FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Atmosphere Press is devoted to integrity and transparency, so here's where we dive into all the details. And don't worry: you keep 100% rights, royalties, and artistic autonomy.

Who is Atmosphere Press?

Atmosphere Press is an author-friendly publisher accredited by the Better Business Bureau, and we aim to put the power not in the hands of the press, but in the hands of the writer, where it belongs. Our founder, Nick Courtright, spent years working around and through traditional publishing both as an editor and as a writer, and he came to feel that, too often, writers got the raw end of the deal, losing not just their royalties but also the rights to their material and to their control over their art.  That’s why he now works with a dedicated team of editors, designers, distributors, and publicists to help authors see their books reach the heights they’ve always deserved.

How is Atmosphere Press different? 

There are a lot of answers to this question, but beyond our straightforward dedication to strong ethics and integrity, we bring to the table years of experience in top-notch editorial and design services. It is easy to “publish” a book on Amazon—it takes about fifteen minutes—but for a book to be good, it requires the guiding vision of an exceptional team. We really, truly, and absolutely work hand-in-hand with authors through every step of the process, and it’s our goal to be the best publishing experience possible for our authors. Our testimonials from our authors who’ve worked with other publishers in the past speak to our exceptional care and the quality of our process. Above everything else, Atmosphere stands out for how our people care for our books and our authors.

What’s wrong with traditional publishing?

Nothing, in theory. It can give you great reach, and can take advantage of well-worn pathways to notoriety. Some of our best friends are traditional publishers! Unfortunately, though, traditional publishing is fraught with shortcomings, and it can be very unfriendly to authors, much like how music labels can take advantage of musicians. Here are some of the problems that often plague traditional publishing: long time from acceptance to publication; expensive author copies; limited editorial assistance; little say in cover design; little say in interior layout; little say in book dimensions; onerous royalties contracts; outrageous contest and reading fees; rejection rejection rejection. And here are some of Atmosphere’s solutions to these problems: less than 6 months to publication; wholesale price author copies; dedicated editorial assistance; tons of say in cover design; tons of say in interior layout; tons of say in book dimensions; we take 0% royalties (yes, 0%); no contest / reading fees; no endless rejection—if your book is good, let’s make this thing happen. With these advantages in mind, we’re happy to be a better route to getting your book into the world.

Is Atmosphere a vanity press?

No! Atmosphere Press is not a vanity press, as vanity presses publish whatever walks in the door and rarely offer anything more than one’s name in print. We are a selective literary press and all of our books go through a rigorous editorial process; we have no interest in publishing unexceptional books. The way we see it, we owe it to our current roster of excellent writers—affiliated with such places as Stanford, Cornell, Oxford, MIT, Berkeley, etc.—to not sully the press’ name by publishing subpar work. We’ll offer consultation and advice to anyone who has a project he/she wants to see the light of publication, but, at the end of the day, we only publish the best.

How does Atmosphere Press work?

Atmosphere Press uses a “partnership” model.  Whereas many traditional publishers front the initial costs of publication and design, they often end up gouging authors on the back end through onerous royalties contracts and marked-up copies sold to the authors themselves; we’ve seen this happen to great writers over and over again. They also take the rights to authors’ work, and can seriously limit authors’ control of the destiny of their own words. Instead of this publisher-friendly model, we use an author-centric approach in which you as the author make the initial investment in the publication costs, maintain your rights and artistic autonomy, and reap all the benefits if your book is a hit.

How much will this cost me?

We strive to have incredibly low overhead, which keeps our costs down, and we pass that savings onto you. That’s why you get everything from hours of editorial coaching and consultation, interior and cover design, ISBN assignment, international distribution through a recognized major league distributor, and advice and direct assistance on marketing and publicity, all for under $6000, with the exact amount often much less than that figure, and always revealed transparently right up front, with no sneaky surprises later on in the process. Compare this to vanity/self-publishing venues, who sometimes charge an absolutely brutal $20000+ for the same services. Atmosphere Press will never nickel-and-dime its authors, and any book that sells more than 500 copies will start making its author a substantial profit.

Will Atmosphere Press get rich if my book succeeds?

Nope. We take 0% royalties, so if you become the next JK Rowling or John Grisham, feel free to send us a postcard while your yacht is docked in Aruba. All kidding aside, part of “author-friendly” means that your book is *your* book, and no one should get rich off of it but you. We are, though, still highly invested in the success of your book—our “skin in the game”—because we as a literary press are only as strong as our submissions, and we’ve found that our best submissions come from writers who have found our books out in the world, or through author referrals from authors of ours who were happy with the process. This, truly, is how everybody wins if your book is a hit, and why we revel in the success of our authors.

How do you publicize your authors?

