FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why is The Dreamwork Collective called The Dreamwork Collective?
What do captivating, inspiring and joyful people have in common? In our experience, these lucky people tend to be doing their dream work. Whether they’re in an office or a field, they find great meaning from their jobs. They’re driven by a passion and a belief in something bigger than themselves. If they didn’t need the money, they would still want to do this work for free.
In a perfect world, we’d all be doing our dream work. But the road less travelled can sometimes feel lonely and unstable. It takes a leap of faith into the unknown. That’s where the collective comes in.
We call ourselves a collective because we are more than 'just' a publisher: we provide a supportive, creative and collaborative environment. Being a freelance creative can be wonderful but it has its challenges – the Dreamwork Collective is a place to call home, a place where you’ll have people who believe in your mission on those days where you need a boost.
What do our members all have in common?
Our members hail from all four corners of the world, but what unites them is they all have a vision, and they all want to make the world a better place – even in a small way. Nigora from Tajikistan believes you can transform your life and wellbeing with some simple food and lifestyle choices; Linda from Ireland has witnessed first hand the benefits of learning how to talk to herself kindly; Houriya from the UAE fights to promote women’s football in the region. Jos is a passionate girls’ rights activist, Delna wants to reintroduce us to the lost art of comfort cooking and finding joy in the kitchen. At our regular meet-ups, the atmosphere is loud, lively and cheerful!
As well as having a mission and wanting to change the world, our members tend to not ‘just’ be writers. They are creatives, entrepreneurs, coaches and thought leaders, and their books are one part of their wider platform. Our writers often get in front of the camera, too, and are keen to share their message in all kinds of different formats: a four-week online video course, workshops, coaching, apps.
How can TDC help me?
Have you had an idea for years but not done anything about it? Do your family and friends keep urging you to ‘just write it’ but you can’t quite bring yourself to do it? If you have a passion project – something that makes you light up inside – but don’t quite know how to go about turning it into a book, we can help. We love nothing more than nurturing and coaching creatives and helping them get their message out there. We don’t expect you to be a fully-fledged writer yet, with a perfectly honed manuscript. What we do need is for you to have a brilliant idea that you are truly passionate about.
Is TDC right for me?
My book idea is important and relevant, and will help to improve people’s lives.
I care deeply about my message getting out there to as many different people in as many different countries as possible.
I’m keen to grow and learn as a creative and would also love to help support others, too.
I know that the bookselling industry is changing rapidly, and I’d love the opportunity to hand-sell books by doing events, working with schools, interacting with the community and so on.
I want to work with a young, female-led company who are disruptive and see that the future of publishing lies beyond only ‘bricks and mortar’ bookshops.
As well as a hardpack or paperback, I’d love to see my content available in other formats, be it an inventive app, an enhanced ebook or an online coaching series.
I want a six figure advance on my book.
I want to be a New York Timesbestseller overnight.
I don’t really mind what I write about, I just want it to earn me money.
I’m choosing to be a writer because I don’t really like interacting with people/the world!
I want to work with an established corporate company who do things the traditional, tried-and-tested way. I’m only interested in having my books sold in traditional bookshops.
I’m only interested in having my book out in the traditional hardback and paperback formats.
I’ve submitted my proposal to you using your form. What happens next?
We aim to get back to you within four weeks.
As well as looking at the quality of your writing, the clarity of your idea and your platform, we’ll also be looking at how your form of activism fits in with the rest of our team, and whether there’s space for you on our list.
Meeting or Skype: If it seems a good fit, we might brainstorm and strategize together and really drill down to get to the essence of your key message. You’ll have lots of questions for us at the meeting, and we will want to hear you speak about your subject matter and what your vision is.
What does a publisher do?
A publisher is responsible for producing books that are professionally edited, designed, and produced. This includes assigning editors for developmental editing, copyediting, and proofreading, as needed, together with following traditional standards for a professionally designed book. A publisher also provides varying degrees of sales support, distribution and marketing. TDC goes one step further to provide a comprehensive and holistic approach to publishing, including digital content creation, online courses, coaching and events.
I’ve been signed on with TDC.
What happens next?
This is where the fun really starts!
You’ll immediately meet our team, and start working with your designated Editorial Manager who will be ushering your book into the world with you. Once the book is written, we’ll take you through a developmental edit, a copy edit and a proof read. At the same time, our design team will be working on the front cover jacket, and our sales team will start sharing samples of the book with retailers and getting people excited about the forthcoming launch.
What does a hybrid publisher do?
