I´m Etienne, writer creative writing teacher and CEO of the SadWolf Verlag @https://sadwolf-verlag.de a German book publishing company.

Since we celebrated our eights birthday the 14th of November I wanted to do an AmA. Feel free to ask anything


Comments: 210 • Responses: 94  • Date: 

AIHexonal40 karma

I'm an artist and I've been toying with the idea of a book that is a collection of short stories and maybe a novella based on my art - giving several authors an image without context to use as inspiration. Would it be better to find some authors, pay them spec to do the stories first, and shop around for publishers/ self publish, or try to pitch the idea to publishers to find authors? I know usage rights could get messy either way. I'm in the U.S. so I don't know how different publishing in Europe is. Thanks!

Ill_Armadillo978539 karma

That's an interesting idea for sure. You should do it. A method could be to enter some forums and post your idea. So that authors can write you a message with their idea. You could also start with writing a story first to show how you envision a finished work could be, for other authors or to pitch the idea to a publishing company.

I can definitely see a market for it, so my first advice :

Go for it

AIHexonal8 karma

Thanks! I appreciate the encouragement!

Ill_Armadillo978513 karma

You're welcome. How it works with anthologies (at least in Germany) is that the royalties are split between the different authors. For example, if you have 10 different authors, each get 10% of the royalties

WhoaEpic2 karma

I have a colleague who has a book out, but the name and marketing is all wrong. It scares off readers who would enjoy it, even though it is very well-written.

I am proposing working with a graphic designer and republishing under a new name and cover, have you done this before?

Ill_Armadillo97852 karma

Yes, we did that too for various reasons. Sometimes the author wants to change and /or update his novel and we make a new cover image to signal, that it's more or less a new novel.

Changing the name is also fully alright

thewildbeej34 karma

You must be thrilled that for once in its modern existence US antitrust laws worked and prevented the merger of Simon&Shu and Penguin?

Ill_Armadillo978526 karma

It's definitely a step in the right direction. It's important to have independent publishing companies that are not part of a big holding.

As with Size of the holding, the value of the company (if its publicly traded) becomes more important than literature. So only big names get published or stories that are sure to hit a certain benchmark in sales.

loakkala29 karma

What is the worst thing about the company you work for and how do you plan on fixing it?

Ill_Armadillo978530 karma

That's a great question. There's nothing that is really bad. But some things could be improved. The visibility for example, hence this AmA.

Probably the worst is that in general we noticed, that people who read are getting Less. So we try to change it by providing great stories.

There is a multitude of reasons, some just don't like reading, so we take care of having great novels. Other don't have enough time, or energy to read, unfortunately that is something we cannot change

unassumingdink4 karma

There's nothing that is really bad.

Extremely hard to trust a CEO who would say this.

Ill_Armadillo97859 karma

Well, there is always something that can be improved. But my team is amazing and we developed a great workflow. I understand your point, it's just that there is nothing that is so bad, that makes the work unbearable

Educational_Farmer7328 karma

Why is Wolf Sad?

Ill_Armadillo978545 karma

He isn't. It's partly my last name and partly the name of my best friend.

Sad -ek and Wolf - ers

And it's also fitting as we strive to be the "lone wolves" of publishing companies and not follow the mainstream

DimbyTime7 karma

Very cool! I like it

Ill_Armadillo97855 karma

Thank you

PeanutSalsa18 karma

How do you promote books you've published? What advice would you give someone who has self published to promote their book effectively?

Ill_Armadillo978520 karma

It's different for every book. We work with journalists and newspapers. Nowadays it's a lot about social media.

If you're a self publisher, than go into some forums, build yourself a social media presence, try to engage with your audience

Ill_Armadillo978512 karma


Take a look at the story and genre you're writing. Is it more into fantasy? Than the chances are, you like fantasy yourself and you are already in some forum. For example a friend writes phantasy and he loves dungeon and dragons, that led him to LARP event groups and at one LARP event he could have a public reading and now he's pretty known in the LARP Community

LearnStuffAccount11 karma

Is it possible to be a successful author these days without a social media presence? Once upon a time, authors could remain relatively anonymous but still enjoy commercial success. Is that still the case, in your opinion?

Ill_Armadillo978521 karma

Yes, you can write under an Alias. Many authors do that when they write different genres.

There are 3 types. Open, half open and closed.

Open means, that it's no secret, it's just there to signal, that you write something different.

Half open means, that you don't publicly tell it, but if someone wants to know it, it can be found out (Google search or Wikipedia) and closed means that it's forbidden to reveal your true name.

So it's certainly possible, but nowadays it's more difficult as readers want to know the person behind the amazing stories

LearnStuffAccount5 karma

Interesting, thank you for sharing!

I feel like Germany is one of the few countries left in the world that still respects a right to privacy. Many US publishers these days only want to work with authors who have already built an online following — which hypothetically means great stories written by unknown writers who aren’t on social media won’t get a chance.

Ill_Armadillo97857 karma

You're welcome. Indeed it's very high regulated in Germany. But the mentioned issue is also here. Most publishing companies only publish already established authors. That is sad in my opinion as many very talented people don't get a real chance. That's why we said from day one, that we will always have a few slots in our release schedule reserved for yet unknown authors

Due_Amount_37501 karma

Really? So they also outsourced advertising the book to the writer? Then why should not anyone just self publish if he is not already famous? At least the lazy publisher does not get any money for doing literally nothing.

Ill_Armadillo97855 karma

A lot of authors do it. On the other hand, working with a book publishing company gives you the knowledge, that you don't have to pay for anything, from the proofreading to the printing and a book publishing company also does marketing on a more corporate level, working with journalists, newspapers, radio etc. So its a trade to consider.