We promote our authors heavily through social media and email newsletter campaigns, as in the current climate these are the truest ways to reach and expand audience. We also use an international distributor to make your book available not just through the endless desert of Amazon, but on Barnes and Noble’s website and the websites of tons of independent bookstores, which helps generate local sales. Given that an author is typically one of the primary driving forces behind the success of a book, we also set up our authors with a big one-on-one call with a book promotions expert on developing a suitable marketing strategy that fits the author’s needs, and will give direction wherever possible, whether it be through media advertising buys, setting up a book tour, or getting the word out through grassroots social media promotion. We even have a database of independent bookstores, as well as a 25-page marketing tutorial, that we share with authors, because we know that the transition from “writer” to “author” can be a tricky one. And if you do want some more hands-on assistance with shepherding your book into the world, beyond our standard contract we offer an awesome comprehensive Marketing Assistance and Community Outreach publicist and sales rep add-on to orchestrate giveaways, contact media outlets, do targeted advertising buys, purchase paid reviews, and do all of the other strategic publicist and sales rep maneuvers you may not want to undertake on your own.

When my book is out, can you connect me with other Atmosphere authors?

Yes! This is actually one of our favorite things to do. We have an “Author Connect” program in which we match our authors with each other to coordinate readings, reviews, promotions, and other partnership initiatives. The results have been amazing, and this is one thing we pride ourselves on: building a community of writers, rather than just having a bunch of disparate and isolated authors disconnected from each other. Writing itself is often a solitary process, but being an author doesn’t have to be. Compared to self-publishing or even traditional publishing, this is one thing that really makes our “friendly” approach stand out.

Can you do an author website for me?

Yes!  We know that a big part of promoting a book is a strong online presence, and we have web designers and developers on call to build you a website you can be proud to put on your card. While this isn’t included in our basic package, we have multiple ways we can get you set up with a nice, professional-grade website for between $1500 and $2500, depending on the types of features, security, and active monitoring you’d like.

How quickly can my book come out?

Unlike traditional publishing, which can operate at a glacial pace, Atmosphere Press knows that time is of the essence, and will work to get your book out on a timeline that works for you. If that means you have a business event and need your book done in four months, we will help make that happen. If that means you want nine months to plan a publicity blast, we’ll time that right up for you. Contrast this to traditional publishing, in which it’s not uncommon for there to be as much as a two-to-three year lead time before you can hold your book in your hands.

Will I be able to supply my own cover artwork?

Absolutely! We love it when authors have a fair-use image we can incorporate into the cover design; after all, the more you love your cover, the happier you’ll be, and that’s what we want. We’ll give you advice on your cover, though, and will always be honest if we think a better image is out there. Learn more about our cover design here.

Do you do e-books or print?

We do both! We’re well versed in the interior formatting nuances of both of these formats, which are surprisingly more complex than you might initially imagine. Our designers and developers are up to date on the latest software, and, more importantly, the latest styles and approaches to the wide world of fonts and typography. You can be certain that the words on the page—whether that page is paper or a screen—will be easy on the eyes.

How much will my author copies cost?

Many traditional presses will charge authors 60% of retail list price. That means that if your book is retailing at $17.99, you’re paying $10.79 per copy, which will make it virtually impossible to make a profit on books you yourself sell, such as at readings and to family and friends. It also makes it near impossible to make a profit if you try to sell your books at bookstores, which will often take 35-45% of the cut, leaving you with an untenable <$1 per book profit. We at Atmosphere think that’s terrible, because it really just amounts to presses making money off of their own authors. So we sell our authors unlimited copies of their books at the printer’s wholesale cost, which is almost always under $7 a pop, and often much less, depending on the length of the book. Pretty good, right?

Where are you located and how do I reach you?

Atmosphere Press is based in Austin, Texas, and our authors, editors, and staff can be found all around America and the world. From New York City to Costa Rica to Amsterdam to Sydney to Sao Paulo to Des Moines, we’re used to navigating time zones. If you’d like to get a hold of us directly, though, the best route is via our mailing address of 7107 Foxtree Cove, Austin, TX 78750, our phone number of +1 (512) 522-2648, and our email of books@atmospherepress.com.

Okay, so now I’ve signed on—what should I expect?

You should expect an efficient but thorough assessment of your manuscript, including two rounds of editorial consultation over the phone, in which we discuss ways to make your book the best it can be. After you make any changes you’d like to make based on the advice, we’ll do a second round of revision to make sure your manuscript is publication-worthy. During this time we’ll also be talking about cover design and interior layout, as well as what to do when your book is out, including that big call with our book promotions expert. Because we’ll work at the pace that suits you—lightning fast or carefully slow—we will do what it takes to communicate clearly, and before you know it you’ll have a beautiful book in your hands.

I love it! What next?

Visit our submissions page to send us your manuscript, or do the same via email at books@atmospherepress.com. We’d quickly be in touch to discuss your project, your desires and expectations, and determine a budget. From there, we’ll embark on the fun process of guiding that book into shape!

Alternately, if you just have a question you’d like to ask, feel free to just shoot us an email at books@atmospherepress.com!