Written by Emily Harstone February 1st, 2024

The Book Folks: Now Accepting Manuscript Queries

This London-based publisher specializes in crime fiction, thrillers, and mysteries. They do also publish other genres, but more rarely, including: women’s fiction, literary fiction and romance. Clearly they know the most about publishing and marketing crime fiction, thrillers, and mysteries as that makes up the bulk of their site, and they appear to generally sell more copies of these books. 

Most are sold in ebook format although they also offer print copies. All their books are available through Kindle Unlimited, which is Kindle’s reading subscription service, which is separate from Amazon Prime. Kindle pays royalties to authors and presses through this program through a system they outline here. They clearly outline their strategy of selling a lot of ebooks at a very low cost here on their about page, which also includes their masthead.

On their submission page they also state, “Using our contacts we get your book out there high in the bestseller rankings and significant revenue in your bank.” As someone who has reviewed hundreds of publishers I’ve never heard anyone else make similar claims. I will say that all the books I looked into on their site had many reviews and ratings, most averaging at least a hundred reviews, which is rare, and a fair amount had many more reviews than that. I have also heard from an author who has made a fair amount of money in terms of sales with them.

The Book Folks (TBF) was founded in 2013 by Erik Empson who also runs Cold Peak Media, which in turn runs a book marketing company, called Book Bongo, which has one less than ideal review here. If any author who works with TBF is ever redirected to Book Bongo and asked to pay, please send us an email at support@authorspublish.com, as this very much would not be within the confines of a traditional press, especially one that so clearly promotes their ability to market books.

On their website they stress “Authors receive royalties directly on sales revenue and will never be asked for money to publish their work.” Many authors do end up working with them long term. Which makes it seem like they must treat at least some of their authors well. But it is also a factor that they appear to pressure authors into agreeing to commit to at least two books.

The website focuses on selling books more than recruiting writers, which is a good sign.

They are also open to previously self-published work. They state, “We publish first novels but because we aim to develop a long term partnership with authors, those having at least two or three books, written or planned, will be especially welcomed.” Focusing on first novels is unusual too and feels a little like a yellow flag to me as they seem to be more interested in less experienced authors who might be more vulnerable in terms of unfavorable contacts. They appear to have a track record of communicating unprofessionally, including communicating misleading information about standard publishing practices to potential authors.

Since this review was first published I have heard  feedback of multiple readers that they seem to be only interested in working with authors who will publish at least two books with them, to the point where they will not even consider publishing just one book by an author. This is highly unusual and not ideal. I also know now that they ask for a significant percentage of royalties if your book is optioned in terms of other media. 

Novels must be at least 45,000 words.

They don’t ask for a sample chapter, simply that you fill out a short form and share a little about your book.

Their submission guidelines and submission form is accessible here.

Emily Harstone is the author of many popular books, including The Authors Publish Guide to Manuscript SubmissionsSubmit, Publish, Repeat, and The 2023 Guide to Manuscript Publishers. She regularly teaches three acclaimed courses on writing and publishing at The Writer’s Workshop at Authors Publish. You can follow her on Facebook here.


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