Thank you for exploring Caffeinated Press’s website. This page is intended to help various constituencies better understand how we can partner to advance our mission of advancing the literary community in West Michigan. Read the whole thing, or jump ahead to the part that matters to you:

Whom do I contact for X?

Use the Contact Us page for assistance, or call 888-809-1686. We strongly recommend the use of the contact form to ensure speedier resolution of your question. For specific assistance, contact a member of our board of directors:

  • Jason E. Gillikin (board chairman & CEO)
    • Corporate strategy, governance, editorial policy, author queries, editorial operations for Brewed Awakenings, systems administration, business operations for The 3288 Review, contracting, media relations
    • Given the very large volume of correspondence he receives, Jason may not be able to respond to routine messages for up to 45 days.
  • John Winkelman (board vice-chairman/secretary & chief operating officer)
    • Business operations, facilities, distribution, contracting, editorial operations for The 3288 Review
  • Brittany K. Wilson (board treasurer & chief financial officer)
    • Finance, human resources, outside investing, invoices, accounts payable/receivable, billing discrepancies, credit accounts, tax compliance, insurance
  • AmyJo Johnson (board director & chief marketing officer)
    • Marketing activities by CafPress, special events, author/book marketing, media relations
  • Jennifer C. Brown (board director & community liaison)
    • Community Advisory Committee, community partnerships, writing motivation

Where are you located?

Our office is located on the southeast side of Grand Rapids:

3167 Kalamazoo Ave SE, Suite 104, Grand Rapids MI 49508.

Advertisers

Can I advertise in The 3288 Review, your quarterly literary journal, or sponsor special events?

Absolutely! Use the Contact Us page to reach Jason Gillikin.

What are your current advertising rates for The 3288 Review?

Your photo-ready ad incurs no special setup fee; we prefer the file in PDF or high-quality image file (300 dpi, no embedded ICC profiles, CMYK colorspace). If we either design or substantially adjust your ad, a one-time $50 fee applies. All ads may include full-color images at no additional cost.

You may buy ads in one or more issues simultaneously.

Insertions are priced as follows:

SizeDimension (w x h)Per Issue
Quarter-page interior2.25" x 3.75"$50
Half-page interior5.5" x 3.75"$100
Full-page interior5.5" x 7.75"$175
Interior cover7.5" x 9.25"$200
Back cover7.5" x 9.25"$250

What are your current sponsorship rates?

We presently offer sponsorship opportunities for several book-launch events plus a community wine-and-cheese event near the holiday season.

Level NameInvestmentBenefitsNote
Patron$50Name recognition in event.This level reserved for small events like a poetry reading or training session.
Bronze$100Your name/logo in the event program.
Silver$150Bronze + a standard table to display your products or promotional literature.Discounts available for authors selling their own works.
Gold$250Silver + two free quarter-page journal ads
Platinum$500Silver + two free half-page journal ads, plus event co-branding and a brief speech or presentation

Book Buyers

How can I buy your books for resale?

Most of our titles are available through the Ingram and Baker & Taylor catalogs. In most cases, our titles are returnable and follow the standard publisher wholesale discount. With the dissolution of Partners, we are not comfortable with the return-on-investment of the remaining speciality small-press catalogs presently servicing the Upper Midwest. Therefore, for book buyers who do not use Ingram, we prefer direct-to-publisher distribution agreements, serviced through our own on-site inventory.

We will personally service bookstores in our target market, using one of several models ranging from pure consignment to shelf buys to publisher-direct sales. We aim to out-compete catalog distributors on price and will front product as necessary without an immediate buy to cement a solid partnership. With partnered bookstores, we are willing to occasionally sponsor events like book launches or craft-of-writing talks to facilitate foot traffic into your venues.

Do you offer any special buyer programs?

We welcome inquires for books at heavily discounted rates for educational use or for circulation in libraries.

I’m just a person who wants to buy a book. How can I do that?

