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About Virtualbookworm


Do you accept authors outside of the US?

Definitely! We have authors from around the world. However, please note that shipping charges for your purchases will be more. Other than that, there's no problem.


What makes Virtualbookworm.com different than other POD providers?

Well, first off, we won't print garbage. You must follow the submission and genre guidelines ... and each manuscript must be reviewed and approved before we will accept your order. If we do accept the order, we will give you as much personalized support as necessary until the project is complete. This means your book won't be selling on the same site as a book that has tons of errors just because the other author had enough cash! Plus, Virtualbookworm.com is one of the most established POD publishers in the industry, having been in business since 2000.


Are you a vanity press? A subsidy press?

Neither! Although we do charge a small setup fee, this mainly covers art and layout time and the printing fees. Vanity presses charge up to $50,000 and make you purchase a large number of books. With us, you don't even have to purchase any initial books! The only way we really make money is if you make money!


But you charge to publish? Doesn't that make you a subsidy press?

We are a small publisher and choose to remain that way. The modest fees we charge allow us to hire professionals as well as cover printing setup costs. If you were to do everything yourself, you would have to hire a layout artist, a cover designer, an editor, find a printer, research all of the printing specs, obtain an ISBN, file your own copyright, research the book industry, research promotional aspects, etc. If you have the time and money to do that, great! But most writers want to stick to what they do best - writing. So we basically offer all of the services at one site and allow you to choose the ones you need. And, whereas most true subsidy presses don't care if they sell one copy of your book (since they live off hefty setup fees), we definitely want to sell books as much as you do.


So I guess you own all the rights?

No way. Our Print-on-Demand packages allow you to keep your rights. All we ask is that you allow us to be your POD provider for two years (and you can always terminate the agreement with a 90-day notice!) 
The ebook package, however, does require an exclusive agreement (but only for the electronic distribution).


Do you accept all manuscripts?

Absolutely not! We want our authors to be proud to say they were published by Virtualbookworm.com! As mentioned above, we review each and every manuscript just like any legitimate publisher. If the manuscript is very good (and yes, we are very picky) and is extremely polished then, and only then, will we offer the author a contract.




Will my books only be available through Virtualbookworm?

Definitely not. Virtualbookworm.com works with both Ingram and Baker and Taylor, which ensures that your book will have a wide scope of availability. Your book will be made available through many different outlets. Most packages automatically get you listed on Amazon.com and other online stores. POD packages, however, get you even more since we use the two largest distributors in the world. This means your book will be available to any bookstore or library that orders through either distributor.


How much of a discount does the distributor and/or bookstores receive?

This is a tough question since it depends on a number of factors. We usually list our books at a 30-35% discount. This keeps the retail price low and is acceptable by Amazon and the other "big boys." However, some small bookstores want a 40-50% discount. Since it is your bottom line that is affected (royalties), we letYOU decide on the discount (however higher discounts will raise the retail price).


How long does it take a book to be listed on Amazon and other outside sites?

Titles usually hit Amazon and B&N 1-2 weeks after they are printed.




What type of paper do you use?

All books (excluding color publications) with a trim size less than 8.25X11" are printed on 55lb. creme. Books with a trim size of 8.25X11 use 50lb. white paper.


Cover Questions/Concerns

Q: Do you have a preference over receiving the cover/illustrations by CD or as a file? Is there a difference in clarity when printing between the two? How exactly do you send the cover file and illustrations? I know they need to be at least 300 dpi and uncompressed. What size do you want the pictures?--anything else relevant, please let me know. 

A: The biggest determining factor should be the file size. If the cover file is over 20MB, it would be best to drop it on a CD. There won't be a difference in print quality, so there are no concerns there. The size depends on the trim size you want for your book. Internal graphics and illustrations can be set exactly to page size (such as 6X9), but the cover file should have at least .25"; extra space around all four sides. If you want the cover image to bleed (run off) the edges, please make sure it extends to that extra .25"; all around. As far as other specs: please make sure the image is in CMYK and at 300 dpi. If you compose the cover in Photoshop, feel free to send the Photoshop file (preferably unlayered).


Do you use acid-free paper?

For black-and-white POD books, we use a high quality, acid-free, book-grade of opaque paper stock. All books with trim sizes of 6"x9" or smaller are printed on a 55# natural shade opaque. Larger books are printed on a 50# white.


How do I know if ebook publishing is right for me?

