasingly important marketing tool. Marketing plans must be supported by the books being in-store in as big a quantity as possible, and the sales teams work to that end.
- Who makes the decision of the format and the look of a new book - the size, the material, and whether or not it will be illustrated?
The format is decided by the Publisher, who briefs the designer on the project. The look of the book is heavily influenced by the target readership.
- What kind of literature (other than children's books) do you deem relevant to be illustrated? Why?
Many non-fiction titles require Illustration. The extent of this is carefully considered because it is costly and can significantly increase the retail price of a book. The extent of illustration is determined by the pricing factor as much as by the need to illustrate the text. The production of a book is all about finding the most cost effective way of producing the book.
- How long does it take to produce a book?
This can vary, but generally 4-5 months in editorial and then a further 6-7 months onces in the production department. Finished books must be in our distributor's warehouse two months before release date.
- Who is involved in the design process?
We employ a designer to produces the cover designs and all material for Marketing and Sales.