If you want complete control and have the majority of the earnings and are able to pay for everything yourself, than self - publishing is the right way for you.

If you are alright doing marketing, but otherwise only having to write, than working with a book publishing company is the best way

Due_Amount_37501 karma

Well, but that does not help if they do not want new authors that nobody knows of. If social media is a must to sell a book this world is even more sad than I already think it is. Well, it is as it is.
Are you also interested in hard Science Fiction?
Piper is probably a good choice, but their statement "If you do not hear from us after 6 month understand it as rejection" is not really likeable to me. At least have an e-mail-script to give some feedback...

Ill_Armadillo97853 karma

I understand your point. It's indeed a little bit sad. The 6 month period after that you can consider it as rejection is unfortunately the reality. Book publishing companies receive several thousand exposé's per year and often its the issue of time.

Sure, you can send us your exposé at [email protected]

Ok-Bar99987 karma

Can i get any job?

Ill_Armadillo978511 karma

Thank you for your interest.

You can apply on [email protected].

Right now all our positions are filled and we only offer internship or internships

Ok-Bar99985 karma

I am in class 12( senior secondary/higher studies) not in college. I do have a laptop and good internet connection so is there anything I can help?

Ill_Armadillo97859 karma

I like your enthusiasm. Maybe in marketing and social media

Ok-Bar99989 karma

Ok i am applying 😌

Ill_Armadillo97857 karma

Great 😀

ian4real5 karma

Can I submit manuscripts written in English?

Ill_Armadillo97858 karma

Sure one of our authors Helen Hollick approached us in English and were happy to work with her.

Two other authors approached us in French

GasmaskGelfling4 karma

Do you publish an English submission in English or translate it into German? Or do you do different editions?

What rights do you request upon publishing?

Ill_Armadillo978510 karma

So far we translated the books into German.

It's all about negotiation. We use standardised contracts provided by ver.di (it's a union that gives guidelines for different industries).

The main rights are

the exclusive publication rights The rights to the characters for advertising The rights to electronic distribution (E-Books) The audio rights (for audiobook versions) The right to adaption into moving media (TV / Film / Plays).

But if the author is not confortable giving up certain rights, for example movie or merchandising rights. We are open to exclude them in the contract.

Our contracts are also limited to 2 years, they are prolonged on a one year basis if no party involved wants to terminate it. Also it can be dissolved with 6 month notice.

The idea for us is, that we want happy authors, if they are not they shouldn't be forced to stay.

Fortunately they are and we seldom have to end a contract

GasmaskGelfling6 karma

Do you take foreign rights? Or just the right to publish the manuscript in German?

Ill_Armadillo97855 karma

So far we only took the rights for the German Market. But we work also with literary agencies and upon request we can also take the international rights so that we can represent the author towards international literary agencies

FaustusC5 karma

What's the most copies a book you've published has sold?

Ill_Armadillo978510 karma

I would have to ask our accounting department to be exact. But it was over 40.000 copies

FaustusC3 karma

Pretty damn good for a smaller publisher.

Ill_Armadillo97859 karma

Thank you very much. Yes, we where lucky enough to gain a great reputation when it comes to noir in Germany. Many people want to read something other than "mainstream". But it's due to our amazing team of dedicated people, from first screening up to layout everyone is amazing and I'm very lucky to have such an extraordinary team and our Fans are also amazing.

So all in all, it was the right time with the right people

EstroJen4 karma

I'm not familiar with your company, but looking at the website it looks like you specialize in noir books. Would you ever publish something outside that subject?

Ill_Armadillo97858 karma

Yes, we publish noir fiction. Not necessarily horror, but more serious. We Aim that we have a good story that is at the same time meaningful. Like our "Pendragon" series. Its about the Myth of King Arthur. But very realistic, without Dragons and Magic. The author is advisor for the BBC when it comes to history, so the readers can learn a lot about the time and imagine how the story could really have happened

kmsxpoint63 karma

If I wanted to suggest a combined edition of two works by different authors with different publishers but on the same subject while soliciting essays to respond and accompany it...er...How do combined editions, compendiums, or collections from different publishers get put together?

Ill_Armadillo97854 karma

That's a complicated question. Can you elaborate further?

Are the two authors already published by two different companies?

kmsxpoint62 karma

Sure I can be very specific, but a general answer is great too. In this case they are different, and I don't know of any relationship between the specific publishers. One is a relatively older prize-winning biography and the other is a relatively recently produced but well-received play about the bio's subject. So that is very niche, perhaps, but in general if there are different publishers, how does it work? Or is it for the most part only feasible with public domain works?

I imagine it is simpler when the authors have the same publisher already, and insight on that too would be interesting as well, such as how a short story collection gets put together with or without the same publisher?

Ill_Armadillo97855 karma

I try to answer best as I can. In general novels by more than one author I.e anthologies are published by one publisher. Or it can be trough self publishing. The royalties are than shared between the authors.

If it's a story that builds upon a already written story that could be a fan fiction and fall under the fair use (if it's not sold commercially). But these are only my take on it.

The author has the intellectual rights to the story. The publisher only has the distribution rights (to distribute them commercially). So if you want to write something that builds on the story, the best way would be to contact the author and ask him directly. The author probably be able to answer better how the rights are distributed etc.

Working-Bonus-68513 karma

I’m 52 a retired police officer, teacher of 22 years and managed a Nashville artist. My students for years and my kids have always told me I need to write a book about my life. How would go about finding someone to help me through the process with out getting ripped off?

