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Who will I be working with?
Orange Hat Publishing is owned by Michael T. Braun and his wife Lauren Nickel. We completed this purchase on July 1, 2024. Michael is employed full-time as editor-in-chief. Lauren works in acquisitions and editing, while also maintaining a full-time role in medical research (and crucially providing health benefits for our family!). 
Michael has a BA in English Literature and an MA and PhD in Communication Science, all from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His past work experience is in quantitative social science research and evaluation, and academic publishing. Lauren has a BA in Psychology and French from Ripon College, a MA in Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a PhD in Personality Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 
Orange Hat also employs a senior editor, our longest serving employee, Lauren Blue. Lauren handles copyediting and proofreading, as well as design and layout tasks. Lauren has a BA in English and Professional Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a certificate in Publishing from the University of Denver. 
In addition to this core team, we have an exceptional network of freelance editors, designers, and illustrators who help us make incredible books. 

Where does the name come from? 
Orange Hat was founded in 2011 by Shannon Ishizaki. The name comes from her first date with her husband Jeremy Haberer. They were set up by friends and arranged to meet in person for the first time. "How will I know who you are?" Shannon asked Jeremy. Jeremy replied, "I'll be the guy wearing the orange hat." 
Shannon's initial goal for Orange Hat was to publish six children's books a year, enough to cover the cost of her Adobe InDesign license. The work would allow her to be creative while also letting her stay home with her infant daughter. The company grew and grew from those humble beginnings and is now Wisconsin's largest indie publishing house.
In 2021, we launched another imprint, Ten16 Press, which publishes young adult and adult fiction and non-fiction. Authors publishing these works can choose which imprint they would prefer, Orange Hat or Ten16. 

Shannon's vision and leadership for the company put relationships with authors first, and those values continue today. We are a transformational publishing home for authors looking to take their best next step in publishing. Publishing with us is the start of a lifelong relationship. Our authors are our family! 
Since founding, we have published nearly 600 books by over 400 hundred authors. And we are growing rapidly, publishing around 80 books a year!

What does it mean to be an indie publisher?

Orange Hat Publishing is an indie publisher, which means we are not one of the “Big 5” traditional publishing houses. It also means we are a member of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). For authors, indie publishing means we can be flexible and offer services to all kinds of authors, not just authors who fit into a narrow box of what big publishers think is marketable. 
We provide professional services for all aspects of the book publishing process: 
  • Developmental Services—Working with authors at any stage of writing to produce a polished manuscript
  • Publishing Services—Editing, design, layout, distribution, and all other pieces needed to go from text to book
  • Marketing Services—Providing authors tools to market their own books, from guidance on social media to website development, custom logos, and more
Indie publishing also means all our submissions are reviewed. We select the best for publication, and our acceptance rate ranges from 25 to 40%. We’re proud of our authors and are excited for opportunities to work with new authors too. 

What is the difference between Orange Hat Publishing and Ten16 Press?

Orange Hat Publishing and Ten16 Press are two imprints under the umbrella of the Orange Hat Publishing company. Under the Orange Hat imprint, we publish our children’s and middle-grade books. Under the Ten16 imprint, we publish our young adult and adult books, both fiction and nonfiction. Both imprints are managed by the same staff and offer the same quality product. Authors can choose which imprint they would prefer, Orange Hat or Ten16. 

What’s the benefit of publishing with Orange Hat rather than self-publishing on Amazon or Blurb?

Having a partner by your side for all steps of the publishing process makes the journey easier. Our team is exceptional, and we find the best people to help bring your work into the world, including editors, designers, illustrators, and other professionals you need to make your book the best it can be.
Self-publishing is a great option to consider, and we encourage you to explore this option. We’re confident the strength of our team and having a partner will always make indie publishers like Orange Hat a better option. With Orange Hat, you will ALWAYS have access to services and guidance from a real human being who cares about you, your book, and your success as an author. In addition, publishing with an indie publisher like Orange Hat gives your work more credibility due to our selective submission review process and editing services. This credibility opens more doors for literary competitions, speaking events, virtual tours, and other opportunities that increase readership and sales.

How do your publishing agreements work?

Our standard publishing agreement (called a "hybrid contract" in publishing industry terms) asks authors to pay for our services upfront. In exchange, authors have the ability to buy copies of their book for resale at significant discount and receive a higher royalty rate. 
We offer a smaller number of traditional publishing agreements each year, based on quality of work and sales potential. Authors with these contracts do not pay upfront, but their discount on author purchased copies is much less and they receive a lower royalty rate. In some cases, traditional agreements also stipulate a certain volume of sales that must be met before royalties are paid.
Each publishing agreement is drafted based on the needs of the work and through negotiation with the author. We are always exploring new publishing agreement types to find ways to work with authors. 

