What is Mosaica?
Mosaica Press is an independent publisher of Jewish books. Our authors include some of the most profound, interesting, and entertaining thinkers and writers in the Jewish world today. Our partners and senior staff have been putting out books for years under various imprints and with various publishers. The Mosaica label itself began appearing around 2010.
As you can see from our site, we’ve had a tremendous amount of siyata d’Shmaya and have grown tremendously. We are now releasing, on average, 1–2 new books a month, and our books are (BH!) gaining a lot of attention and selling well.
We create all types of books for all types of people. Some of our books are intended for the Orthodox community, some are more kiruv-y, others on subjects of interest for frum and/or Jewish people, and some develop their own niches.
What is the difference between a publisher and a distributor?
Mosaica is a publisher. We take author content (from articles, shiurim, blog posts – or, of course, from a manuscript itself) and create books, overseeing the entire process to create a finished book ready to be sold, read, and recommended. We have distribution arrangements in place with the best distributors in the Jewish world.
Why do I need an edit, copyedit, and proofread?
Mark Twain had an editor. Every author needs a professional outside editor to take the manuscript into “real book” quality. What is acceptable on a blog post may not necessarily be in written form. The difference shows, and our team is excellent and efficient. Every week we see documents that have been copyedited and proofread carefully by the author himself or the author’s neighbor…and have many dozens of conceptual, stylistic, and grammatical mistakes in them. These steps are critical.
What is the financial “deal”?
The author makes the initial investment in the publication of the book. Why?
As authors ourselves, working with various publishers over the years, we’ve come to realize that it is more profitable for the author – and better for all involved – if the author pays for the initial development and printing of the book – as has been done in Am Yisrael with sefarim for hundreds of years.
Here is why:
First of all, few Jewish publishers today can pay for the entire book-creating process and still make a profit. After taking account of the bookstore discount, costs of distribution, and relatively small market, the numbers rarely add up. When a publisher does offer to pay, the author usually ends up getting a very small royalty, with many “hidden” costs appearing along the way.
Also, when a publisher pays for a book, the publisher owns it. The publisher alone decides on the cover and title. The publisher decides how many copies will be printed or not printed, and the author needs to buy back copies at 50% (or more) of the retail price! Even if a book is effectively out of circulation and the author wants more copies for their own use, the publisher can – and often does – decide not to print again, as it is not worth their time or investment, leaving the author without copies of their own book. The publisher can do a lousy job in the creation, distribution, and promotion of a book – and the author can do nothing about it. Unfortunately, many authors have had negative experiences like this – including us!
We work differently, for all of our authors – including ourselves. Although Mosaica is certainly a company that aims to make a profit, we are also authors who are offering the best deal on the market for authors: When the author invests in the book, he or she actually ends up making more money and retaining more control.
So you work for the author?
We work with the author.
Authors have – and should have! – veto power over the cover and title (and of course the text itself), but Mosaica is not a vanity press or Do-It-Yourself operation. Authors come to Mosaica because of our experience and expertise. We know what will be noticed, accepted, and sold – and we mold your book into a solid seller, IYH. Our copyediting and proofreading are done according to accepted conventions – and Mosaica standards. As a publishing house with proven success and an experienced, talented staff, we are able to take your book from good to great.
How much does it cost?
Each project is unique. How many words? Paperback or hardcover? Is there Hebrew, or extensive footnotes? How many copies does the author need for their private use, and how many will be printed in total? Are there pictures? It is impossible to give a set price without seeing the manuscript and understanding the project. That being said, most books end up costing between USD $10,000 and $15,000 plus/minus. This is only an estimate – every book is different.
How much money do I get back?
You keep 100% of whatever books you sell personally, and get 30% of the list price from store sales. In most cases, the first 1,000 copies pay back for the investment. Of course, there are no guarantees, but if your book is good – it could sell far better.
Can the author buy his/her own books at a discount?
Much better than that. As authors we always found the idea of an author having to buy their own books (typical publisher discount is 50%) to be unfair – you wrote the book! In our system, the books are yours. You already paid for them and (aside from shipping charges, if there are any) they are yours to give out or sell directly – many authors make more money from their direct sales than their store sales.
Can authors get dedications?
We encourage you to get dedications – most sefarim today are made possible through dedications and sponsorships. Ideally, you can arrange funding for a large part or all of the initial costs, which allows you to profit fully from all sales. Ask us about our non-profit organization which can help process your donors’ donations to fund the research of your worthy project.
When do authors get paid?
Your direct sales are sold directly by you, without any intermediaries or delays. The money is yours. Regarding store sales, Mosaica transfers money to you soon after we receive it from the distributors, which is approximately six months after stores purchase the books from them.
Do you have a formal contract?
Definitely. Actually, we have two: one for Mosaica Press and one for non-profit projects, called Jewish Content Inc. If you decide to go forward, we’ll send you a contract to look through.
How long does the whole process take?
It varies from book to book and author to author. Once the contract is signed, the book is written, and the initial payment is made for the first stage of work, we begin the process of conceptualization and editing, which can take anywhere from 1–3 months, depending on the length of book, quality of writing, and how organized the material already is. Then the author reviews the changes made, and works on areas the editor identified that need improvement or adaptation. Then it goes back to the editor for a quick review. And then to the copy editor, interior design, and proofreader. The author will receive the final file to double-check. During this time, we’ll begin work on the cover. Then it goes to the printer and the distributor. Overall, from the time of the first draft being ready until availability in US stores, it usually takes about 9–12 months. In rare cases, we can pull it off in less – but this isn’t always possible. Rushing leads to mistakes and we want to get it right. If the book is particularly long or complex, the process may take longer.
Who decides title and cover?
Our experienced and proven staff have been creating beautiful and successful covers and titles. They know what sells! We encourage you to trust their expertise, but authors have veto power. In other words, we come to mutual agreement.