Ill_Armadillo97853 karma

Thats definitely an amazing advice. Your kids are absolutely right.

There are many ways. You can just start writing and then look around for a proofreader that has a credible track record.

Join some Self-Publishing groups and ask around who knows someone. Usually people who are not trustworthy don't work for long as word of mouth is very important.

When you found some, you can Google the average rate per page (usually proofreader work with standard page fees. A standard page, when completely filled, has 30 lines of 60 characters each, i.e. 1800 characters including spaces. But of course, pages contain dialogue, paragraphs and breaks, so most pages have only about 1500-1600 characters.)

If you want to wrap your life story in a fiction format, than there are some nice books about creative writing, some good YouTube videos or you could join creative writing classes (shameless self advertising. I give also classes 😜).

Which way you go, keep it up. You are an amazing source, you know best what is realistic and what is not and I have no doubt, that you could write some amazing things

Working-Bonus-68512 karma

Do you have a link for your classes and pricing?

Ill_Armadillo97852 karma

As I don't do it full time, I don't really advertise it, so it's more on request. I do it mostly to help people, as from my experience, there are amazing people who have amazing things to tell.

And it's pretty simple. It's 80€ per month. Twice a week one hour each. So 80 € for 8 hours per month. Per discord or live chat or if its not convenient than per email.

I teach from the basic structure of "how to start" up to more in depths like character creation, dialogues and world building.

If you're interested, just write me a message

Working-Bonus-68513 karma

Ok thank you. I’m trying figure out if I want to write a bio on my life or stories of investigations I was involved in. I had one case where the nurse kidnapped a pregnant patient and surgically removed the baby. It was pretty heinous and evil. So I’m trying to figure out which road to go down. But I’ll message you thank you.

Ill_Armadillo97852 karma

Sounds epic. Its definitely a story that I never read so far. I see a very interesting story there, if you write it, I would love to read it (I'm a publisher, writer but I also love to read a good story. See you're already getting readers 😁)

Nixplosion3 karma

Let's say I have a finished book that I've written.

What's my next step to get it published? Just send copies to publishers like yourself and await feedback?

Or contact them and request an audience to have the book considered?

Ill_Armadillo97855 karma

There are three main ways.

  1. If you want to publish it yourself you can join social media and book reading circles and forums.

  2. You prepare an exposé and send it to publishing companies that publish your genre

  3. You can pitch it to a literary agency

LoudEvolution3 karma

What’s a SadWolf?

Ill_Armadillo97852 karma

It's a mix of my last name and the last name of my best friend

IsleofNantes3 karma

What is the importance of your best friend in terms of your company and the name?

Ill_Armadillo97853 karma

We started the company together, so he's integral to the company's identity

knbknb3 karma

Do you focus on Noir Thrillers and Fantasy, because this is what readers want, or because this is what you actually want to publish?

Do you think the demand for crime-stories will cool down some time?

Ill_Armadillo97856 karma

We set out to publish noir fiction. My best friend and I love noir and neo noir stories like Blade Runner, Chinatown and so on. We felt the lack of it in German literature.

So we started out like that and it didn't change.

That's a core concept of our publishing house. We don't follow the trends. Like volves we like to lead the pack 😁

I don't think that it will die. Noir is and always was about stories with depth.

I assume that it's actually getting bigger as many readers don't want to read the next clone of a clone of a story

CadenceQuandry3 karma

I'm writing a series of stories aimed at young kids about respecting how they feel, boundaries, and the like. Any interest in publishing? (Just kidding, but I'd love some feedback and tips! Unless you're looking to publish some awesome children's books!)

Ill_Armadillo97857 karma

Thank you for your interest. But we don't publish children's books. But you're idea sounds very nice.

You should definitely try to find a fitting book publishing company, this kind of educational books / stories are important.

You could also start out printing a few stories and contact some schools and ask if you could have a reading there. Schools and parents are always interested in good educational books

CadenceQuandry3 karma

That's a wonderful idea. Thank you so much!

Ill_Armadillo97854 karma

It's my pleasure

truedoom3 karma

I have never heard of the company 😊 what is the best selling book, or most well known book you've published?

Ill_Armadillo97857 karma

I'm glad that I could change that hahahaha.

We have a few books that won prices.

"Loa" a mystery novel about Voodoo that also explains a lot about the history of it won Germany's best Youth book

"Noir Anthologie" a book consisting of short stories of different genres won Germany's best anthology

"Erfrorene Seele" a contemporary mystery novel got critical acclaim and is being published also in France

Same with "Venus" a book about domestic abuse

And the "Frankfurt 1-3" series that is being made into a screenplay for 3 seasons following a book per season.

Also the "Pendragon series" from a "USA Today" Bestseller author Helen Hollick

We are fortunate to have amazing authors in our book publishing company

Curiousmarshmello2 karma

Everything I write I end up deleting it because I end up not liking it or entering a wall.

Tips for getting over it?

Ill_Armadillo97852 karma

What is your approach to writing, are you more the writing first and then structuring later or do you plan out your story first and then start writing?

Curiousmarshmello2 karma

I have the general structure and then I write it, but the details and the hows are where I get lost

Ill_Armadillo978513 karma

Well, than you already know the first issue, or where you can't get past.

A simple technique is my 5by5™ method.

Write 5 sentences in following order :

  1. Beginning. The beginning setting. The shire
  2. First problem: something that the main character must overcome;how does Harry get the letters?
  3. Turning point: something that changes the story; I am your father
  4. Worst case scenario. Where everything falls apart : Voldemort is back and has a huge army
  5. Ending. How does the story end?

Than describe each sentence in the same structure as above.