Our products are available in several places. You can always drop by the Caffeinated Press office during open hours (see the Events page for open office hours) or order online through our online store. Most bookstores will place special orders for you, too. Parts of our catalog are carried by local retail partners including Schuler Books and Music (Grand Rapids) and The Bookman (Grand Haven). Bombadil Books and Sparrows Coffee & Tea (both in Grand Rapids) carry The 3288 Review. Our entire catalog is also available for purchase through the book shop at the Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters.

Business Partners

How do I handle invoicing?

Please send your invoice to us through our Contact Us form.

What are your payment terms?

Unless we’ve negotiated something to the contrary in writing, we typically pay invoices at net 60 as revenue permits. We do not pay interest on outstanding invoices. Although we aim to pay invoices sooner than 60 days, we may from time to time need to structure payments later than 60 days.

How do I follow up on a finance question?

Please direct all correspondence to Brittany Wilson, our CFO, using the Contact Us form. Please do not call, email or send text messages to other members of the board of directors. Only Brittany can authoritatively address finance questions.

Agents

Does Caffeinated Press work with agents?

Of course! We are happy to allow agents to sponsor queries on behalf of authors, or to meet individually with an agent to discuss one or more potential submissions before querying. We can accommodate agent or agency relationships into our standard contracting agreement with authors. Use the Contact Us page to begin by email, or call Jason Gillikin at 888-809-1686.

What client profile of mine is most in sync with your editorial vision?

We’re mostly interested in aspiring local talent — folks who need a foot in the door with the potential to be serious authors. We are open to established writers from non-local markets if the specific pitch fits our current editorial calendar. In general, we’re less interested in flash, fusion and explicitly religious material. Our goal is to support interesting work, so we are intrigued by stuff that might not crack the door in New York but nevertheless has literary merit, even if that value may outweigh its commercial viability.

Authors

What kinds of work do you accept?

Most stuff, actually. Visit our Query page for detailed information about what we accept and what we need to evaluate the work you’re pitching. Look, also, at the dedicated resources for our literary journal, The 3288 Review, and our annual house anthology, Brewed Awakenings. We strongly encourage you to read our editorial guidelines (the Query page) in detail before asking us questions or sending us material.

Do I need to be already published or have an agent before you’ll consider me?

No. In fact, a big part of our mission is to help promising writers in our community to share their voice. If you’re not from the West Michigan area and you’ve never been published, we recommend that you look in your own community for independent publishers to work with before branching out into other markets.

What resources do you offer to help me grow as an author?

Several:

  • We offer detailed query-critique services to help you hone your pitch.
  • We open the doors to our office on occasion so you can drop by to write, to network with fellow writers or to seek informal feedback from our editors. Check out our Events page to see when you can drop by — no RSVP or fee required!
  • We can help you connect with great resources like the Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters or the Ottawa County/Grand Rapids region of National Novel Writing Month, so you can hone your craft as an author.
  • We offer a series of seminars intended to help authors hone their business acumen.

What does the normal publishing experience look like, for stand-alone long-form projects like novels or textbooks?

Magic!

OK, so maybe magic is a bit much. Here’s how the process works with us. You submit your work using our Query tool. We’ll get it and decide if it’s technically ready for review. If it is, we’ll put it up for our editors to examine. All our query reviews are blinded, so no one knows that a given story is your story. When the review process is complete, we’ll let you know what we think. If we decline to accept the work, we’ll tell you why — we don’t reject with silence or form letters. If we accept it, then we’ll let you know next steps.

Accepted works get assigned a lead editor, who’s the person on the team who will help you from start to finish. The lead editor performs a detailed read of your whole manuscript. If he or she likes the manuscript as it’s presented, then we finalize a contract and advance. That lead editor then tells you what needs to be changed. When the story is solid, our line editors do a final proofread. You and the lead editor will prepare a pristine manuscript for the board of directors to ratify. We’ll usually approve it, schedule a release date and then work through details like trim size, cover art, the marketing plan, advance review copies, etc.

A typical novel, from query to retail availability, usually takes 13 to 18 months to execute. Royalty payments follow the calendar quarter after the formal launch.

