555 Spring Street Suite 605, Bethlehem Pennsylvania 18018

Our Services

What we can, can’t, and won’t do.

Our Services

Where Books Begin is an innovative company, offering services that were once provided by trade publishers to the authors under contract to publish their books. We are not traditional agents, since we ready books for presentation but do not actually present them to publishers. Nor are we book doctors who bring ailing book projects to health. We are pre-agents who run a well-baby clinic for new book projects. Our job is to prepare you for entry into a highly competitive literary marketplace with every advantage of positioning and polished product.

What We Do

At Where Books Begin our job is to prepare you for entry into a highly competitive literary marketplace with every advantage of positioning a polished product. We offer services that were once provided by trade publishers to their authors. We bring old-time editorial attention back to authors, because it’s authors not publishers who sell a book.

If you’re thinking about publishing your writing project, contact Where Books Begin! E-mail, call or write us for an information packet. We can help you decide if you are ready for professional assistance. Our introductory phone consultation is free.

We Can Do

Our staff has a century of experience in trade book publishing. Here’s what we CAN do for you.

  • Identify markets for your book and assist you in tailoring your project to those markets, which include markets for original manuscripts, reprints, foreign rights, special sales, audio-visuals as well as institutions and associations.
  • Promote you and your book     in the real world and in cyberspace. (See Your Book On The Internet.)
  • Act as a support system in every aspect of publishing your book. We can help authors at every stage, from concept to final manuscript, from bound book to distribution. Because we have been fixtures in the trade book business for forty years, we can connect you to the people who can make your book a success.
  • Bring you up to date with the newest technologies used in book production and promotion. We aid authors with transcription, formatting, design and promotion as well as editing and setting up a shopping cart on your author website.
  • Keep your book available through internet outlets and libraries. This includes promotion, marketing and shipping.
  • Act on an as-needed basis. We stick with our authors through the entire process without ever taking a commission. All our work is fee-for-service, agreed upon in advance and billed monthly. We are there when you need us.

We Can’t Do

  • We can’t rush your book to publication. Because book publishing is a strategic process, a serious publication plan is devised two years in advance. There are “instant books” but these are published by publishers with special setups and personnel trained in journalism. So if you have an idea for a Christmas book in November, think next Christmas, not this one. A best-seller needs at least a thousand days of advance planning, and most overnight literary successes have been working at that success for at least a decade.
  • We don’t write books for people who have good ideas. Great concepts and wonderful ideas are a dime a dozen. In forty years in the publishing business, no one at Where Books Begin has ever been to a party without hearing a proposal for a new book. To publish those concepts, the writer must study what has already been written about their idea and come up with many pages of writing on the topic. This takes months and often years.

    No one else can write your book for you. Collaborations are never successful in fiction and rarely successful in serious nonfiction. You have to make the time and effort to tell the story yourself. The writers who employ assistants use them for research and drafting, not for the final writing.
  • We don’t sell your book to a publisher. We are pre-agents rather than agents. We do not sell books to publishers, and we don’t take a commission. We provide advice to authors who want to approach agents and editors with the best possible project and author platform we can build together. Where Books Begin’s Editor, Ellen E. M. Roberts, has shepherded more than a thousand books to publication and will hold you to the highest standards of writing, production and marketing. She is also an author in her own right and knows how to groom writers for success. There is another advantage to using Where Books Begin services: professional agents and editors know and respect our work, giving you an additional entree into the publishing industry.
  • We won’t print on demand.     With the advent of Print on Demand technology, a new class of predators parading as publishers seized on it as a way to feast on the vanity of unpublished authors. They print books without undertaking the expenses of good production or smart marketing that comprise the publishing process. Instead, they take a couple of thousand dollars from unsuspecting authors, provide them with a few books and display the title on their website “catalogues.” This process, called POD, is the 21st century’s vanity press. Where Books Begin is not one of these companies. We know professional writing, quality design, production and book manufacturing. We will create a book with you that has general appeal, liberating you from the ghetto of ugly books no one wants to read.
  • Copy edit a book that isn’t ready. At Where Books Begin we don’t copy edit anything until we have evaluated the author’s final manuscript for concept, continuity and consistency. In the early stages of our evaluation, we are searching for perfect expression, not perfect punctuation. Once those three “c’s” are in order, you have a final manuscript, and we will begin the copy editing process to take care of spelling errors and grammatical tics and just generally polish your book. (Please see Our Fees web page for more information on this process.)
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