1.1. Frodo wakes up 1.2. He can't find Bilbo 1.3. Bilbo wants to leave and won't come back 1.4. Gandalf tells Frodo about the Ring that must be destroyed and the Nazgül are on their way. 1.5. Frodo sets out

You can than do the same and take each sentence and expand them.

In very broad strokes:

In the first 5 sentences you have the broad structure.

Second step you have the chapters

Third step you have the scenes

Fourth steps you have the sequences

Fifth step you have the dialogues.

That could help you, when you're lost.

Often it's the case, that the "fear of the blank page" sets in and the main issue is the feeling to be lost and not to know where to start.

This structure helps you to know, what the next steps are.

And if that doesn't work, you already have a structure, and you put the story away for a while till you are inspired for that story again and you work in the meantime on another one

Curiousmarshmello5 karma

Wow that’s amazing I’ll try it. Because I always introduce the dialogue at first. Thank you so much

Ill_Armadillo97855 karma

I'm glad that I have could help. If you need more advice, just send me an message

Kanute33332 karma

What is your outlook for the next 5 years?

Ill_Armadillo97851 karma

On what exactly?

Kanute33333 karma

On your company in specific, but also the general industry and the general interest in books.

Ill_Armadillo97853 karma

We try to publish the best possible books. The general industry is changing, nowadays its a lot more important to stand out, with a specific field of work. Storytelling will always be important, just the mediums change

DimbyTime2 karma

What are your top 3 favorite books you’d recommend someone to check out?

Ill_Armadillo97851 karma

From SadWolf or in general?

DimbyTime1 karma

In general. I need some new bok recs and im sure you have great ones!! I’m a mid 30s woman, and genres I like are fantasy, syfy, romance, epics, dramas, or any combination.

Ill_Armadillo97852 karma

Phantasy ; The Raymond Feist Midkemia Novels are amazing. (the Entire series spans countless Novels

Thriller: I really like John le carré. tinker tailor soldier spy is great.

For Horror: H.P Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe

And the Dark tower by Stephen King

DimbyTime2 karma

Thank you!!

Ill_Armadillo97852 karma

It's my pleasure, especially Midkemia was a big part of my childhood and is dear to my heart

Kanute33332 karma

What was the best book you have published so far and for what reason?

Ill_Armadillo97853 karma

"Fucking Karma" is the name. In my oppinion it's the "best" (fortunately we don't have bad books, as we are very picky hahaha. But for me it stands out as I did the proofreading and I really got into the story. It's about a person who was in jail and was tortured and to mentally survive, builds his own world. Its a bit like the movie "Life of Pi". But I can't say, that it's really the "Best". I can proudly say, that all of our books are amazing

IsleofNantes2 karma

What's your founding story? Anything unusual?

Ill_Armadillo97853 karma

Hahahaha, yes, very special indeed.

The background is, that I'm a novelist and my best friend is musician.

One day we got a little bit too drunk and talked about art and how difficult it is to get a foot in the door.

Than we drank more and we where absolutely wasted. And we decided, that we don't work for others anymore and start our own business.

We couldn't decide between a publishing company and a music label. So we did the most grow up thing, if you have to make a decision.

We flipped a coin.

And that was the birth of the SadWolf publishing company.

Than we realized, that we didn't had any money, so we got to the casino and played poker and we won 100€

With that and a massive hangover we got to the notary and the following weeks we survived only by energy drinks to figure out, what to do and how a book publishing company works.

All in all it was pretty epic

RedtheGamer1002 karma

Do you take unsolicited manuscripts?

Ill_Armadillo97853 karma

All the time. Authors send us their manuscript digitally and we try to screen each of them. Usually the screening process takes a minimum of 6 month.

On our website www.sadwolf-verlag.de you can find the requirements.

My advice is to use the "Deep L" translator to translate.

Most publishers receive unsolicited manuscripts (if they don't, they usually state it on their Web presence). Every book publishing company is always looking for new talents

RedtheGamer1006 karma

I respect that. I temporarily had my own company and it fell apart, but the one principle I always maintained was accepting unsolicited manuscripts as I remember how tough it was, as an aspiring writer, to get an agent for those publishing houses.

Ill_Armadillo97853 karma

I'm really sorry to hear that. Yes these are tough times unfortunately. But you can be proud of yourself that you did it and the things you learned, no-one can take it away. And who knows, maybe you start again.

Yes, that was also our idea. There are many talented people who want to write, but are not established yet. So they have a hard time to find a publisher. That's why we try to have a healthy ratio of known authors and always new ones

RedtheGamer1003 karma

Thanks brother, appreciate it. Yeah, I definitely learned a lot and won't be making the same mistakes again down the road should I ever wish to do it again.

That philosophy is amazing to hear and I'll definitely be following you all more closely. Do you have any volunteer opportunities for your company? As an English Major, I'd love to help with any editing you need.

Ill_Armadillo97854 karma

Thank you very much. You can write us an E-Mail at [email protected]

Than we can see if we find something

OrdinaryRaspberry42 karma

How much money do you gross per year?

Ill_Armadillo97852 karma

I would have to ask our accounting team. But it's enough to be able to pay the amazing people on the team

Lyokomaniac2 karma

How do you pronounce your first name?

ReasonablyBadass2 karma

How do you cover copyright etc. of new releases? To check a publication if the rights for something are covered? Like for names etc. Are there specialised lawyers for that?

Ill_Armadillo97854 karma

Great question. We ask the author beforehand if there are mention of real life people, music, quotes other works etc. And through the proofreading process the proofreader makes notes of things that could be in any way under another copyright. And if its the case we talk with our lawyer about it and what are the steps we need to take to cover the author, story and ourself

ReasonablyBadass2 karma

Thanks for the answer!

