To submit manuscripts for evaluation, please e-mail the following to email@example.com
- Concept Note
- Synopsis of the book
- List of contents (index table)
- Two sample chapters
- Short write-up on the Author/s and/or Illustrator
The concept note of the manuscript should include what audience you are writing for, targeted market segment, other comparative titles available, unique selling point, word count and illustrative content. For poetry, the synopsis may be a short note on the kind of poems included.
Leadstart accepts submissions in English in the following genres:
- Activities [sports, games, crafts, hobbies, quizzing etc]
- Creative Education
- Current/World Affairs.
- General non-fiction
- Health & Fitness
Please allow at least one month for your manuscript to be considered for publication.
We request you not to send us hard copies unless specifically requested by our Editors. Leadstart will not be responsible for any loss or damage to unsolicited material. Manuscripts will not be returned by the publishing house irrespective of the outcome of the review process.
Leadstart does not provide self-publishing services. If you wish to self-publish your book, you may reach out to a service provider such as BecomeShakespeare.com (a sister entity of Leadstart).
The key services they provide include: Publishing, Editing, Design, Book Marketing, National & International Book Distribution.
We have been researching and fine-tuning a manuscript selection procedure to ensure optimal gain to risk ratio for any project. This research has carefully examined several books (both by us and other publishers), before arriving at the following metrics. This is one of the most evolved methods to calculate the scope of success for a book.
Rating of a manuscript happens on a scale of -3 to +3 on each of the five points mentioned below:
1. Publishers’ Requirements
These are the genres that we would want to invest in and have nothing to do with the quality of the manuscript. Scale: -3 to +3 (Average score of the sub points is considered).
Genre (e.g. say this year Leadstart is going to invest heavily in Non–Fiction. Hence Non-Fiction titles will get a ‘+3’, while other genres will have ratings between -3 to +
Sub-Genre (e.g. say, this year we would like to build our titles around global trends, global personalities & global news, the books on President Obama, business biographies, investment, etc. will receive +3)
2. Writer Credentials
Points assigned to the market pull the author’s name has. Scale: -3 to +3 (Average score of the sub points is considered)
Well-known published author
Author’s popularity (first-time author but very popular eg. Lakshmi Mittal, Shahrukh Khan, David Beckham, will receive the highest grades)
3. Market Viability
This parameter is based on our market information system and demographics of the people who will be probable buyers for the book. Scale: -3 to +3 (Average score of the sub points is considered)
Socio economic classification (A to E)
Geography (country, metro, mini-metro, etc)
4. Script Quality
Scale: -6 to +6 (Average score of the sub points is considered)
Body of script
5. Scope for Scaling
Scale: -3 to +3 (Average score of the sub points is considered)
Scope to sell in different geographies (e.g. scripts on arithmetic, yoga, nutrition, President Obama, etc. can be effectively scaled globally)
Content Syndication: Probability of the content being syndicated to different mediums (will news papers/websites pay for the content if they use it – e.g. Lose Weight Naturally can become a book and chapters of the book can be used by a newspaper or website and pay for the content used).
Parallel mediums: Whether the book can be sold as a movie script or be made into a TV show, etc.).
In the business of creativity there are no set rules for success. The attempt here is to ensure the risk on each project is minimised. Post assigning points to each manuscript (ranging from – 18 to +18), we make a decision on acceptance. We only consider books with scores of + 5.The benchmarks keep moving higher during times of slowdown when more material is generated.
NOTE: The above mentioned metrics is the Intellectual Property of Leadstart Pvt. Ltd. All copyrights for the same are reserved. Please note that evaluation of any manuscript by Leadstart will be final and no correspondence or discussion on the decision will be possible.
Once you send us the submission the following steps occur at our end:
Query Resolution: Should you have any query, the e-mails are replied to within a week.
Basic Evaluation: We receive thousands of submissions each month and all are processed diligently and every mail is replied to. You will receive a mail of acknowledgement on submission or one of our editors may write asking for more information if required. This is done by a team of evaluators who escalate the quality submissions to a senior evaluator. The senior evaluator will reply with either an acceptance or a rejection or asking for a more complete submission for deeper understanding of the work. Period: 2-3 weeks.
