Rootstock Publishing and the Alternatives

Rootstock Publishing enters into a partnership with you—author, copyright holder, and paramount creative force. We offer three levels of partnership that suit both your financial commitment and your ambitions: 1. we serve as your publisher; 2. we serve as your publisher and provide more limited services; 3. we enter an agreement with you to publicize, promote and market your book. 

We provide an array of expert support services, professional editing, proofing, cover design, interior layout, and printing. But we don't stop there. We work with you on promotion, obtaining reviews, and distribution of the book, through both independent bookstores and chains like Barnes & Noble, as well as with online print book and ebook distributors.

We hold to a high standard of quality for the books we publish. In fact, we are very picky. In the end, however, the level of commitment you make to your book is decisive. We will not work with an author who is not proactive, willing to get out there, do readings and interviews, and solicit events, reviews and blurbs. Self-promoting authors are a crucial part of the book market today, and the author that understands the adage “the more doors you knock on, the more doors will open,” is the author most likely to have success.

How are we different from other publishing houses? First and foremost, we don't make promises we don't keep. In fact, we don't make promises. We make contractual commitments for services and support, but we'll never hold out false expectations to you about the potential of your book.  Far too many authors' experiences with publishers involve all kinds of promises for promotion, publicity, author signings, reviews, and other substantial marketing that are never realized.  


Most traditional publishing houses take over ownership of your work, hang onto it as long as possible, even if it goes out of print. In the end, many major publishers simply do not make your book a priority. Who gets priority?  Well-known best-selling authors and celebrity authors. It is rare that a new author receives that same kind of priority and financial commitment. And, as we have described, you always have self-publishing and vanity press companies you can choose, at your own risk.


Hybrid or Partnership publishers like Rootstock have gained great successes in the market, in both sales and recognition awards for high literary standards. As such, books published by hybrid publishers are receiving significant recognition in the marketplace because of our high standards.  

Finally, one of the surprising discoveries you may have made is that many publishers won't even consider your manuscript unless it comes through a literary agent. And connecting with a literary agent is very difficult. 

Going It Alone with Self-publishing

Self-publishing involves spending money (sometimes a great deal), and committing yourself to significant work beyond the writing of your book. Costs can range up to $20,000 (or even more) to "self-publish." If you are committed to self-publishing a well-written, well-produced, high-quality book, and you decide to go it alone and "self-publish," here is our Whew! list of what you will need to consider to edit, proof, design, print, promote, and distribute your book:

  • edit your own manuscript (never recommended), or hire an editor ($4000 to $10,000, or more);

  • proofread your own work (never recommended), or hire a proofreader $500 to $2000);

  • design your own book cover (if you know what you are doing), or hire a book cover designer who knows the correct formats for print and e-books ($1000 to $4000);

  • design the interior pages and layout for book printing yourself, or hire an expert who knows how to design and meet the printer's specifications ($750 to $1500);

  • convert the interior pages and layout for e-book publishing yourself meeting the differing requirements from different e-book platforms, or hire someone who knows how to do it ($500 to $1500);

  • register for and purchase the ISBN and eISBN;

  • register for and purchase the LCCN (Library of Congress Control Number);

  • register for and purchase a bar code;

  • write the press release and create an author press kit;

  • obtain blurbs from other authors and press praising your book;

  • choose a printer and manage the quality of the print job;

  • review the printed final proof;

  • determine the initial print run, pay for all the books printed, and pay for the shipping to you;

  • submit your ebook version to many individual ebook distributors;

  • print Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of the book and send to a good list of appropriate book reviewers, newspapers, journals;

  • make contact with public and community radio stations (now one of the best ways to promote a book)

  • identify and promote your book to book award groups and contests;

  • pick, pack and ship all orders for the printed book that you receive from friends, bookstores, and individual mail order customers.

  • And the list goes on.....Whew!


Self-publishing can produce a very high quality book, particularly if you put in the money and work, but self-published books tend to look and read less professionally. Many are published without serious editing and proofreading, for instance. A self-published author's dedication, writing skills, and creativity can make it all come together, but not without investing in most or all of those items in the list above.  Far too often, however, self-published books are not well written, poorly or not edited, poorly or not proofed, and badly designed books that have no distribution at all, that are not welcomed by bookstores, and that end up primarily in the hands of family and a few friends.  

If you are serious about publishing a beautifully written and professionally finished book... 

There is a better way.

I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged.
— Erica Jong


Partnering with Rootstock Publishing

Rootstock Publishing provides two levels of support, both providing specific support services for your book.  We maintain a commitment to writing that reflects competence, creativity, political awareness, and a distinct voice. We are selective about the books we publish.  In other words, we carefully curate and assess all submissions.  The experience for authors with Rootstock Publishing is very much akin to that of working with a traditional publisher, except that you maintain full control and ownership of the book from start to finish, and you earn a higher profit margin on the net income of each printed book and e-book. We are able to provide retail store and library distribution through Ingram and Baker & Taylor, the two largest book distribution companies in the world. And instead of having to coordinate everything in that Whew! list above as a self-publishing author alone, your partnership with Rootstock supports your intention to create a great book.