Ebooks aren’t for everyone. Works of fiction don’t generally do well as ebooks. Self-help and instructional books, however, are perfect for this format. Ebooks are also a good way for authors to “test the waters” and get an idea of their target audience.


If I don’t have any graphics, but only tables, can I substitute the 15 free graphics for my tables?



Do you print books in other languages?

At this time, we only print novels in English. If there are some words in another language, that is fine. However we do not provide proofing services in any other language.


I'm preparing a manuscript for submission to your firm, but before that happens I need to reveiw your contract language.

The contract and other informational documents can be found here.


What is offset printing?

This is the “traditional” method, in which ink is offset from a printing plate to a rubber roller then to paper. It is not economically feasible to use this process for less than 500 copies at a time. We can help you set up an offset run, which will make the individual cost per copy much less expensive. However, you will need to have a large quantity printed upfront.


What is the Do-It-Yourself rebate?

Basically, you can get money back if you submit print-ready files. If we don't need to make any major changes to your files, you can receive $50 back for the cover and $50 back for the text file (you do not need to submit PDF files as long as everything is formatted correctly). We use a combination of Microsoft Word or WordPerfect and Adobe PageMaker or InDesign. The page layout programs make adjustments of type, leading, etc. much more precise.

However, most authors are satisfied with the layout job of Microsoft Word or WordPerfect. If you want to layout your manuscript on your own, or just want a good idea of how long the finished product will be, set your page size to your trim size. Using Microsoft Word, for instance, you would go to FILE >PAGE SETUP and set the paper size to either 5.5X8.5” or 6X9” (or 8.25X11” if this is your preferred softcover size) in a portrait setting (sorry, we can’t bind landscaped books).

Almost all publishers use different settings, but we have found the following to work best. Set your left, right, top and bottom margins to 0.8 and your headings and footers to 0.5. You can also set the headers and footers at “Different Odd and Even” and Different First Page” if preferred. Got graphics or photos inside the book? No problem. Just please remember that ALL graphics must be in TIFF or JPG format at 300dpi or greater.


Who sets the price of the book?

Both the author and Virtualbookworm.com will suggest a price and then reach a happy medium. Our suggestions will be based on printing costs, etc. and the fact that we want you to receive a generous royalty for your efforts.


What will be the retail price of my book?

The retail price is always agreed upon by both Virtualbookworm and the author. Some authors want more royalties and ask to raise the retail price, while others want the book to cost less.
Typically, the minimum retail price is as follows for a softcover book:
108-175 pages: $12.95
176-250 pages: $13.95
251-325 pages: $14.95
326-400 pages: 15.95
Over 400: Priced determined on a case-by-case basis
Hardcover books: Add $5 to the retail price for cloth cover; $6.50 for casebound and $7.25 for hardcover with dustjacket.
Please note that these prices are only meant to serve as a guideline, the actual price may vary.


Does the price have to be printed on the book?

No. In fact, it is usually better not to print the price, since you will have to reprint the book if you ever decide to raise or lower the price.


Do you accept color illustrations?

Ebooks can contain as many illustrations as you can jam into a digital file. But POD books are a little different. The cover can always accept color illustrations scanned at 300dpi or greater. But, we are limited to black-and-white images for the inside of the printed book in our traditional POD packages. As listed above, the inside art in these packages should not constitute more than 5% of the work for printed books. 
We do have FULL COLOR packages, but the finished products are rather expensive. These are mainly intended for smaller works, such as children's books.


Can I make as many changes as I'd like to the proof?

Sorry, but no. We used to give free corrections, but some authors abused this privilege and practically rewrote the book at every level of proofing. That's why we request that you send us the FINAL verison of manuscript and have thoroughly proofed it BEFORE we do the layout. 

Changes delay not only that particular author's manuscript, but the others in production as well. Please be fair to your fellow authors and send us your manuscript ONLY when you feel it is ready for the public. 

We understand that you may have missed a few little things here and there, so you are entitled to 15 total free changes to text, punctuation, etc. in the manuscript and on the cover. We do have correction packages available for changes above the 15 free. Formatting errors and any other faults on the part of Virtualbookworm will be corrected free as long as you designated any special requests before production began.


I'm a control freak. Can you handle that?

We want to make sure our customers are happy! Therefore, we will always go that extra mile. However, if you are just extremely difficult, we can cancel your contract. Please remember that we are human, too, and have feelings.

We have a number of great authors, and many of them are now considered personal friends. However, we do run into jerks from time to time. These folks make our life miserable and often delay production of all of the books on which we are working, since they are constantly making changes. If you consider yourself a "difficult" person, please have your book published elsewhere.


