Who is the best fit for Wise Ink?
Wise Ink publishes stories that support building a better and more equitable world. We share stories that uplift,
inspire, and inform. We love to shepherd stories from voices not typically heard in publishing.
Wise Ink is the best fit for mission-driven authors. Our authors are speakers, educators, thought leaders,
executives, and nonprofit founders who want to use their work to change the world. They have a clear idea of how
they will use their book to leverage or grow their platform. They’ve asked themselves some of the following
questions, and have a vision for how they plan to serve their readers.
• What do you want your book to do in the world? How do you hope it impacts readers?
• What do you want the book to do for you? How do you hope it impacts your life?
• What is your goal for publishing?
• How do you see your book fitting into your big picture?
• What movements do you see your book fitting into?
• How do you imagine using your book to accomplish your pie-in-the-sky dreams?
Do you work with everyone?
No. We accept about 20% of pitches. We are firm believers that every book has its own highest path to
publication, and sometimes we aren’t the best partner. With a team of strategy-oriented people, we favor authors
with the drive and introspection to achieve success on a commercial scale in an independent model. As a
publisher, we are your first line of defense—we won’t let you make an investment that leaves you unsatisfied.
If you are publishing your mom’s memoir for close family, it makes no sense to partner with a publisher launching
books on a commercial scale. If you are writing in a specialized area that’s traditionally difficult to form a grassroots
marketing campaign around, like experimental fiction or poetry, you may be better off working with a publisher that
is exclusive to your niche.
What’s the difference between traditional and indie publishing?
Indie publishing is a process where the author funds the book’s production and makes all of the profit when the
book is in distribution. It gives the author more flexibility around the production timeline, more creative control,
and more control over book distribution and marketing. At the end of the process, the publisher doesn’t take
royalties. Wise Ink is an indie publisher.*
Traditional publishing requires a literary agent who will pitch your book to publishers. If a publisher acquires your
book, they will pay you an advance and your agent will get a cut (usually ~15%). The publisher funds the
production of the book, and keeps most of the profit when the book is in distribution. The author does not start to
receive their royalties (usually around 8-10% of profit) until the publisher has made back the author’s advance.
All publishing models benefit from authors who are willing to put themselves out there. While the entity who
invests in the process has the most to gain, audiences care most about authors, not publishers. YOU are the
reason they want to read your book. (Which is why the strategy questions above are so important!)
* In some contexts, “indie” refers to a smaller traditional press. We are using it in the way we’ve defined here.
Other times, publishers like Wise Ink are referred to as “hybrid,” because they follow a financial model where
the author invests in book production but a production model that reflects the high literary and aesthetic
standards associated with traditional publishing. Some hybrid publishers take royalties from book sales—Wise
Ink does not.
What’s a general timeline?
Most of our authors spend about a year working with us from the time they start their project until the time their
book is in distribution. During that time, authors work with a project manager who organizes your book team,
helping handpick designers, editors, and proofreaders with stellar reputations. We craft a marketing plan, revise
your content, copyedit, illustrate, design the cover and interior, proofread, print, and set you up for distribution
(with mainstream retailer, ebook, and audiobook options).
Depending on the special circumstances of your project, you may require more or less time than normal. That
is totally fine! We are more concerned with launching a quality book than rushing to meet an arbitrary deadline,
and we never kick our authors out the door. From the time you begin working with us, we are partners, and we
will continue to provide resources after your book launch.
Does my manuscript need to be complete before I pitch it to you?
We meet authors at all stages of the writing process, even if you just have an idea. Our expert writing coaches
and developmental editors will help you craft a book with high literary merit before we even go into copyediting.
We work with editors, illustrators, and designers who have cut their teeth in both indie and traditional publishing,
so there is no need to bring a team to the table (that’s what we’re for!). If your first draft is complete, that’s
How should I query Wise Ink?
It is not necessary to have a complete first draft before you pitch us—authors come to us at all stages of the
writing process. However, once you contact us, our editors will want to look at an outline or a sample of your
writing. That will help us gauge if we are a good fit for each other.
Here are some tips to help you get your work ready to query:
Check all spelling, hyphens, capitals, numbers, and important names and terms. Check that subjects and
Make sure your book's purpose is clear to your reader (this is a helpful assignment for your beta readers).
Use a grammar checker such as Grammarly to find passive voice sentences and rewrite them in the active
Check capitalization in all chapter and section titles.
Cut text that doesn't add to or serve your book. Proofread everything that you send out, or send it to a trusted
friend to proofread. Fresh eyes help!