If the work qualifies for the Editor’s portfolio of books, a letter of Intent and Offer is sent to the author. Once both the publisher and author agree on the draft terms sent, a legal contract is processed by the publisher and signed by both parties along with 2 witnesses for the author.
The work on the book begins according to the master projects schedule – which normally functions on a first-in, first-out basis.
More often than not, the most important stakeholder of the book publishing industry; the author, stands neglected. Though book publishing has been around for centuries, the number of myths and misconceptions people have about it, is sometimes hard to believe. Even with the internet and worldwide web, information is uncertain and knowledge about this industry is woefully little.
Each day we receive hundreds of queries from authors located around the world, asking for their works to be published. From all these interactions, we have compiled a set of frequently-asked-questions, answering the queries to the best of our knowledge and our position as an industry leader. We have included a few author resources, in order to provide more knowledge about this business. We will keep updating this space. You may like to make the RSS subscription to the site and also subscribe to the newsletter, to keep you abreast.
I have written a book, what now?
Writing a book was half the journey and the other half begins now. It will produce enduring results if you have it published through a reputed publishing house. A good publisher is simply the one who can take your work across the globe and transparently pay you your deserving royalties.
What kind of a Publisher would suite me?
Well, the answer depends on what you wish to map out of your writing and your ambitions in the literary world. Broadly there are three kinds of publishing options:
Traditional publishing: The books which you see at major bookstores are all by traditional book publishers. They carefully scrutinize the manuscripts which come to them, filter and publish only the ones they can do justice to. The single most differentiating factor between traditional and other publishers is the fact that the others do not have any retail book distribution network (i.e. ability to sell through bookstores). Also, since the publishers have a qualified editorial and creative staff, their products are excellent in quality.
Self publishing: Self-publishing is essentially a publishing service where the authors pay them and use their services for editing, cover designing and printing. Once the book is ready, it can be sold through book-selling websites. These services are also called Print-on-Demand services.
Many self-publishers have argued against traditional publishing, creating an aura of negativity which in turn has benefitted their businesses. It is certainly an alluring shortcut for authors, who want to save the time and effort of pitching their manuscript to traditional book publishers.
The below chart highlights the differences you can expect to see and experience between traditional and self publishers. This will help authors make well-informed decisions regarding the publisher they choose.
|Ease of approach||Excellent||Rather rigid|
|Waiting period for evaluation of manuscript||Minimum time||2-6 weeks or more|
|Quality of product||Books are edited & produced at poor standards – all elements (from quality of content, to the cover, to production quality ), suffer due to this||High standards of editorial & production maintained|
|Marketing for authors /books||None /or as per the author bearing costs||The publisher spends on promotions|
|Eligibility to contest in literary awards||Not eligible. Read more||Eligible|
|Retail book distribution||Nil||Excellent|
|Possibility of using the creative content for other mediums (eg. films, TV, etc)||Low / Nil||Good|
|Possibility of getting published||100%||Depends on evaluation of the manuscript|
|Most important: cost of the book||INR 2-3 per page (ie. a 100-page self-published book will be priced at INR 200- 300.These books are sold mostly on the self publisher’s own portal and are bought generally by the author’s own friends or the author himself/herself. Regular buyers would not generally pick up a poorly produced book at those prices.||All the top end, international and Indian book publishers are now producing at INR 0.5/page to INR 1/page (ie. a 100-page book will not cost more than INR 100 to buy. It is meant to be sold to book buyers.|
This in the new age publishing route, which brings together the best of both traditional publishing and self-publishing. It is a platform based approach which enables the author to carry out the publishing process on their own and the books are made available across the globe in paperback and ebook formats. It allows the author to understand how readers are reading the book, and using the data and analytics, the author can alter the book to improve the commercial success of the book. As the same happens the book is moved to commercial publishing with all the aspects of traditional publishing kicking in this phase. The investment by the company is the technology platform, which is not chargeable to the author. The author and the company earn money from each book sold.
You may look at Pencil (www.thepencilapp.com) for accelerated publishing. (Note, ‘Pencil’is a sister entity of Leadstart).