Ill_Armadillo97852 karma

It's my pleasure

EstroJen2 karma

Another question - what advice would you give to someone who is attempting to write and illustrate a children's book? It's kind of an important story to me and I love it and the characters so much. I want to find the right audience and I'm not sure how.

Ill_Armadillo97853 karma

First advice : absolutely do it.

If you want complete control over the entire process then you can self publish it.

If you can illustrate it yourself and make the cover image, than it's already a big step forward.

Than you need to find someone too proofread and for the layout. And than you can print it via a book on demand service

EstroJen2 karma

How hard is it to get a self-published book into stores?

Ill_Armadillo97852 karma

I can only speak for Germany, its almost impossible if you don't know someone that is in retail or has a book store.

When a book is published through a publishing company, they usually work with other companies that ensure the transfer from the warehouse of the company to the bookstore within 24 hours. So bookstore prefer this security as they can be sure to get the ordered book on time (and they don't have to fear, that a customer that ordered the book, cancels the order, because it takes to long to receive it)

EstroJen2 karma

Thank you for the help! I have a minor fan base for the main character, a dog. Is there a way to use those friends to bring my story to a larger audience? I've been writing about this dog for years on reddit and I've finally decided to put that dog's adventures into something real.

Ill_Armadillo97852 karma

You're welcome. Well, the first step is to write about the adventures. Than you can certainly advertise in your friend group and forum centered around dogs

SuicidalSmoke2 karma

Hi. I'm an unprofessional writer, currently studying in BAs. I think I'm struggling with something called writer's block. It almost feels like my creativity is on a downhill trend. Creating art out of nothing was the best part of writing for me but now I can barely come up with short sentences and paragraphs here and there and that's it. Most of the time i don't even know what I wanna say. Is there a definite solution to this? Is it possible for a concept such as creativity or at least literary creativity to just significantly decrease with no reason? Furthermore, can you please give me some tips on how to write for longer sessions? I intend to write a book at some point but I figured I should probably start out on short stories but writing even for a single page takes too much time and energy sometimes to even consider starting even tho the actual process of writing usually passes by pretty quickly. I appreciate your help in advance.

Ill_Armadillo97852 karma

I'm sorry to hear that, first of all, you're not alone every writer has sometimes writers block. From a writer who starts out to Stephen King.

I would suggest that you use m, but 5by5™ method :

You write 5 sentences in following order:

  1. Beginning: the setting
  2. First problem that the main character must overcome; how do Harry Potter get the letters?
  3. Turning point: something that changes the story; I am your father
  4. Worst case scenario. Voldemort is back and he has a huge army
  5. Ending

Than you take each sentence and expand them into the same structure as above

1.1 frodo wakes up 1.2 he can't find Bilbo 1.3 Bilbo wants to leave an never come back 1.4 Gandalf gives the ring and the Nazgül are on the way. 1.5 Frodo sets out

That gives you an idea. When you finished that, you don't have to worry about "loosing" a story.

Now you can develop another story and when you have a few, just work on which you feel like it.

The second advice is that you don't write a book, you sit down and write one page, and than another and so on. If you have in mind that you want to write a book, it creates a lot of pressure.

That could help. If you have more questions, send me a message

SuicidalSmoke2 karma

Thank you for this! It helps a lot! I'll reach out if I have further questions.

Ill_Armadillo97851 karma

Glad I could help

ZylonBane2 karma

What's a book?

Ill_Armadillo97859 karma

An assortment of pages.

There are different kinds of books, fiction, telling a fictional story or non-fiction telling a (hopefully) non fictional story or explaining something

Emergency-Wave-53351 karma


Ill_Armadillo97851 karma

Good question. I wouldn't, as if a reader wishes an autograph, than the reader even if its not one reader, but 900 paid their hard earned money to get the autograph, so in my opinion it would be a bit shady. I know that some authors do, but I personally wouldn't feel morally well

Emergency-Wave-53351 karma


Ill_Armadillo97854 karma

Hahahaha, thank you. Well you can make us famous enough so that we can buy S&S and I promise that I will have make him a apology video and on tape signing 900 apology letters.

That's definitely a, pardon my French, scumbag move

MI6Section131 karma

Why doesn't the film industry stop not lazily polishing old gems and mine for new ones. The espionage genre suffers much from the lazy risk averse philosophy of polishing old gems such as Bond, Palmer, Smiley, Bond, Palmer, Smiley, Bond and Bridges again!

A good example of such a new gem in the espionage genre is Beyond Enkription, the first spy thriller in The Burlington Files series. The real life story would make for a stunning TV series or films and being based on fact, it would be more difficult for actors and TV producers to deliver a lazy production.

Why choose The Burlington Files when some critics have likened its protagonist to a "posh and sophisticated Harry Palmer"? Maybe it has a touch of Michael Caine magic but on another positive note it is indisputably anti-Bond rather than merely Deightonesque. Film producers should check out this enigmatic and elusive thriller. As it's not yet a remake it may have eluded them to date.

Do Google The Burlington Files or visit https://theburlingtonfiles.org and read Beyond Enkription.

Ill_Armadillo97852 karma

Thank you

eaglesong31 karma

I'm not sure what the publishing volume is that you handle, but I've often wondered with the number of manuscripts that get submitted for publishing, how do you go about initial screening? There can't possibly be enough time to fully read the number of drafts a publisher receives. Do you skim the manuscript first, read a chapter, judge it by it's cover? ;-)

Basically, what do you do to determine if a submitted piece is worth taking the time to fully read and consider for publishing?