Can I use my own imprint?

Sure you can. But you will have to set up a company and purchase your own ISBNs through www.isbn.org. We can then list you as the publisher and run everything under your company.


Can I have pictures in my book?

Of course. However, please remember that all internal photos will be black-and-white, with the exception of our full-color package. 

Each POD package comes with five free internal photos, as long as they are provided in either TIFF or JPG formats at 300 dpi or greater. Additional photo packages are available if you have more pictures to include. However, there is a $5 scanning and placement fee when physical prints are sent.


Do you give refunds?

The low price of our packages barely covers our labor and the setup charges with the printer. We really don't make a profit unless your book sells! So we cannot refund setup fees. We will, however, replace any damaged books.


How long does it take for the final product to be printed?

This depends on a number of factors, such as the condition of the manuscript and art you supply, whether editing or other services are required, etc.
However, most of the time we work under the following:
Manuscript Review: 7-14 working days
Layout and Design: (once payment is received) 14 working days
Time at printer: 3-4 weeks (more for hardcovers)

This timeline also depends on how long it takes you to review the proofs and signoff on the project (since we all know you won't have any text changes to make, right? ;) 

NOTE:This timeline is given for reference only.


Can I have tables in my manuscript?

Each POD package comes with three free table placements (you must provide them either scalable within the manuscript or as a TIFF or JPG at 300dpi or greater). If you would like to include more tables, please see our additional services page for additional placements.


What is a Personal Storefront?

In addition to the bookstore page you receive with our publishing packages, we will design and set up a personal website for you to promote your book. This includes registration of your domain name and web hosting. Your storefront will also have a "Buy Now" link, so visitors can purchase your book directly from our store (in a separate window, meaning they will never leave your site). We will take, process and distribute all orders for you. You will also have 20 Megs of webspace, so you are always free to add material. Package includes your own domain (www.yourname.com) and initial setup. The personal storefront will also contain links to samples of your work, press releases, etc. You can find a list of some of the personal storefronts we have created here.


What is the difference between a regular hardcover and a casebound book?

The cloth-bound is either a grey or blue cloth binding with the title and author name foil stamped on the spine. If you choose the dustcover, then it will be placed over the cloth binding (but will easily come off for storage, etc.) The case bound actually has the cover laminated in the binding. It is similar to (though looks much better than) a college textbook.




If I have no website hosting experience will I be able to maintain my website if I choose to have one?

If we design and maintain your site, we will send you all of the login information. You will, however, need to have an HTML editor in order to edit your pages. We can also maintain your pages for $50 per hour (most changes can be done in 10-30 minutes).


So what type of promotion do you conduct?

Printing the book is easy. Getting customers to buy it is another story. Our ebook packages will entitle you to a page in our bookstore and a listing in our monthly e-zine. You can even spice it up a bit by purchasing our "Independent Virtualbookworm.com Promotion Package," which includes a press release, a listing of reviewers, marketing tips, etc. Or, you can purchase our "Full-Service Virtualbookworm.com Promotion Package," which means we will do most of the promotion for you. Please see our promotion packages for more details.


Let's say you print the book. Am I on my own after that?

Not at all. Our new packages entitle you to a wide range of one-on-one support, chat groups and bulletin board communities where you can interact with other authors, free monthly author newsletters and much more! And, of course, we can also help you with our promotional packages.


Royalties and Payment


Will I get rich?

If we only had a dollar for every time we were asked this question you sure would! Just because your book is published doesn't mean it will be a major seller. It depends on the quality of your book and how much you help with its promotion. A little luck sometimes helps, too.


How much royalties will I receive?

So you're ready to talk dollars and cents (and sense). Since we opened our doors (er, web site) in March 2000, we have always offered 50% of net receipts.

Some folks are confused by this and would rather us say something like 30% of the retail price. But then this paints you into a corner, since it will raise the retail price (to cover the discounts given to bookstores and distributors). And the additional price of hardcovers can make the retail price almost out of reach to consumers.

So let's take a look at some of the other POD publishers. The highest-paying competitor says they give 35% of retail for books sold through their site and 15% of retail when sold through external channels. This means for a 120-page book that retails for $12.95, you will receive approximately $4.53. When that same book is sold through a distributor or to a bookstore, you receive $1.94.

Using our royalty and pricing models, you would receive approximately $5.07 for the same 120-page book example sold through our site (some authors are receiving 40% of retail on books sold through our site using our system) and approximately $3.18 for books sold through outside sources with a 30% discount (the competitor used for the example offers distributors and bookstores a flat 25% discount). Now that's a big difference!