… and what’s the process for short stuff like anthology or journal submissions?

Key difference: Shorter turnarounds, and usually the contract is for a one-time license fee instead of ongoing project royalties.

What about non-fiction, poetry collections or other special projects?

Non-fiction proposals should be treated like a fiction query, except that the proposal should be submitted in lieu of a sample. We welcome special projects, if they conform to our guidelines.

What are the biggest “gotcha” considerations for early-career authors?

We see three common challenges with authors new to traditional publishing:

  1. Submission of material not yet ready for prime time. Probably three out of four manuscripts we receive are fairly automatic rejections because of avoidable problems in story development or syntax. We strongly recommend beta readers or even, as necessary, a professional editor. Even if you’ve reviewed your own manuscript several times, if you haven’t revised it in light of critical feedback from competent writers/editors, it’s still a “first draft.” You should NEVER submit manuscripts that haven’t been, at a minimum, peer reviewed. (And, praise from Aunt Ethel doesn’t count.)
  2. Unrealistic expectations about the economics of publishing. You’re not going to get rich. Many books self-published, or published by small presses, don’t sell enough to even fully recover costs. Fewer than half of all books sold by small- and mid-sized presses sell more than 1,000 copies over several years. Very, very few published authors can write full-time and not need a day job. And authors cannot sit back after a book is done and rely on others to do all the marketing for them. Book sales is a long, slow campaign with victories counted in single digits.
  3. A strong sense of entitlement (or, conversely, dispassionate disengagement). In a perfectly Goldilocks world, authors would be dynamic partners with publishers. And happily, many are. However, it’s difficult to successfully produce and launch a book if the author is too passive, or too insistent about matters that belong within the publisher’s purview. Books take a long time to create and involve many different people and moving parts. Authors cannot control that process, nor can they withdraw from it.

As an experienced author, what’s the 10-second summary of what I need to know about working with Caffeinated Press?

We’re a true independent small press, not a vanity press. We license the minimum necessary rights to print your work in paper, ebook and audiobook formats; our license expires when the work retires from our print catalog (the date of retirement is explicitly identified in the contract). Our standard long-from contract has won praise from experienced authors who recognize that it conforms to creator-friendly best-practice standards. Because we’re relatively new and have little administrative overhead, by default we currently pay authors 60 percent of net profit, and profit-sharing kicks in after our delineated, fixed expenses are met (they’re usually less than $1,000). We always offer advances, but they’re typically token ($50) given the relative youth of our revenue stream, and that youth means our current marketing reach has room to grow. Journal and anthology content is licensed, not work-for-hire, with one-time license fees in lieu of the complexities of profit sharing.

Community Forum Users

Can I use your community forums?

Our Caffeinated Press Community site is intended to allow anyone — author or not — a chance to share information, collaborate about new ideas and to network with others.

Use the forum to:

  • Post writing opportunities
  • Share information about literary events
  • Post links to stories about the state of the publishing industry
  • Seek peer review of your material
  • Assemble a critique group

For established groups that want to use the forum, we are happy to create a protected segment of the forum that only your group (and our admin team) can see.

What are the standards of good conduct on the forums?

We encourage users to remain positive, civil and respectful. Because Caffeinated Press owns and administers the site, we will not tolerate spam or abusive behavior.

How safe is my information?

We use the open-source Discourse platform for our community forums. The platform is housed on our own server, which is maintained with fairly strict security protocols and weekly patching. Your information — personal data or material you contribute on the forums — will never be sold, packaged or otherwise shared with any third party.

Community Organizations
& Event Sponsors

Would you like to join our board of directors?

Sure, if the fit is right and our missions are at least complimentary.

Can we join your board of directors?

Membership on our board is currently limited to certain shareholders specified in our articles of incorporation and our corporate bylaws. However, we do have an all-volunteer Community Advisory Committee that supports the board with strategic advice, networking and constituent engagement. Use the Contact Us page to begin by email, or call Jennifer Brown at 888-809-1686.

Will you sponsor our event?