Ill_Armadillo97853 karma

We request an exposé and three sample chapters.

When that arrives it gets read and then in the first screening in gets determined if it goes to our "longlist" or not (the reason why it could be rejected is that maybe its not the kind of books we publish, for example if it's not Noir, or if it doesn't have something special to it, like an interesting twist, a unique perspective and so on).

Than at our quarterly meeting we talk about each book on our longlist.

Than every exposé and sample chapters are read by different people.

The best books get to the shortlist. Then we contact the author and request the entire book. Than at our next quarterly meeting we compare the books on the shortlist with each other and determine which ones we will publish.

If the books are all equally good than it happens that we offer a contract for publishing in the next 1-2 years.

The usual ratio is, that 80 % don't go to the longlist. From that around 60% don't go to the shortlist and from the shortlist only 10% get published the following year.

We publish 6-12 books per year

kkbm15031 karma

Can you walk us through how best you would recommend someone who has completed a manuscript to pitch to a publisher such as yours?

Ill_Armadillo97855 karma


First step is to have a good exposé on our website we have a template; https://sadwolf-verlag.de/einsendung.html

(you have to translate it, I recommend the translation software "Deep L")

The next step is to search for a book publishing company that publishes your genre. For example fantasy, crime, sci-fi etc.

Than you can write them a mail or call to ask if they take exposé's at the moment (mostly they do, but it's a nice gesture).

Then send them your exposé with three chapters or 30 pages or sample from your book. And than wait patiently. After around 6 month the chances are, that your exposé has been screened (it's not certain) so you can contact them to ask if they received and screened it.

And then when it comes to the interview, tell the publishing company how you started and what sparked the idea.

kkbm15031 karma

Wonderful information, thanks so much for taking the time!!

Ill_Armadillo97851 karma

You're welcome

Hyperhelium1 karma

Hi. What would be the best fist steps for a new writer who wants to publish their first book? What should they do?

Ill_Armadillo97851 karma

Can you tell me if the manuscript is already finished or you're starting to write? Than I can answer better

Hyperhelium1 karma

I'm sorry for the late reply. I had not seen you had answered my question. I appreciate it, thank you. It's still a work in progress but once it's finished I do not know what to do. I was planning to send it to a proof reader first and then to some publishing company, but I don't know if that would be feasible because I know they have too many proposals.

Ill_Armadillo97853 karma

Don't worry.

When you finished your book, than there are two main path to follow.:

Self publishing or working with a book publishing company.

The main difference is, that as self publisher you have entire control over the whole process, but you have to manage and pay for everything yourself.

Working with a book publishing company means, that you only get a part of the earnings as royalties and most things are not completely under your control, but you don't have to organize and pay for anything.

If you want to publish at a book publishing company you should start with the exposé. On our website we have a template


(you will have to translate it, I suggest to use the translator software "Deep L").

You than shouldn't worry about the proofreading as its done by the company.

Than you should start to establish a social media presence.

Write the companies that publish your genre a mail asking if they are looking for exposé's (most do, but it's a nice touch to ask beforehand).

Than you send your exposé and wait. The screening process lasts usually for around 6 month. After that amount of time you can contact them again and ask if they received your exposé and if there is already a decision (maybe they need 2-3 month longer).

While waiting you already start with your next story.

If you want to self publish your work, then the steps are a bit different.

You should already look for a proofreader / editor in forums etc. Take your time to find someone that is credible and works with self publisher.

With that proofreader / editor you can develop your story and / or work on plot points if needed.

After completing, you should also start establishing your online presence. Ask online for test-readers, let other people read your work and give you feedback.

Than if you already work with a proofreader / editor they will probably know someone that designs book covers, if not that's the next step.

After that, you need someone who is can do the layout etc. But a good editor / proofreader will know the different steps. And than you can finally work with a print on demand service.

Hyperhelium1 karma

Thank you very much for your reply! I will follow those steps as soon as the book is finished! Thanks again!

Ill_Armadillo97851 karma

You're welcome

Big_Tenis_1 karma

Hello sir,
a 12th grader here
I wrote a novel when i was in 6th grade. Decided to publish it and went to local publishing company. I edited and did everything related to book and they published the book and gave me 100 copies. But now, i just realised that i have no proof that i wrote the book in 6th grade. They just printed it and nothing else. No ISBN or anything as a proof. Sir is there anything that i can do now

Hangry_Squirrel1 karma

It doesn't sound like you published it, but like you had it printed for you (i.e. you self-published). When you self-publish, you retain all the rights, so you're free to shop around for a publisher.

Big_Tenis_1 karma

So sir is there any way now at present to show that i have published that book in 2017

Ill_Armadillo97852 karma

If you had to pay yourself for the prints, that it was a book on demand kind of thing.

The intellectual property is still absolutely yours and you have every possibility to look for other book publishing companies (not print on demand).

The proof that you have written the story, is at least that you send them the files.

As author you always have the intellectual property, you only give the company the rights of distribution.

So you don't have to worry, find a book publishing company and send them your exposé and you will be fine

Big_Tenis_1 karma

Thanks sir for your help

Ill_Armadillo97851 karma

My pleasure

Ill_Armadillo97851 karma

You're absolutely right

IsleofNantes1 karma

What are your thoughts about artificial intelligence in the creative writing segment? Maybe not today, but in a few years. Do you think it will replace human artists?

Ill_Armadillo97852 karma

I personally don't think that it will replace artists. Human art could become way more valuable as its more rare maybe, but artificial intelligence it's just a tool, not a replacement

Glittering-Gain32861 karma

i need a job can u help me? I write creatively.