Hybrid publishers function in the same way as traditional publishers, but they work in a more flexible and author-centric way. They are less driven by bottom-lines than big publishing houses and work collaboratively with authors. We comply with the United States Independent Book Publishers Association’s regulations for hybrid publishing companies. They have nine criteria, which are:
1. Has a clear mission and vision
2. Vets submissions
3. Publishes under its own imprint(s) and ISBNs
4. Publishes to industry standards
5. Ensures editorial, design, and production quality
6. Pursues and manage a range of publishing rights
7. Provides distribution services
8. Demonstrates respectable sales
9. Pays authors a higher-than-standard royalty
I’ve read that there are a lot of ways to get published. What type of publishing company is TDC?
The founder of TDC, Kira Jean, spent four years deliberating on the best way to launch a publishing house in the Middle East in today’s market. She saw there were benefits to all types of publishing. Traditional publishing had the in-house marketing and wide-reaching distribution; independent publishing worked on niche, cutting edge books and valued community; digital publishing was cost-effective; and self-publishing gave writers and creatives more control over the whole process. Kira decided to combine the best of everything and so TDC is classed as a ‘hybrid’ publishing company. More and more hybrid publishing companies are being birthed, and even some traditional publishers are moving towards a more hybrid model.
Do you publish all of the submissions you receive?
We don’t. We choose what we publish carefully, selecting the submissions we see as having the greatest merit and commercial viability. Check out our submissions page here to find out what we’re looking for.
I want to get published by a publishing house in the UK/USA, but I need a literary agent. Can TDC help me achieve this and be my agent?
No, we are a publishing house ourselves and do not function as a literary agency.
What kind of distribution do I get with TDC?
We want your book to get in the hands of as many people as possible, as we’re sure you do too! In saying that, we are strategic and targeted in our approach to distribution. We don’t necessarily believe the “be seen everywhere” approach is the most effective. We first understand what your goals are for your book and your dream work, then we do our research. Our focused approach often yields better results and we target our distribution through five key channels:
Bookstore distribution: We have UAE, US, and UK branches of our company and we strive to get our books distributed into bookstores primarily in these markets, including the wider MENA region
Online distribution: Our digital books are available on Kindle, Kobo, iBooks, Scribd, and Barnes & Noble Nook
TDC store distribution: Selling through our online store
Special sales: Depending on the genre of your book, we look at special sales to select retailers, libraries, schools and corporations
Rights sales: When it comes to distributing your book into some markets, like China or Australia for example, sometimes it can be more effective for us to work with a publishing company that has a fantastic distribution setup and specific knowledge and expertise in the relevant market. Publishers achieve this by selling the publishing and distribution rights to a chosen publisher for a particular territory. This is the only real way an author can achieve global reach, particularly in foreign languages. TDC manages rights sales on behalf of its authors - meaning we attend book fairs, rights events, and work with rights agencies to pitch and promote the work of our authors. Authors receive 50% from all right sales in addition to the royalties
Do you translate books?
For the right book we will consider English <> Arabic translation. For other languages we work with established publishers in various countries to publish our books in their native languages.
Do you work with writers who are not native English speakers?
What kind of success have you had?
The definition of success if different for everyone but here are a few of the things we are proud of:
We published a debut novel written by a fifteen-year-old superstar!
One of our authors quit her job to start doing her dream work fulltime
Our books have launched in New York, Dubai, Johannesburg, and at the Emirates Festival of Literature
We have had success in selling rights to international publishers
Our books have been published in different languages, like Arabic, German and French
Our books can be found in stores from the UAE to the USA, and from Ireland to Canada
Our books have been endorsed and supported by well-known game-changers like Huda Kattan of Huda Beauty fame, Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee, fashion model Halima Aden, and designer Annah Hariri
Three of our books made it onto Kinokuniya’s ‘Best Books of 2018’ list
Our books have been featured in: Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Grazia Middle East, Entrepreneur, Khaleej Times, CNBC, BBC, My Salaam, Mojeh, Women’s Health Magazine, and more
Nearly all of our authors make a return on their investment within eighteen months
Every single one of our authors has gone from having a “one-day dream” to making their dream a reality within a year!
I have a friend that is a graphic designer, can they design my book for me?
We love working with creatives in collaborative ways, however, commercial book design and graphic design are very different skillsets. We always work with professional book designers who have years of experience in commercial book design. As we all know, people do judge a book by its cover, and we want yours to be the best it can be!
Are there fees associated with publishing with you?
Yes. Hybrid publishing includes a one-time fee at the beginning of the project and then TDC continues to make long-term investments in you and your work thereafter. Our fees range from $10,000-$30,000 and we offer long-term payment plans to make it as feasible as possible for our authors. Our lower range fees are less than what it costs to successfully self-publish and our higher-end fees include business coaching, a book launch event, and comprehensive PR and marketing.