If your ask is congruent with our mission and our budget … possibly. We may also support your cause through low- or no-cost advertising in The 3288 Review as appropriate. We typically do not provide donations of products or services to other organizations seeking fundraising support for activities that do not align with our mission, vision and values.

Editors

What do you look for in an editor?

The best editors improve manuscripts without leaving fingerprints behind — they plug story holes, fix grammar errors and gently redirect wayward authors without trying to turn the story into one they would have written. We are interested in editors who can handle both developmental reviews (structure, plot, characterization, pacing, voice) and line edits (proofreading). Editors with layout in InDesign experience are a plus.

How are editors compensated for their duties?

Editors who support a story with developmental or line editing are paid a fixed sum determined in advance. Lead editors, who shepherd manuscripts with the author from start to finish, generally earn 10 percent of net profit over the lifecycle of the project. All editors are contractors, not wage-earning employees, and are free to do as much or as little as they wish. That said, given our volumes, a typical editor will only work a few hours per month, on average, so this role is not adequate employment, even on a part-time basis.

How do I join the editorial team?

Use the Contact Us page to begin by email, or call Jason Gillikin at 888-809-1686.

Faculty

Do you offer internships?

We offer internships for students from accredited West Michigan colleges and universities (from CMU in the north, to WMU to the south, from MSU to the east, to Hope College along the lakeshore). These internships can follow a specific set of academic goals unique to individual institutions and programs. We take majors in creative writing, technical writing, English, graphic design and related visual arts. Our internships are unpaid; however, we compensate interns at standard freelancer rates for work they do for which they’d ordinarily be paid as non-interns. Use the Contact Us page to begin by email, or call Jason Gillikin at 888-809-1686.

Do you have a flyer I can share with students or faculty colleagues?

We appreciate you sharing the word about our various opportunities to be published. Please freely download and distribute our one-page flyer, with evergreen content geared toward writers.

Are you available to speak to classes?

Our board members or seasoned editors welcome the opportunity to visit your classroom to speak on subjects related to the writing and editing process or the broader literary culture, consistent with your pedagogical requirements. We will visit settings from middle school to grad school — and there’s never a cost to you for our visit!

Friends in the Community

How can I support the mission of Caffeinated Press?

Buy our books, ‘natch. 🙂 Lots of people want to be published and see the community buy their books. If you’re an aspiring author who doesn’t buy local authors — well, that’s a disappointment.

Watch our event calendar for poetry readings and book launches — we’d love to have you there to join the festivities. Subscribe to one of our newsletters, or participate in our Community forum.

What do I tell my friend or loved one who wants to write but just isn’t ready?

Common is the aspirant who trips over lame reasons to avoid putting pen to paper. Usually it’s a self-confidence thing. Encourage your recalcitrant scribe to reach out to us. We’d love to just sit down in the office over coffee for a half hour or so for a pep talk and some practical advice. No cost or obligation!

Investors

How can I buy stock?

Caffeinated Press is a for-profit Michigan corporation operating under subchapter S of the Internal Revenue Code. All currently issued stock is owned by the board of directors. At present, we do not offer, or intend to offer, stock sales or corporate bonds to the general public.

How can I invest if you don’t sell stock?

We offer private notes payable to investors who wish to support our cause. These notes are executed as private loan agreements; we will pay the note quarterly with 10 percent interest compounded annually. Use the Contact Us page to begin by email, or call Brittany Wilson at 888-809-1686.

Do you ever intend to sell stock?

There may come a time when Caffeinated Press reconsiders its current governance structure. The board of directors will weigh many factors related to what a potential future state might look like. People interested in becoming stockholders or even board members will likely be invited based on their history of financial support to the company by means of the current notes payable we have on offer, or through their history of “sweat equity” on behalf of our corporate mission.

Job Seekers and Interns

Are you hiring?

Not at present.

Can I contact you about job openings?

Please don’t. We are not hiring. If you send us a Contact Us note asking about working for us, or inquiring about job inquiries, we will not respond. Our Contact Us page explicitly asks if you’ve read this FAQ before sending your message. If you checked the box but didn’t read this, then you’ve self-selected out of the candidate pool even if we had open positions. Which we don’t.

