Frequently Asked Questions
There is a lot of information pertaining to the publishing process that we address throughout Master Book Planning and/or Authority Marketing Blueprint Day process with a potential author. As you can imagine, we cannot possibly address every question with every person who may want to write a book, and reserve our time for those who are serious about exploring it with us by committing to a first step.
Of course, we appreciate that you may be one of those people who don’t want to waste anyone’s time going into a first step without having a clear picture of the complete process that lies ahead. For those of you who fit that description, we have included a list of FAQs below. Please know that our first step is designed for this exact reason—it enables us to explore it further—in a space where both parties are committed and serious about the exploration, yet free from an ultimate commitment.
Q: I would like to have a couple of references to speak with who can help me understand the process, their involvement and time commitment.
A: We are happy to connect you with some references after we’ve taken a first step together, prior to signing any publishing deal. As you can imagine, we cannot connect every person who is interested in doing a book with our Authors. We protect their time, just as we will protect yours should you become an author with us.
Q: While it typically takes 6-9 months to get a book published, what are the deadlines/timeframes that I will be held accountable to? For example, do I get to review one chapter at a time and have to provide edits within a specific time frame? Does it all come together or do multiple chapters come at once?
A: We have a method—introduction and first chapter, then the rest of the book comes in thirds for your review. Your publishing project manager will create a timeline for your project. Yes, there are timelines and deadlines, but they are all adjustable based on what serves you best.
Q: Are the deadlines hard or are there flexibilities?
A: The deadlines are flexible. Ultimately, you’re the client. The whole publishing process is like a domino effect, so as long as you understand that this X-day delay pushes the project out X days, everything can be shifted.
Q: What level of research (if any) is done by the writer if we are referencing certain behavioral models or frameworks etc?
A: Research is part of the ghostwriter’s job. They will complete any research necessary to deliver the best final product to you. Often times, Authors will provide them with resources or images that they would like to include in the book.
Q: When you talk of the 24-30-hour commitment, is that time spent participating in interviews? Filling out questionnaires? Writing?
A: Typically, it tends to be about 15 hours of interview time with your ghostwriter and about 15 hours of review time.
Q: Have there been situations where a Member has committed but then not been able to complete the book?
A: We obviously try to avoid stalls as much as possible. It happens rarely. The main instances have been if an Author is not using a ghostwriter, and they underestimate the labor involved in writing the manuscript themselves. We have had one other instance where a ForbesBooks Author had to “pause” the book just before it went to print based on a big possible merger. Again, this is rare. We try to only bring on Authors who are committed to the project, and try to make the process as easy as possible on them so they can reach the finish line.
Q: Is there a more detailed timeline of what the entire process looks like that you can share?
A: Your publishing project manager creates a detailed timeline specific to you and your book project. High level looks like this: Kickoff→ Developmental Edit→ Line Edit→ Copy Edit→ Layout→ Final Galley Sign Off→ Book Launch→ Marketing
You can also read more about our process here.
Q: I’m sure there is a contract laying things out. Can I get a copy of the contract to review in advance?
A; Once we complete a first step together (whether that is the Master Book Plan or the Authority Marketing Blueprint Day), we will be able to create a contract specific to your publishing project that we can review together.
Q: Is the only difference between the Advantage and ForbesBooks brand the amount an Author is willing to pay?
A: No. ForbesBooks Authors are vetted on 3 pieces of criteria: (1) track record of business success, (2) content that is valuable to the Forbes global audience and (3) the highest standards of editorial excellence. If an Author is approved, in addition to the book, they get access to the Forbes media platform. While there are exceptions, ForbesBooks Authors tend to be CEOs of larger, scaling companies $20MM+ in revenue, whose client is the Forbes audience (i.e. CEOs in healthcare, tech, business development, venture, etc.). Advantage Authors tend to be solopreneurs or small business owners $2MM-10MM in revenue, in highly commoditized markets, with clients who are not necessarily high net worth, C-level execs (i.e. financial advisors, dentists, doctors, small marketing agencies, etc.)
Q: What are your specific pricing guidelines?
A: Prices vary dramatically based on what services you need. On average, an Advantage Author invests $35K (“Talk Your Book,” no ghostwriter) or $55K (ghostwriter), and a ForbesBooks Author invests somewhere around $200K (could be more or less depending on which level ghostwriter you select and marketing services).
Q: What is your royalty structure?
A: We pay 15% royalties on paperback and 65% on hard cover for all books sold through retail channels.
Q: Who is your most well known / successful Author before deciding to work with you?