How do you pitch to a Publisher?
Through a Literary Agent
What are the trade norms between an Author and a Literary Agent?
This varies from project to project. Fifteen percent is the general norm Literary Agents charge as commission, from everything related to the book sales. This broadly includes an upfront fee if the publishers offer the same; royalty on all books sold (including audio books and e-books), paid excerpts from other forms of media (newspapers, magazines, websites etc.); in short, everything that the content monetizes.
What services do literary agents deliver for their commission ?
Typically, Literary Agents pitch the author’s proposal or manuscript to publishers and helps the author to negotiate the best deal. As the agent makes money from the deal, he tries and gets the best he can. Most agents edit and fine tune the book pitch. They have an idea of which publisher is looking for what genres of books hence they pitch accordingly, which drastically improves the chances of the book’s success with the publishers. Once the contract is signed, they act as the author’s face to the publisher.
Do publishers pay Literary Agents?
Generally, they do not pay. Literary Agents earn their commissions from what they make for the authors they represent (i.e. it comes out of the author’s royalty).
What royalty is a good royalty?
Just like any regular deal, it depends upon who is in greater need. If the manuscript is extraordinary and the author is a proven best-selling author, publishers pitch to get the rights, leading to better deals for the writer. If the manuscript has been rejected by several publishers, the one who picks it up and invests logically negotiates harder. Hence royalties have no fixed rates. An industry average is 5-7 percent of the cover price or 10-15% of net receipts.
How do I pitch a manuscript myself ?
Do your homework well. The following pointers may be of help to you.
Pitch to the right publisher: most authors make the terrible mistake of assuming all publishers publish everything (eg. spiritual, children, fiction, investment, management, etc.). Trying to sell a non-priority genre to a publisher is like selling snow to an Eskimo – your snow may be fabulous but he does not need it. The genres publishers want to buy are listed on their websites, or can be understood from the books they publish.
What is in it for the Publisher? For a moment assume you are the publisher and think of all the things you would look at before buying the manuscript. Publishing is not a charity business, people do not enter the industry to serve art. They exist to earn returns on their investment. Before you approach any publisher read the Leadstart Manuscript Evaluation Metrics, it will give you a clearer understanding of the publisher’s requirements. Each publisher has their own evaluation methodology, this is our’s.
Stand out from the crowd: Leadstart Publishing is a medium-sized company and still receives about 70-100 manuscripts a day (2000-3000 manuscripts a month), and publishes only 12-15 titles every month. The manuscript evaluation team has only 6 people and we ensure that every author who writes to us gets a reply, even if we reject the work. We require, a concept note, a synopsis, the full contents page, two sample chapters, and your CV. We ask for your CV to know what you have written till date. If you write a blog, mention it. If you have been published elsewhere, mention it. Your synopsis is a key element in your pitch. The synopsis must be so compelling that the evaluator is forced to read the sample. In the sample chapters need not be the first two, only the best two.
Sound Professional: being a first-timer is not a problem, but being silly is an issue. Please read through the things written by others on the internet before you start approaching publishers. Many authors feel they present themselves more strongly in person, so ask to meet if possible. if being an author you fail in your written skills, what impression can you possibly create with the publisher? Any legitimate publishing company starts work with you only after they have evaluated and chosen your manuscript to publish.
Is obtaining copyrights to my work compulsory ?
Not really. You get the copyrights of any original content you have created as soon as you create it. It is mentioned on the imprint page of all published books. But you cannot stop someone somewhere in the world from creating the same content and publishing it. He will own that copyright. Hence, it is better to publish the content as early as possible. It is a good idea to register the copyrights with the IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) authorities to protect your work. There are lawyers who specialize in this work. Also when an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is assigned to your book, it protects the work to some extent.
How do publishers evaluate a manuscript?
The evaluation of a manuscript differs with each publisher and no other publisher that we know of has disclosed their evaluation tool publicly. We decided to be transparent here as well, and the following is the gist of our manuscript evaluation metrics. We have disclosed enough information to allow any writer to approximately evaluate his/her manuscript.
Please read: Leadstart Manuscript Evaluation Metrics