The Publishing Process

City Limits Publishing, LLC is a full service traditional publisher. We do not charge authors for our publishing services and we handle everything from editing and proofing, to design and marketing with zero cost to our authors, ever. We are dedicated to building our authors up and distributing their work. Below is a look into our submission and publishing process, as well as some Frequently Asked Questions.

Step 1

Submit Your Work

The first step in the process is to submit your work. We do accept work in progress pieces, but the sample you submit should be of a high enough quality for us to see what you can do. When submitting, please send a .doc or PDF file with your submission.

For novels, please submit your first 3-5 chapters. For theatrical submissions, please submit your first act. For Children’s Picture Books, please submit the entirety of your written work and a sample of your illustrations. At this time, we are not accepting unillustrated work, or pieces that do not have an illustrator attached.

We accept submissions all year.

Step 2

Internal Review

We promise to confirm receipt of your submission within 3-4 business days and assign it for review. We may email you for additional chapters or more details on you or your work, so keep an eye out from us. Please note, our review could take up to 60 days to complete. We will notify you via email with a decision regarding your piece. If you’re rejected, we will include feedback on why the piece was rejected and invite you to rework anything and resubmit.

Step 3

Editing and Proofing

If we make a formal publishing proposal for your work, we’ll walk you through the contract and handle any negotiations. Once the contract is signed, Authors are walked through a formal onboarding process. During this process, we collect all of the necessary information we might need as we work on your book, including author bios, social media links, branding elements associated with you and your work, and more.

Additionally, we assign a copy editor and proofreader to your book during this phase. They will begin working on your piece and make suggestions and comments that we feel might improve the piece. This is a collaborative process and our authors enjoy the freedom to defend their decisions as the creator of the work. Ultimately, we want you to be happy with your work, too. The author has a final sign off on their book. Again, this process is completely FREE and we do not charge the author for these services.

Step 4

Formatting and Design

When your book has completed the editing and proofing process, it moves to our design team where it is formatted for paperback, hardback, and eReaders. Our designers offer 2-3 interior layouts based on information obtained during our author orientation and will present these to the author for approval and revisions.

Additionally, our designers work with the author on the front and back cover design of their book to put together an eye-catching piece that grabs the audience’s attention. During this phase, we also work with the author to put together branding guidelines for their personal brand and their book brand. This details everything from font choices and color choices to specific imagery used throughout promotion.

At the end of this process is every author’s favorite part: you receive the first official print of your book and provide us with a final sign-off.

City Limits Publishing
Step 5

Marketing and Promotion

Once your book has a publish date and has completed the design and formatting phase, we begin to put together your marketing strategy. Marketing a book is not a cookie-cutter process. Each book is unique, and so is our outlook on marketing for each project. We’ll put together an aggressive advertising plan (the author does not pay for advertising) for social media, search engines, and online retailers to get eyes on your book. We’ll work with our distribution partners at major retailers like Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, Walmart, and more to put your books on their shelves. Additionally, we’ll push your work to our network of over 80 independent booksellers across the country for distribution.

We also take an aggressive approach to our public relations strategy. With connections to national media outlets, as well as distribution channels to local outlets across the United States and Internationally, we work to get our authors maximum exposure for their book. We also put a focused effort on podcasts, guest blogging, and social media takeovers. We’ll also work with authors in their local markets to put together book signing events and speaking engagements if applicable.

Lastly, we appreciate a partnership in marketing efforts with our authors. Before launching each book project, we put together dozens of social media graphics, quote graphics, reviews, and other branding elements that authors can use to aid in the marketing process. And if an author has a special request for our designers, we’re happy to fulfill it without cost to the author.

Step 6

Ongoing Promotion, Support, and Royalties

Our marketing efforts don’t stop with the launch, they continue on for as long as the book is held in our catalog. We only see money if your book sells, so we try to keep it selling for years and years to come. We provide ongoing promotions and support to our authors and are constantly keeping up with the latest in book marketing trends to implement with our works.

When all is said and done, it all comes down to money, right? We’re proud to offer payments monthly rather than quarterly or yearly. We pay out via paper check or direct deposit. Payments are made on the 15th of every month and are accompanied by a royalty statement showing the previous month’s actualized sales (sales and payments that have been received for processing), year to date sales, and total copies sold across all platforms and distribution methods. Our payment threshold of $100 is a rolling threshold every month. For example, if your royalties for February are $99, you start March with $99 counting toward your payment threshold and receive payout for both February and March on April 15th. Authors never lose the funds in their payment account for not meeting the threshold. They always roll over to the next month.

City Limits Publishing

Are you ready to get started?

Click here to submit your project!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

We do not charge any fees for publishing, editing, design, marketing, advertising, or promotion. We have contests that do charge small entry fees, but those are not guarantees of publishing, nor does entering a contest guarantee publishing with City Limits Publishing, LLC.
The only instance we would publish a piece without paying royalties is in the circumstance of short story and poetry contests and the anthologies produced with submissions. And even then, we require your permission to include it, so the choice is yours. Novels and theatrical pieces are exempt from this and always require a publishing agreement with a royalty payment contract in place. We would never publish without approval from any author.
This is hard to say, but our publishing agreements to guarantee that we will publish your work within 12 months of signing the agreement. The editing and proofing process can take some time as we don’t want to rush through and put out just anything. We want everything we produce to be of high quality. Authors can reasonably expect, though, the entire process will be around 6 months depending on how much editing needs to be completed. We do like to have a nice ramp up period for marketing to ensure we’re taking advantage of every marketing opportunity available.
We do. We pay for all marketing and advertising for your book. However, we do not prevent you from marketing and advertising your book. You’re more than welcome to advertise on social media, and we’re happy to design advertisements for you at any time at no cost.
Each author is assigned to an editor and a proofreader. The editor makes comments and suggestions on the story, form, pacing, flow, and structure of the piece. They’ll work with you to make sure everything is absolutely perfect before sending it off to the proofreader to find any spelling, punctuation, or grammar mistakes. Lastly, the entire piece is put through a copyright process to ensure no part of it is subject to copyright infringement. Only when we have a completely finalized draft do we move forward with design and layout.
Eek! We certainly hope this never happens, but it’s written into our contract that if City Limits Publishing were to ever close, publishing rights immediately terminate back to the author.
Absolutely not. You, the author, own your copyrights and maintain them. We only hold the publishing rights.
We do require you to have a work in progress before submitting your piece, and we expect it to be reasonably close to finished before submitting. However, if you’re just stuck on that last little piece of the puzzle, we’re happy to review your work and offer feedback and advice prior to entering into a publishing agreement. Again, this is at no cost to you.
We market with both traditional and online methods. We advertise on Google, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, and other relevant online platforms. Additionally, we put together a PR strategy to get your piece in the media and reviewed. We also focus on getting you appearances on podcasts, social media channels, and virtual events and readings. There’s a lot more information above about our marketing efforts. And, if you have any questions, reach out!
If your monthly sales dips below $100, we wait to send your royalties until it’s reached $100. We do have a caveat to this in our contract that states we will never hold your royalties for more than six months regardless of the dollar amount below $100.
We have a block of ISBNs purchased from Bowker Identifier Services. All authors are assigned five ISBNs for their work for paperback, hardback, eReader, and other formats.
We do! We distribute to both online retailers and brick and mortar retailers like Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, Walmart, and more.
We do, but we require there to be something for review. We do not accept an idea for a story. Ideally, we’d like to see works in progress that at least get through the climax of the story and just need some help tying up loose ends.
We do! This goes through the same submission process as outlined above, with the exception of entering a contest. As always, all of our projects will have publishing contracts prior to publishing.
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