A: We have worked to build the personal brands of household names including Sully Sullenberger, Jack Canfield, Sally Hogshead and Dan Kennedy. We have worked with top executives including Alan Mulally, past CEO of Boeing and Ford, Paul Sarvadi, CEO of Insperity, Benjamin Breier, CEO of Kindred Healthcare, and Verne Harnish, founder of Gazelles.
Q: What is your top case study—someone whose business transformed after working with you?
A: We’ve had a consultant win a high profile 7-figure deal over massive competitors because, as his client literally credited by saying, “he wrote the book on it.” We’ve had an Author who doubled his ROI by working with us before the book even came out, just through the assessment we built on his website. The path to ROI is typically in client acquisition, although can also be seen in new revenue generation, faster sales cycles, increase in inbound sales and talent acquisition and retention. You can read more of our case studies and testimonials at the bottom of this page.
Q: Is there a difference in price depending on how much writing the Member does?
A: Yes. Ghostwriting is typically a $20K+ investment. If a Member chooses not to work with a ghostwriter, prices are adjusted accordingly with the understanding that the Member’s time investment increases significantly.
Q: Can you please send a sample of one of your books so I can see the quality of publishing?
A: Once you take the first step with us in the form of a Fast Start or Authority Marketing Blueprint Day, we will mail you a handful of books from our library relevant to you and your business.
Q: Are your Authors in Barnes & Noble bookstores?
A: We have a handful of titles in bookstores and we make the book available to 39,000+ bookstores through the largest book distributor in the world, but this is generally not a model for most authors. Every book you see at a brick and mortar bookstore is there on consignment, and if that book does not sell, the bookstore can return it with a restocking fee to the author. Plenty of authors go broke trying desperately to get bookstores to carry their book. This is typically the model for traditional publishers only because it’s how traditional publishers make their money (not authors). Most of our Authors move their books through Amazon (the largest book retailer in the world) and direct sales from their website or in their place of work. Most of our Authors are far less concerned with book sales in general because they know that the worst way to make money with a book is book sales. The path to ROI with a book is to use the book as a marketing asset to grow the business.
Q: What is the Times Square book launch?
A: Our ForbesBooks Authors receive a Times Square book launch where their book cover is displayed on the jumbotron in Time Square. While some people use it as an excuse to host a celebration in New York, most of our Authors typically use this and the accompanying photo we provide as a marketing asset on their website and in their offices.
Q: What is the ForbesBooks assessment creation?
A: For many of our ForbesBooks Authors, we build a digital assessment or quiz tied to the content of the book to serve as a lead magnet on their personal brand website.
Q: What does the ForbesBooks Review magazine feature? What is the distribution of the magazine?
A: ForbesBooks Review features Author profiles and information on their books, along with several, 1-4-page stories that delve further into said Authors’ experiences and businesses. It goes out twice per year and is polybagged with 100,000 copies of Forbes magazine to subscribers in pre-selected areas of the United States.
Q: What does “contributor” to Forbes.com mean?
A: Our ForbesBooks Authors receive the ability to post on Forbes.com with their own bylined articles. Quantity and frequency is based upon which branding & visibility package the Author chooses.
Q: Where are your ghostwriters based? Would we be able to meet our writer in person?
A: We work with more than 200 ghostwriters based across the United States. Some Authors choose to fly their ghostwriter to them, although all ghostwriting interviews can be done over the phone.
Q: How vast is your distribution vs. traditional publishers?
A: Our distribution services are on par with traditional publishers. We make the book available to 39,000+ bookstores through Ingram, the largest book distributor in the world. We have a strategic partnership with an international rights literary agent for global distribution and opportunity to license content in multiple languages. We have a strategic partnership with Hudson Booksellers airport stores, the nation’s #1 brick and mortar book retailer (available to ForbesBooks Authors only).
Q: How much do we pay for copies of the book?
A: Cost varies dramatically based on paperback vs. hardcover, quantity ordered, size of book and design of cover (embellishments such as foil, etc.). On average, costs typically range between $3-8 per book. We receive commercial discounts through our printers so that we are able to offer our Authors highly competitive printing quotes.
Q: Do you do e-books, audiobooks and translations?
A: Yes. We offer e-books (included in all of our publishing plans), professionally narrated audiobooks (included in all ForbesBooks publishing plans) and translation services.
Q: Can our designers do the design elements?
A: Yes. We include professional interior and cover design in all of our publishing plans, but you are more than welcome to use your own designers or have your design team collaborate with ours.