And what about costs? 

All publishing agreement costs are specific to the work being publishing. Costs for our standard publishing agreement average around $4500, plus the costs of additional services like developmental editing and illustrations.
Traditional publishing agreements include no upfront costs but may require the author to purchase a set number of copies of the book, plus the costs of additional services. 
We offer discounts based on the number of copies an author buys in advance and our existing relationship with the author. We also offer discounts based on the number of additional services an author selects from the list below. 

What other services do you offer? 

We offer a full menu of services and are always excited to consider providing assistance with materials we haven’t even dreamed of! Five years ago, we’d never made a custom sticker as part of book promotions, and now we do two dozen a year. 
From helping you develop an idea through to creating websites, here is a menu of services. 

Developmental Services
Developmental services are provided to authors to move their work from idea stage through to a publishable work. We offer these services to all authors, whether their goal is to publish with Orange Hat or somewhere else. 
Idea Development and Outlining ($200 per session)
Work with an experienced writing coach to talk through your idea, plan the flow of your work, and prepare an outline of your story. Meet with your coach once or twice (or however many times is helpful) to get you ready to write. 
Writing Coaching and Support ($200 per session)
Writing can be an isolating experience! Working with a coach can provide motivation, accountability, and support. Coaches can also help work through difficult writing situations. 
Developmental Editing (Rates vary by book type and length)
Receive detailed feedback from an editor designed to make your work shine. The editor will provide specific notes, areas of strength, potential areas for improvement, and suggestions about the work overall. 
Illustrations (Rates vary by illustrator)
Illustrations bring your words to life and contribute to your storytelling. If your work needs illustrations, Orange Hat can find an illustrator for you. You will work directly with the illustrator to discuss and plan your illustrations and provide feedback to the illustrator.
Publishing Services
Many of these services are bundled at discounted rates in contracts we offer to authors. We also offer these services individually. 
Proofreading ($50 / 1000 words) and Copyediting ($70 / 1000 words)
Proofreading is the most basic form of review, to find and correct basic punctuation, spelling, and grammatical errors. Copyediting is a more intensive review and considers sentence and paragraph structures, overall flow, and other editing in addition to proofreading.
Layout ($120 / hour, total cost varies by book type and length)
Layout prepares a text and any associated images for printing. The result of layout is a print-ready PDF of the interior of your work. 
Cover Design ($750)
Cover design produces a print-ready PDF of the front, back, and spine of your work. Our award-winning designers will partner with you to share ideas and ultimately produce a cover that helps your work stand out. 
eBook Formatting ($400 + $10 per image)
Prepare your work for distribution as an ebook. Our designers are familiar with the requirements of all ebook types, including ePub and Kindle. 
Marketing Services
Our marketing services are designed to support authors in marketing their own work. 
Website and Hosting ($1000 + Hosting for $100/Year)
We will design your website and host it, complete with your own domain name. Initial website development includes multiple pages and a blog. Hosting, including domain registration, is $100 per year. 
Sell Sheet ($200)
Included in our contracts and available separately, a sell sheet offers information about your book for interested buyers like bookstores. 
Other Marketing Materials (Price based on specific product)
From bookmarks and stickers to author logos and business cards, we can produce whatever you need to further drive excitement for your work and your talents. 
Social Media Marketing (Price based on market)
We will work with you to boost posts and launch social media ad campaigns for your work. 
Launch Party Support ($250 weekday; $350 evening/weekend; based on staff availability)
We will help at your launch party, including handling book sales, interviewing you, organizing book signing times, and whatever else you need. 
Do you offer ebooks?
Yes, ebook conversion is something we can provide. We can work this into any contract. Please let us know if you are interested, either before your contract is drafted or at any time. 
If I need an illustrator, can you help me find one? 
Absolutely! We have a talented network of illustrators. Please let us know if you’d like to see our portfolio of artist samples. We are also happy to reach out to an illustrator you have seen elsewhere or are curious about. Most artists charge $150–$250 per page.
It’s exciting to see your work brought to life by an illustrator! If using one provided by Orange Hat, we begin the process with a questionnaire asking you to describe what you imagine for each page of your story. Our artists then work with you one-on-one to make your story pop through incredible illustrations. 
What if I have my own illustrations?
This is another great option. If you plan on producing your own art, we recommend holding off on the illustration process until after you’ve met with our team to talk about file types and other requirements to ensure the files print properly in the book.