While a lot of companies claim to offer to publish your book for a fee, most lack in their commitment or ability to successfully distribute and market your book. We prioritise you getting a return on investment quickly, and focus a significant amount of our time on successfully distributing and marketing your book to drive sales. We never want money to be the reason someone can’t say yes to doing their dream work, so we encourage our authors to pursue crowdfunding or sponsorship. We also provide event opportunities for our authors, and encourage them to be part of our digital experiences where they can earn money from online courses, workshops, talks and coaching – in addition to their book royalties.
How do royalties work?
With traditional publishing an author usually has to earn out their advance before they start earning royalties. This means that unfortunately, a lot of authors never see any royalties at all. A publishing house will pay an author an advance for their book, but it is essentially a loan, and the publisher will expect to earn back the advance before they start paying the author royalties. At TDC, you start earning royalties right away – actually this is a priority for us. Authors receive 50% royalties from book sales.
What does TDC do with profits it earns from my book?
Our earnings go directly back into benefitting you and your work. Such earnings allow us to continue increasing sales and expanding distribution of your book, both which require a lot of time and resources. Our earnings help us cover the costs of things like featuring your book in our catalogue; pitching and promoting your book to retailers, bookstores, and rights buyers; marketing your book; reprinting your book; converting you book into various forms, such as an e-book or audio book, making our recording and filming studios available to you – the list is almost endless.
I’m young, do you think anyone will want to read what I write? How old do I have to be to get published?
There are no age restrictions when it comes to becoming a published author. One of our books, Elements of Straefor, was written by a young girl who became an author at the age of fifteen.
What if I have several ideas for a book?
Ah, we love when people come to us with several ideas! On a professional level, we can help you understand what idea makes most commercial sense. On a personal level, we can also help you know which idea has truly won your heart.
What if I am nervous to write my book and put my work out there?
If it makes you feel any better, everyone feels like this at some point along the journey. In many ways, it is a leap of faith and your dream work will ask of you to be brave and take action anyway, trembly knees and all! At TDC we have professional writing, business, and personal coaches who can support you through any blocks and resistance and help you feel confident in putting your dream work out there.
How many copies of my book do I need to sell to make a return on investment?
It depends on a number of things, for example, the retail price of the book, the global appeal of the book, if you have an existing following etc. We plan this out at the beginning of the project and make a clear plan to support you in getting your ROI. Of course, there’s no guarantee book sales alone will get you an ROI, but that’s when things get to be more fun and creative. We’re there to support you every step of the way and are experienced in building brands and mini business models around book. For many of our authors, the true ROI is often intrinsic. Writing a book is a life-changing experience, and there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing someone enjoy the work you’ve put out into the world.
I have already self-published a book, can TDC just help me with distribution?
We don’t offer distribution services for books we have not published, however, we are always open to looking at self-published books with the potential to be published under us.
Who owns the copies of my books? Can I get copies whenever I need them or do I need to buy them at a discount from you?
The books are owned by you and licensed to TDC for five years for sale and distribution. This means you can collect copies from our warehouse at any time and there is no fee. If an author chooses to send copies of their book to friends or to someone for promotional purposes, the author needs to arrange the shipment. But TDC manages shipments for books that are to be sold and distributed.
TDC relies on book sales to continue investing time and resources into a book, therefore, if an author chooses to take a large quantity of their books and spread them freely, it can limit TDC’s ability to continue investing in the book long-term. We expect our authors to be as equally dedicated to selling books as we are!
Do you do fiction?
Yes, we do!
Is TDC for men and women authors?
We’re for everyone!
Can I just run a course or be a coach on your platform?
No. Our digital experiences are only for authors who have published with TDC.
What kind of marketing do you do?
We focus on digital marketing, including social media posts and advertising, influencer endorsements, book reviews, and featuring your professional profile and book on our website. We feature your book at book fairs and events we participate in, and at various times during the year we work with experienced book publicists for special promotions. We are also able to offer authors high-level PR and marketing for the book launch, which can result in them being featured in traditional media, too.
What kind of marketing to I need to do?
We highly recommend you start to build your profile on social media platforms if you haven’t already. Readers today want to feel connected not only to your words but who you are as a writer. Your fans will enjoy seeing the behind-the-scenes of their favourite book and building a following right from the beginning can make the world of difference to how far your work can reach. We also strongly recommend you prepare to be very active for the first twelve months after the publication of your book. Go out there and tell the world about your amazing achievement! Actively pursue opportunities to attend or speak at events related to your work, write for magazines or blogs, do book readings and book signings, and continue to build a community or online following around your work.
How can a book help me in the other work I do?
A book can really set you apart from other people in your industry, boosting your credibility and positioning. It is an additional medium through which you can convey your expertise and your message.