"WHAT IS IT THAT CONFERS THE NOBLEST DELIGHT? What is that which swells a man's breast with great pride above which any other experience can bring him? Discovery! To know that you are walking where none others have walked; that you are beholding in the human eye has not been seen before; that you are breathing a virgin atmosphere. To give birth to an idea, to a discovery of great thought-an intellectual nugget, right under the dust of a field that many a brain-plough had gone over before. To find a new planet, to invent a new hinge, to find a way to make the lightnings carry your messages. To be the first-that is the idea...." There are books so alive that you're always afraid that while you weren't reading, the book has gone and changed, has shifted like a river; while you went on living, it went on living too, and like a river moved on and moved away. No one has stepped twice into the same river. But did anyone ever step twice into the same book?

The Innocents Abroad (1869)

About our Name...
The king of upland game birds, the ruffed grouse, wears the scientific name Bonasa umbellus.
     Bonasa means "like a bison," and refers to the bird's drumming mating call sounding like a thundering herd of buffalo. Umbellus describes the umbrella-like Elizabethan ruff of black feathers around the bird's neck....
In order to produce the kind of high-quality writing, editing, layout and design Bonasa Press wishes to accomplish-the cost of creating an emotional connection with a reader-it is necessary to provide the economic means to do so: Part of this involves paying those connected with the operation a reasonable salary, as well as paying writers, artists and others contributing to the work Bonasa Press produces above average fair market wages.

We want our writers, artists and photographers to stay satisfied. At the same time the company needs to plan for future projects and fulfill its obligations.

Writers, artists and photographers are paid in several different manners, depending on their contracts:

  • Individual negotiations - We negotiate individual contracts or agreements with individual creative people. This pays people fairly, and helps keep our expenses under control.
  • Royalties - Typical writer royalties are a flat 10 percent of the net price of the books. Typical artist royalties are 2.5 percent.
  • Advances - Being new, our advances are modest, but they are true advances, not deducted from royalty payments, unless stipulated in an individual contract. Depending on the project, advances might go to authors, artists and occasionally photographers.
  • Flat Fee - Writers, artists and photographers could also be paid a flat, per-project fee, depending on the scope of the work. Smaller projects best lend themselves to this type of work.
  • Quick turnaround - Bonasa Press anticipates a quicker royalty turnaround for artists and writers than most other publishing companies can offer. Generally speaking, the bulk of the royalties for creative people should fall into their hands within three years of publication. This may not always happen, but it is our goal. In other publishing houses, all the money a writer or artist may see is an advance against royalties. We strive to do this better.
  • Good treatment - Having worked the other side of the freelance coin for a long time, we appreciate the struggle that goes into creative work. Our aim is to treat freelance creative people better than we've been treated by other publishers; to deal honestly and fairly with everyone, particularly the creative side of publishing; to take the time to handle concerns and questions until they are resolved, not glossed over. We strive to be the freelancer's godsend. In keeping with this, we expect higher levels of professionalism and exceptional work-a creative symbiosis in the publishing partnership.

Bonasa Press cannot be responsible for unsolicited submissions. We will make every effort to return submissions with SASE. However, it is always best to query first, then follow up with a book proposal. Proposals should include an introduction about why the title needs to be published, a strong detailed outline, good information about potential markets and marketing, a listing of competing titles, and the availability of art (including photographs and illustrations) to accompany the project. Authors are expected to assist in marketing efforts, including providing potential customer lists or organizational contact points. Also, authors should make themselves available for marketing efforts, including book signings, promotional efforts, etc. that are within a reasonable distance of their location.

Generally, we prefer Associated Press style, although there are in-house peculiarities that don't fall into AP's style manual. No serial commas!

When submitting manuscripts, copy and other files should be on CDs, diskettes or 100 megabyte Zip disks (PC preferred). Photos must be original, complete with cutlines that identify how the photos relate to the copy. Illustrations and art work will be handled separately, given the wide variety of media possible.

Getting a manuscript ready to be used in the book publishing process can be a major pain in the neck. At Bonasa Press, we understand this and try to keep things simple-something that benefits both author and publisher. We've developed the following guidelines for manuscript preparation.

STEP 1: Prepare two copies of the manuscript and all related materials, one electronic copy and one hard copy, printed from your computer printer or neatly typed. Before you send the hard copy manuscript and electronic files to us, run a spell-check and check consistency. Do a "find and replace" for two spaces after a period (a common no-no for those who learned to type with a typewriter). Take a look at your MS with the "show marks" function turned on, and many potential problems reveal themselves.

Electronic copy - Since most authors are working on computers today, we'll deal with the electronic copy first. This file will be used in the editing and desktop publishing process, and it is imperative to keep it as clean and simple, free of formatting, as possible. Authors need not make things look pretty in the electronic version of the manuscript-that's the publisher's job. As a result, nearly everything the writing guides say you're supposed to do when submitting hard copy to a publisher is probably wrong.

We prefer manuscripts prepared using Microsoft Word for a PC. We can negotiate around Macintosh formatting, but PC is better. A manuscript done in 12-point Times New Roman type works fine, and be sure to turn off MS Word's fancy formatting-leave it off-before you begin. Any formatting applied will probably have to be stripped out, which adds to time and costs to the process. Save electronic files on 3.5-inch floppy disks, 100 MB Zip disks or burn them on a CD.

Simple and clean is what we're gunning for. In particular:

  • Never use Word's "Editing," "Track Changes" or "Bookmark" functions in an electronic file. These are real pains when things need to be unformatted.
  • Use one font, preferably Times New Roman, throughout the manuscript.
  • Don't indent paragraphs.
  • No headers, footers or page numbers are necessary. Notes of any kind should go on a separate page.
  • A single space between lines, words and sentences is fine.
  • Don't create large type headlines.
  • Use bullets and bold type sparingly, primarily as an organizational devices. Skip the italics, unless grammatically correct, such as citing a book title.
  • Don't insert pictures, hyperlinks or other items in the text.
  • Don't justify the margins. Left-margin justification works fine. Chapter and section heads should also be left justified.
  • Don't worry if a paragraph gets split between two pages; just let the unformatted text flow normally.
Printed Copy - Here is where authors could suggest layouts, insert pictures and get fancy, if so desired. Just make sure you don't save this highly formatted version as the electronic file.

The final manuscript should include the complete text, including a table of contents, a title page, any preface materials, bibliographic materials or notations, as well as any other agreed-upon materials. Also, include a copy of all necessary permissions with the final manuscript.

If the book will be indexed, compile a list of the keywords from the manuscript. Computer software compiles the actual index, and page numbers at this stage are meaningless.

Use the header and footer function to put your name, the book title, and page numbers on your manuscript hardcopy.

Step 2 - Send the printed hard copy and the electronic files in. In general, files on a disk or CD received via USPS standard mail, are preferred over emailed files due to donwload time and the possibilit of computer viruses, etc. on email files. Accompanying this should be all related materials properly identified, such as photos and the corresponding cutlines, etc.

Editorial changes - After working its way through the editorial process, chances are you'll see your manuscript returned to you for changes or revisions. Generally, these will be done on the electronic version, and highlighted (using Word's highlight tool). To make corrections, address the editor's notations, highlighting your revision in a different color.

It is perfectly acceptable for an author to lobby an editor against a revision if the author believes the change may not be in the spirit of the book. However, most of the time, the editor's changes are done for sound reasons-grammar, style, consistency, etc.-and will remain. Editors are human beings, however, perfectly capable of mistakes, too.