How can I be an editor with Caffeinated Press?

Caffeinated Press, as a relatively new small-press startup, elects to direct our scarce financial resources toward our authors. As such, we do not hire employees. However, we do welcome new additions to our team of editors. Editors are compensated for per-project work (either a fixed sum for delivering a package of work, or a percent of a book’s long-term revenue). We support our editors through recommendations, publishing opportunities through The 3288 Review and affiliations on LinkedIn. So although being an editor with us is not a volunteer opportunity, it’s also not a solid source of income. Most editors work just a few hours each month on average, depending on the project, and some don’t earn enough to justify a 1099 in a given tax year.

Please use the Contact Us page to express your interest in joining the editorial team. Make the note clear that you understand that you’re not asking for a job, but rather wish to join as a contractor.

Do you offer internships?

Yes, but internships for academic credit must be sponsored by an accredited institution of higher education. Our internships are part-time and flexible. We do not offer a salary but we do compensate for specific work performed as we would if the intern were one of our contractors. We also welcome internships not affiliated with an academic program. So far, we’ve welcomed summer apprentices from Grand Valley State University, Hope College and Notre Dame.

Press/Media

We’d like to profile Caffeinated Press, The 3288 Review or one of your board members or authors. How can we proceed?

Thank you! For non-deadline matters, use the Contact Us page to begin by email, or call AmyJo Johnson at 888-809-1686. On deadline, call AmyJo Johnson or Jason Gillikin at our toll-free number.

Someone says they’re from The 3288 Review. How do I know if the person is legit?

Journalists working on behalf of Caffeinated Press, through The 3288 Review, are issued a 4×6 press credential bearing their name and photo, the journal logo and the signatures of the editor and the publisher. You may also review our list of accredited journalists. If they’re not on the list, they’re not one of ours, even if they still have a badge. Please use our contact form to advise us of people misrepresenting themselves as agents working on our behalf.

Certain freelancers working in non-journalistic capacities (e.g., as designers) or as freelancers on short-term assignment will appear on the list, but they may not be issued a formal credential. These folks are working for us as contractors but are not permanently credentialed. Please honor their requests if they appear on the roster.

Retailers

How can we carry Caffeinated Press merchandise?

Our books and periodicals are carried in the Ingram and Baker & Taylor catalogs. We are also happy to negotiate individual arrangements for consignment sales, as appropriate. Check the “book buyers” section, above, for additional information.

The 3288 Review will carry a separate ISBN for each issue, but the periodical ISSN is 2397-4720.

Are you interested in doing a book signing in our store?

We’d love to!  Use the Contact Us page to begin by email, or call AmyJo Johnson at 888-809-1686.

Have we missed any questions? Fire away in the comments, below, and we’ll get you a prompt answer.

3 thoughts on “Frequently Asked Questions

  • Pingback: Caffeinated Press: Updates for the Second Half of 2015

  • June 8, 2017 at 12:15 pm
    Permalink

    Do you accept submissions (at this point, the cover letter, synopsis, and sample chapter) in hard copy? My manuscripts are in Microsoft Word. I’m not a techno geek, so I’m not sure how to put them in the format you request.

    Reply
    • June 8, 2017 at 10:04 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Elizabeth!

      We do not accept hard copy submissions. If you visit our Query page (https://www.caffeinated-press.com/query/#7) you can see which formats we accept. At the bottom of the page is the form for entering your submission and each field’s request is explained.

      You can convert your Word document to a PDF file online for free.

      If you are talking about the de-identification process, you can see how to do that for your Word document first (before converting it to PDF) here: http://libraryanswers.law.pace.edu/faq/164905. De-identification is only required for the actual manuscript. Cover letter, synopsis, etc are all pasted into text fields on the query page.

      I hope this information wasn’t too overwhelming. Let us know if you have any other questions.

      Tabitha Maloley
      CCO & Executive Editor

      Reply

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