If you have already produced illustrations, then they are part of what we review when deciding to accept your manuscript. We will make our decision about selecting your manuscript based on the quality of your text and your illustrations. 
Who owns the rights to my story after publishing with Orange Hat?
You! Our authors retain 100% rights to their story. Our copyright applies only to the layout of your book, which is the specific file required to turn your story into a physical product. You retain rights to everything else, including film adaptations, toys, lunch boxes, and all the other amazing things we can’t wait to see your book become! 
Does Orange Hat take care of copyrighting my book?
Copyright in the United States goes automatically to whatever someone creates, so you already have copyright over your work. If you want 100% protection, contact the U.S. Copyright Office and you will receive an official certificate for a small fee. We leave that decision up to each individual author.
How long does it take to publish my book?
Every book is different. The publishing timeline is ultimately dependent on the amount of time needed for editing, design, and illustration. In general, a fast turnaround would be about 3 months from contract signing to book. In other cases, especially when we work with authors to develop their work, the process can take 9–12 months. 
We are also mindful of our release schedule and want your book to come out at the right time. For example, if you’ve written a book about the Fourth of July, we would recommend it come out in late May or early June, even if that means waiting longer for publication. We also like to dedicate a week in our production schedule for your book and your book only, so that we can best celebrate and support your book! 
How can I make money from book sales?
There are four general ways to make money from book sales. Here, we’ve organized them from highest royalty payout to lowest. The general math is that the more people/companies between you and the sale, the lower the royalty per sale. 
  1. Sell Your Books Yourself! 
The most profitable way for you to make money from your book is to purchase books from us at your discounted author’s price and sell them yourself! 
Imagine that you purchase copies of your book through Orange Hat at the author’s price of $12.50 a copy and sell them at the retail price of $19.99. You keep $7.49 from that purchase. This profit is yours to keep and is far greater than you can earn through any other sales channel.
  1. Sell on Consignment
Most independent bookstores prefer to work with authors on a consignment basis. This means the store owners will ask you to drop off 3–5 books (to start), and they will sell the books for you. Once the books sell, the owners will cut you a check for 60% of the retail price, and will probably ask you for more books!
Many authors have found a higher success rate when they offered to drop off an author sell sheet (which we can create for you) to the store with a copy of the book. That way, the store owner can review more information about the book before making a decision.
    3.    Bookstores
Bookstores can purchase your title to sell. The best way for them to do this is through our company, and we encourage you to put any interested bookstores in contact with us (ask them to email Michael). In addition, about six weeks after your book is published, it will be available through Ingram Book Wholesaler for stores to purchase and sell. We suggest marketing to local stores, as they may be more accommodating to local authors.
  1. Our Online Store, as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Other Online Stores
Your book can also be sold online through our own store as well as on Amazon and other online retailers, and most of our authors choose this option. This information is automatically pulled through from the Ingram system once your book is ready for publication.
How is my royalty calculated?
As mentioned earlier, authors earn royalties from sales of their books. Your royalty is the amount of profit left over after the printer charges for the cost of printing the book and each distributor/retailer collects their piece of profit from the sale.
For books provided to retailers through Ingram, royalties are paid to the publisher (us) for distribution to authors. We sum up your share of these payments and mail out royalty checks to authors twice a year. 
For example: A softcover children’s book sells on Amazon for $12.00. Amazon purchases books for 40% off the cover price for all titles they buy through Ingram, paying Ingram $7.20 for the book. The book costs $5.00 to print and that amount is kept by the distributor, leaving $2.20 per title as the payment to the publisher. Orange Hat Publishing takes $0.50 and the rest is the author’s royalty, $1.70 per book.
Does Orange Hat help with marketing?
Marketing is an area of growth for us. We offer some services, like website creation and producing sell sheets, and we are happy to provide authors with ideas for how to market their books. Take a look at our marketing services list above! A website and other promotional materials, as well as a plan for social media marketing, can get you off to a great start. We also encourage a launch party (or multiple parties) for your book. It’s a great way to bring your family, friends, and colleagues together to celebrate and purchase a signed copy of your book. You will keep 100% of the profit earned at a launch party, and we will gladly offer advice on location, set up, planning, and advertising. You can also contract with us to help with your party. We look forward to making a significant investment in marketing in 2025. 
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