Ill_Armadillo97852 karma

Thank you for your interest, all our positions are full, we can only offer internships

Gamoc1 karma

I've wanted to write a novel for ages but every time I sit down to do it I think about how I'll have no idea what do with it once I've written it and the drive to do so does up. Can you explain the process of how a book publisher might get contacted by prospective authors, out how they find them?

Ill_Armadillo97852 karma

Sure. When you finished your novel, you write an exposé. On the our website we can have a a template https://sadwolf-verlag.de/einsendung.html

(you will have to translate it, I would suggest that you use the translation software "Deep L").

Than you search for book publishing companies that publish your genre(s) and you contact them if they take exposé's (most do, but it's a nice touch to ask.

Than you send them your exposé and start working on your next novel. The screening time at a book publishing company is around 6 month.

Or you can go the route of self publishing

gwhh1 karma

Why do famous political people. Who books never sell. Keep getting 10 million dollar books deals time and time again. Don’t the book companies realize this? Michael Obama and Hillary Clinton’s comes to mind. As major examples of this.

Ill_Armadillo97852 karma

That is a very good question. Honest answer : I have no clue 🤣

4Impossible_Guess41 karma

The answer to sad world has been posted, dig it. ...what's your favorite cheese?

Ill_Armadillo97856 karma

Swiss cheese. I like the plot holes

knbknb1 karma

Have you ever sold the movie rights to any of the books in your roster? Would this be great, something like next-level success? How does this work? Or would the potential licensee first need to talk to the author (instead f the publisher)?

Ill_Armadillo97855 karma

Yes we did. Well we gave the rights back to the author and we made a contract, so that we get a share of his earnings.

He then licensed the rights and he gets the majority of the earnings.

Some would say, we could have sold the rights ourselves and make a huge profit. But we don't operate like that. We are built on fairness, and it's his story and ideas. We helped him to get recognised, but it's his work.

And yes, it was definitely a big reward for the entire team and a clear sign, that we are on the right track when it comes to choosing manuscripts.

And in the end, that's the reason why many people like our publishing company as they can be sure, that they buy a book and everyone gets his fair share of the earnings

JACrazy1 karma

Arent you the guy from Money Heist?

Ill_Armadillo97853 karma

Thanks for the compliment. I get the question often. I'm a former creative writing teacher, so who knows😉

Nimyron1 karma

Are ideas worth anything ?

Like let's say someone comes to you with a script, they wrote their whole book, you read it, the concept of it, the idea, how the story is told, it's all good, but the writing itself, the vocabulary, the grammar, it's shit. Would you try helping that person write their book properly so you could actually consider publishing it, or would it just be a no and you expect something worth publishing immediately ?

Btw I don't write and I have close to no idea of what's the process to publish a book, so if that question doesn't sound smart, well it's because it isn't.

Ill_Armadillo97853 karma

I love the saying "there are no stupid questions, only people who die stupid, because they don't ask questions".

And your question is a very good one.

Yes, it happened a few times. When the idea is amazing but the writing is not on our standard but we believe in it. Than it's our job to help the author to get his vision.

So it happens that we plan to release the finished book two or three years from now and we sit down with the author and the editor and the proofreader and figure out from the ground up how the story should be structured to meet the high standards that our readers expect from us while remaining faithful to the authors vision.

The general process is :

  1. We get to screen the manuscript
  2. We decide which editor and proofreader proofreader will work on it (some are specialised on fantasy, others know about thriller and crime fiction etc.)
  3. While the manuscript is worked on, first ideas for the cover image are developed.
  4. After the proofreading is done, we start with the layout, often times pictures / drawings are implemented to make the book visually interesting
  5. The book is printed and delivered to the book stores or other retailers

Nimyron1 karma

Thanks, I'm glad to know you're really giving a chance to people out there who have good ideas but struggle a bit to put them into writing.

As for the general process it's funny I expected something a lot more complexe.

Ill_Armadillo97852 karma

You're welcome. It's very important to give yet unknown authors a fair chance.

Well, it's definitely simplified and there are more steps involved, mostly administrative ones.

For example in our publishing company there are three phases of screening an exposé.

First screening is if the requirements stated on our website. are met

If so, than the exposé is send to an editor who screens it.

When the editor / proofreader see potential, than we ask for the whole Manuskript and not only the exposé and the three sample chapters required.

Than it's read by the proofreader. Than it goes on a "longlist" and talked about in our quarterly meeting.

If it's decided that the book can get further, it goes on the "shortlist" with 3-4 other manuscripts.

Than read again by a different proofreader.

Than at the next quarterly meeting if it's decided that it will be published. We begin with the release schedule phase, deciding according to theme and atmosphere when it's best to be published and we offer the first draft of the contract to the author.

Following are talks with lawyers, contract negotiations etc. From receiving to publishing the book, usually last around 18 - 24 month. But in a broad sense these are the general steps above are the one's taken

Nimyron1 karma

Alright I see, thanks for all this insight !

Ill_Armadillo97851 karma

My pleasure

Familiar-Money-5151 karma

What makes a novel stand out to you in the beginning of the publishing process?

Ill_Armadillo97853 karma

We take a look at the originality, we want to surprise and amaze our readers.

Also we want that our readers learn something.

For example we have a love story, mixed with a crime novel and it's also about lucid dreaming and the reader learn something about it.

That is what we are looking for.

Or our "Frankfurt" series, its a mix of fantasy, crime and humour. But while having an interesting story you also get to learn about the German city of Frankfurt, who build it, in which time and circumstances etc.