Here's what "net receipts" boils down to:


Then we divide that number in half to find your "take."

As you see, our 50% of net receipts may sound confusing at first, but definitely leads to more money in your pocket! 

Click here for our full calculator


How will I know how many books I have sold?

You will receive monthly statements once you sign up for our information system. They will be sent between the 15th and 20th of each month.


How often are authors paid?

Authors are paid on the 15th of each month when their royalty balance meets or exceeds $25. If the balance doesn't meet that threshold, it is carried over into the following months until that amount is met.

A pay period includes all sales made on the Virtualbookworm.com booksite for the following month. However, it takes 90 days from the close of a period for us to receive royalties from outside sales. Therefore, on Feb. 15, we would send you a check (as long as the balance exceeds the $25) for all books sold on the Virtualbookworm site from Jan. 15 to Feb. 14. For all books sold in January through the distributor and outside sites, royalties would be added to your balance in May.


Submission Process


Do you have any internal layout templates to choose from?

For years, we said "no." We always liked to lay each book out individually. But, some authors didn't like the outcome and requested templates. So, yes, you can now choose an internal template for free. Just click here to see our layouts.


Do you publish cookbooks?

Sure do!


What font size should my submission use?

Q: If I submit a Word .rtf manuscript, will my layout be honored with regard to blank lines (double hard carriage returns) and the occasional use of italics?
Also, what font type and size will the book be printed in?

A: Everything will be set up as you have it (spacing, italics, etc.) If you go to the information packets page and download the Publishing Kit, you will see that we ask if you have a preference as to font size. The norm is 10-12 point of a serif font.


Will you accept a print-ready PDF?

We will accept a print-ready PDF as long as it was compiled with all fonts embedded and done at 1200dpi. The PDF should also be done at the trim size you want for the book (5.5X8.5" or 6X9").


Once I submit my manuscript, how long does it typically take before you reach a decision?

It normally takes 7-14 working days for us to review a manuscript and decide whether we would like to publish it. This time frame may be shorter or longer depending on the amount of submissions we have received in any given month and the time of year (it is definitely longer during holiday periods, since our reviewers demand time off for some reason).


Approximately how many manuscripts do you accept?

We literally receive hundreds of manuscripts monthly and, yes, we review them all (with tons of coffee on hand). The amount we accept is based on the quality of manuscripts received. One month we may accept 60% of all submissions, while the next we may only give the nod to 20% or less. It truly depends on the submissions.


What is the criteria you use for judging manuscripts?

First and foremost, we have to enjoy reading the manuscript. We are all avid readers and if we don't feel as though we would honestly plunk our money down for the finished product, we definitely won't ask other readers to do so. Some other things we keep in mind are:

The topic. We don't accept hate literature, porn or the occult. Of course, some romance novels have steamy love scenes. As long as it doesn't seem as though Larry Flynt was the ghost writer on the project, most tame love novels will pass. And many horror novels skirt the edges of the occult, which may be fine. As long as your book doesn't show folks how to turn their enemies into frogs or kumquats, you should be okay.

The plot. We look for originality, creativity and a true dedication to the craft. If your book seems like a rip-off of an old "Starsky and Hutch" re-run, forget it. But if it truly picques our interest and makes us want to read the complete novel, then you have a good chance.




What about warehousing?

Q: I'm slightly confused by the "extra warehousing" cost of $100. You say there may be a delay if a number of books are purchased at once unless extra warehousing is purchased. What would this delay be? Days? Weeks? Also, if the book is successful and is selling a few hundred copies a week, am I right in thinking that you would be able to meet this demand, and that extra warehousing would not be necessary.

A: Our authors vary from some who sell just a few copies a month to authors who sell hundreds a month. Since we cannot afford a large inventory of all the books, we do have the extra warehousing if an author doesn't want their customer to have to wait 7-10 days for the book to be printed and shipped. With the warehousing option, we send the book out the same day it is ordered (on weekdays before 2 p.m. Central). If the book sells well, however, we do keep a good supply on hand.


Troubleshooting Files


I'm having trouble opening one of your pdf files. Why?

Sometimes users will encounter this error: A font contains a bad C Map / Encoding.

We use the latest Adobe software to create our proofs and documents so they will be completely compatible with the printer. Unfortunately this sometimes causes problems with older versions of Acrobat. Please go here to download the latest version for free.