Lightning strikes 50:50 deals

Lightning strikes 50:50 deals

A new publishing model has launched, offering authors a 50% share of revenue on book sales. 

Lightning Books, the fiction imprint of the newly created Eyestorm Media, operates a co-publishing model. It was founded by Eye Books owner Dan Hiscocks, a former director of the Independent Publishers’ Guild, who has returned to the UK after a sabbatical in the US with a desire to “shake up the publishing industry”. Lightning Books launched at the London Book Fair. 

Under the co-publishing deal, authors submit manuscripts to be published as they would to a traditional publisher, but they are then asked to contribute half the cost of publication if their title is selected. Lightning Books will only make a profit after a book has sold more than 3,000 copies, at which point revenue from sales is halved between author and publisher. Lightning Books covers the print costs for titles, which will be distributed in the UK by Littlehampton Book Services. 

Hiscocks said: “The publishing industry has to change. Falling profits and the challenge of digital mean that the old business model is broken. As a result, short-term commercial considerations have driven out risk and creativity. Unknown authors find it very hard to get a hearing, let alone a decent publishing deal.”

He added: “Self-publishing offers a solution, but doing that on the cheap can yield poor results. Too many books published in this way still don’t get a chance to shine. Authors are crucial to publicising their work and deserve more of their rewards if their book succeeds.” 

The company will publish 20 books in its first year. Its first title is MBA: A Novel, a satire on leadership written by former UK Treasury employee Douglas Board. It will be published in September in paperback and e-book, with an r.r.p. of £8.99. 

To mark its launch, Lightning Books is running a competition to win a £7,000 publishing deal, appealing to authors who have written a “cracking ending”.

The deadline for entries is 20th May. Full details and entry criteria can be found via on its website.