Rootstock Publishing and the Alternatives

Rootstock Publishing enters into a partnership with you (author, copyright holder, and paramount creative force), offering three levels of partnership to suit both your financial commitment and your ambitions: Level 1. We serve as your publisher; Level 2. We serve as your publisher and provide more limited services; Level 3. We 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 present 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 the same level of priority and financial commitment from a major publishing house. And then you have self-publishing and vanity press companies you can choose, at your own risk.


Hybrid or Partnership publishers like Rootstock have gained great success in the market, with 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 can be 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, here is our Whew! list of what you will need to consider to edit, proof, design, print, promote, and distribute your book:

  • Hire an editor ($4000 to $10,000, or more).

  • Hire a proofreader $500 to $2000).

  • Hire a book cover designer who knows the correct formats for print and e-books ($1000 to $4000).

  • Hire an expert who knows how to design and meet the printer's specifications for interior pages and layout ($750 to $1500).

  • Hire someone to convert the interior pages and layout for e-book publishing, meeting the differing requirements from different e-book platforms ($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 a 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 books to be printed, and pay the shipping to get them to you.

  • Submit your ebook version to individual ebook distributors.

  • Print Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of the book and send to appropriate book reviewers, newspapers, and journals for reviews.

  • 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.

  • Pack and ship all orders for printed books 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 yourself, but self-published books tend to appear and read less professionally. Many are published without professional 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 the items listed above.  Far too often, however, self-published books are poorly edited or not edited at all, poorly or not proofed, and badly designed with no distribution plan, and as such, are not welcomed by bookstores, and 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 partnership, both of which provide specific support services for your book.  We maintain a commitment to writing that reflects competence, creativity, political and social 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 your 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 the Whew! list yourself, as a self-publishing author, your partnership with Rootstock supports your intention to create a great book by utilizing our professional experience to do the legwork for you.

Rootstock Publishing offers two levels of publishing and promotional 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, as an essential step to a quality publication.
  • We work with you to make certain all permissions and credits are obtained.
  • We provide a professional proofreading 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 send ARCs (Advance Reader 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 current 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 print runs, providing the highest quality, 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 sent electronically in PDF form to 27,000 international and domestic customers.
  • Your book will be available through our distribution partners (Ingram and Baker & Taylor) and independent booksellers nationwide, as well as online from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and many other online retailers worldwide.
  • We send ARCs 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, in partnership with you, we identify and promote your book to appropriate reviewers, newspapers, and 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 sell sheet and 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 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.
  • In partnership with you (according to the author contract), we promote to regional booksellers' conventions in your area.  For instance, if you live in New England, we promote (using sell sheets and samples of your book) to the New England Independent Booksellers Association Convention, the New England Library Association's 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 independently with an editor and proofreader from among our Creative Partners Team, or another of their choice.
  • The author contracts with a book designer of their 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 in addition to the cost of the Partnership Publishing Agreements. It is intentional that our services packages do NOT include printing. We will work with you to determine a first print-run, with a view toward keeping the costs manageable, and we will talk through sales expectations utilizing a pre-order campaign. While we 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 your 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, earning you a much higher profit margin. 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 at any time, if you so choose, and you retain the right to sell the broadcast and movie rights, at your discretion.  

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