Solus_Writing1 karma

I'm an author who just finished my first full length science fantasy novel last week. What fortuitous timing! I truly feel lost when it comes to sending this story off to publishers. Any advice for getting my foot in the door and beginning my journey with purpose and direction?

Ill_Armadillo97851 karma

First off all. Congratulations! It's a big step.

Well, you make a exposé of the story. On our website we have a template https://sadwolf-verlag.de/einsendung.html (you will have to translate it, I would suggest using the translator software "Deep L").

After you filled out the necessary fields you search for publishing companies that publish your genre.

After you made a list, you write the publishing companies a Mail or call them to ask if they take manuscripts (most do, if its not stated otherwise on their website).

If they respond, than you send them the exposé.

You can at the same time contact some literacy agencies and also send them your exposé.

When that is done, you should start (if you not already did) start your social media presence, post about your novel, and try to grow your social media presence (it's not required, but it gets you attention, as the publishing company sees that you mean business).

And then start looking for a lawyer spécialized in Literature contract law (you can also do that before the other steps).

Then you wait and start working on your next novel. You did it once, so I know that you can do it again.

Usually the screening process of publishing companies are around 6 month. After six month you can write them a mail or call to ask, if they received your email and are reviewing it. If yes, than you can ask if they know how long on average it takes (it could be that they need additional 2-3 month. If you ask nicely it shows, that you know that publishing needs time and it's a great way to make a good impression).

And then hopefully you get a a reaction back, that your book will be published 😁

Solus_Writing1 karma

Thank you so much for the thoughtful reply. I'll take all this into account!

Ill_Armadillo97851 karma

You're more than welcome and congratulations again. I know that it was a long and often difficult way and you can be really proud of yourself

ar_meme1 karma

Hi. I hope I’m not late to the AMA event. I’m interested to learn how you started the publishing company. How much financial investment is needed to start? How do you look for authors at the starting line? Whom do you talk to at the bookstores to get shelf space? Can you say anything about typical startup publisher financials, ie revenues, expenses, ROI?

Ill_Armadillo97852 karma

Well, our starting was unusual. My best friend and I went to an Irish Pub and after a few drinks decided completely drunk that we wanted to start our own business.

To finance it, we got to a casino and won 100€ 🤣.

Looking back, you need to ask yourself, what you want to achieve.

If you want to start professionally, have enough funds for half a year. And you need to decide, what you can do. For example, I did the proofreading and he did the layout, these are two things that would have made otherwise by someone else.

The most important things in the beginning for a book publishing company is proofreading, layout, book cover design and printing.

Printing is the only thing that has to be made by a company, the rest in theory you can do by yourself.

The printing costs varies, so it's not exact how much it would be.

Let's say each book print is around 500 $ and you want to publish each month a book. Than you need at least 3.000$.

Than you need to take care of yourself, if you want to do it full time, you need to take a look at your expanses for 6 month.

That's why it's difficult to give you a fixed number.

Than you need to find authors, we posted in online forums and waited / hoped / prayed that authors would contact us.

And in the beginning we only sold through online channels.

That's my / our background and quite adventurous.

Now realistically, to workout for at least 6 month, you have to count all the expanses.

Proofreading per book is around 2k.

A book cover image is also around 1.5k

Layout is around 500

Printing is if you want good pricing around 1k.

These are very modest quotations. So you have to take it with a grain of salt.

So it's 5k per book. Or 30k for the first 6 month.

The financials of a startup is pretty abysmal, you have to prepare yourself to work around 14-16 hours per day, 7 days a week to be able to pay your rent and expenses.

That's the honest truth why many startup fail, because its pretty tough to live in poverty for a few years.

After 2-3 years you can maybe reach a better standing. Expanses would realistically be around 10-15k per month.

Let's say you printed 10k books per month, you slowly reach a point, where the ROI is good. After all expenses of the book production, you have maybe 2 $ left per book as profit (if you calculate your book at 15$ in shops, as you have to deduct all expenses, the royalties etc). If you are able to sell the 10k books you get 5-10k in profit.

Over the year it's than 60k profit.

After 4-5 years it gets easier, authors are well avare of your presence and apply and you don't have to search anymore. Also the book stores are way more willing to work with you.

And in the best case Szenario you have built some connections to book printing companies and have good deals, that printing etc, so that you don't spent 10k per book, but only 5-6k. Than you start to grow your audience and you don't sell 10k issues. But 30k and so on.

Do you have any other questions?

schoolruler1 karma

Why is the Wolf so Sad?

Ill_Armadillo97852 karma

Why is the Sad so Wolf?

PeanutSalsa1 karma

What are the advantages and disadvantages of publishing with a publisher vs. self publishing?

Ill_Armadillo97853 karma

In self publishing you have absolute control over every step and you get the all the profit but you have to organize and pay for everything.

In a book publishing company you don't have as much control and you only get a part of the profits as royalties but you don't have to pay for anything or organize anything.

It's a bit like the difference between an employee and a freelancer

The_Rusty_Robot1 karma

Hope I'm not too late. I just saw the thread and got excited.

I'm an expat who lives in Berlin and I write in English mainly. Currently I'm working on an epic fantasy novel with the goal of eventually getting it published through a publishing company. Do you guys publish books in english or only german books for now?

Ill_Armadillo97853 karma

That's great, I hope you like "Dickes B - a nod to Seeed -".

You can send us your exposé and if it fits we would translate it, and we can surely also contact the literary agencies that work internationally

The_Rusty_Robot1 karma

Thanks for the reply! I will definitely contact you once my book is ready :)

Ill_Armadillo97851 karma

Great 😊