Rootstock Publishing offers two levels of publishing and promotion support services for authors, both involving our professional expertise and guidance:

Level One Partnership Publishing Agreement

The fee includes every one of the services listed below, everything necessary to assess, edit, proof, design, print, distribute and promote your book:

  • we commit to providing a book that meets the Industry Standards Checklist for a Professional Published Book as determined by the Independent Book Publishers Association;
  • we provide a professional editor for your book, an essential step to publication;
  • we work with you to make certain all permissions and credits are obtained;
  • we provide a professional proof-reading of the final manuscript;
  • we provide two professional book cover designs from which you may choose;
  • we provide the design of the interior pages and layout for book printing;
  • we provide the design of the interior pages and layout for the e-book publishing which meet the differing requirements from different e-book platforms;
  • we purchase the ISBNs for the print and e-book versions;
  • we purchase the LCCN (Library of Congress Control Number);
  • we purchase the Bar Code;
  • we will send ARCs (Author Review Copies) to appropriate people to "blurb" the book, in accordance with the contract;
  • we provide the printer and manage the quality of the print job;
  • in partnership with you, we review the final printed proof;
  • we adhere to all the standards for production of your book, meeting all design protocols for the interior, front cover, spine, and back cover;
  • in partnership with you, we determine the initial print run;
  • we partner with IngramSpark for all of the print runs providing the highest quality perfect bound trade paperback books available;
  • we pay for and promote your book in Ingram Advance, a regular new release catalog sent by Ingram to over 7000 bookstores and libraries, as well as a PDF file of Ingram Advance sent electronically to 27,000 international and domestic customers;
  • your book will be available from our distribution partners Ingram and Baker & Taylor, from independent booksellers nationwide, as well as online from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and many other online retailers worldwide
  • we send review copies of the books to a traditional list of book reviewers such as Library Journal, Publisher's Weekly, Booklist, The New York Times Review of Books, Foreword Reviews, as well as to select media in your local and regional area;
  • if your book serves a well-defined niche market, and in partnership with you, we identify and promote the book to appropriate book reviewers, newspapers, journals, as defined in our author contract;
  • we manage and maintain the metadata used in cataloguing, promoting and marketing your book;
  • we create the four-color book sell-sheet and the press release, in accordance with the contract;
  • in partnership with you, we help identify and promote your book to book award groups and publications;
  • we pick, pack and ship all orders for the printed book that you receive from friends, bookstores, and individual mail order customers, as defined in the author contract.
  • we promote to the regional booksellers conventions in your area.  For instance, if you live in New England, and in partnership with you (according to the author contract), we promote using sell-sheets to the booksellers and samples of your book, to the New England Independent Booksellers Association Convention; as well as the New England Library Association annual convention and the Boston Book Fair. All this promotion is done in partnership with the Independent Publishers of New England (IPNE). We do the same thing in other parts of the country with the appropriate regional associations.

The all-inclusive fee for these support services is:
$5,500.00 for prose books
$3,900 for poetry books
paid in three installments, according to the terms of the agreement.

Level Two Partnership Publishing Agreement

  We provide all the support services described above in the Level One Partnership Publishing Agreement with the following exceptions:

  • the author contracts separately with an editor and proofreader from among our Creative Partners Team or another of her choice;
  • the author contracts with a book designer of her choice for the cover and interior pages.

The all-inclusive fee for these support services is $2,750.00,
paid in two installments, according to the terms of the agreement.


You will notice that printing is not on either list.  The cost of printing is the responsibility of Rootstock authors, and is on top of the cost of the Partnership Publishing Agreements. It is purposeful that our service package does NOT include printing. We work with you to determine a first print-run with a view toward keeping the costs manageable. Part of our work will be an effort to determine the initial print-run and we will talk through sales expectations utilizing a pre-order campaign. While we normally recommend our Print on demand (POD) process through IngramSpark, we can also talk about the possibility of a short print run by a traditional book printing company. The advantage of POD through IngramSpark is significant in terms of immediate distribution channels available for the book. Because you pay for the printing, the royalties you receive from book sales are much higher than through a traditional publisher. 

Most importantly, you maintain personal creative, copyright and financial control of your work, and earn a much-higher profit margin for sales of your work. This represents the crucial difference between our hybrid partnership model of publishing and the traditional form of publishing where you give up virtually all of your personal control and rights as author.  With Rootstock, you have the right to sell the book to another publisher if you so choose, at any time, and you retain the right to sell the broadcast and movie rights, at your discretion.  

Finally, we want to emphasize that times have changed, that the book publishing world has become much more focussed on how much authors are willing to promote themselves and their books.  Your personal commitment to create an author presence online, to create as many social media vehicles as possible, is crucial in this current publishing environment.  We will support you in these efforts and provide ideas, creative guidance, and urge you on to success.   

“The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.
— Ursula K. Le Guin
“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”
— William Faulkner