About BestThinking

About Us for Writers

BestThinking is the web publishing side and ThinkerBooks is the bookstore side of ThinkerMedia, an independent digital publisher of well-written, thoughtful blogs, articles, topics and ebooks. We provide a full-service platform for both new and established writers to flourish in the digital world. BestThinking and ThinkerBooks are where new writers launch successful careers and established writers find new audiences and extended success. We embrace the expectations of our readers and celebrate the talent of our writers. We welcome clear, passionate, original, responsible writing from diverse viewpoints on a wide range of topics.

What We Do

We do not take money from writers; we make money for writers. There is simply no cost for writers to publish with BestThinking or ThinkerBooks. While not every content item or ebook makes significant revenue, writers are never required to pay us, even if the production and marketing costs are not recovered. That's right, writers can't pay us for anything we provide, ever. We share the royalties from content and ebook sales. Writers get paid when we get paid.

Obviously then, we are not a self-publishing service, vanity press or subsidy publisher, nor do we accept advertising or solicit subscriptions. We believe our content is good enough to support itself. We integrate the best of publishing, major media and digital technology to provide unprecedented opportunities for writers of all types.

In periods of transition, as we clearly are in print publishing and traditional media, the best course forward is usually a hybrid of new and old. We use a hybrid model that combines the best of traditional publishing, such as strong writer support and promotion, with the best of digital publishing, such as rapid production and extraordinary reach. We are partners with writers, working together to reward talent, new thinking, and quality writing.

We have three main sources of revenue: 1) syndicating blogs and articles; 2) ebook sales; and 3) a speakers bureau. The revenue from all three sources is shared with our writers. By tightly integrating the full range of content types (blogs, articles and ebooks - topics are not syndicated because they contain content from around the Web), writers can choose the content type and best means of monetization for them. Writers can choose to only write blogs and articles and syndicate them, only write ebooks and sell them in major online distribution and ThinkerBooks, or both. The speakers bureau is available for everyone to use to monetize their increasing visibility.

We provide ebook writers with a personalized service experience, including technical assistance, proofreading, non-developmental editing, market materials and guidance and digital distribution management. We maximize our writers' reach by distributing on major ebook devices and platforms, including Kindle, Nook, and iTunes (iBook, iPhone and iPad), and on open platforms such as ePub and Android. Working with BestThinking enables writers to focus on creating their next great work.

ThinkerMedia also provides writers with an additional place to sell their ebooks: our store, ThinkerBooks.com. Writers can use ThinkerBooks to provide review copies and coupons often not available or very restricted in other major distribution channels. Also, a writer's portion of the revenue is typically 2 to 3 times higher on ThinkerBooks, so it's a great place to direct sales driven by the writer's efforts and events. If the manuscript is ready, ebooks are typically published and available for purchase within a few weeks of the writer completing the ebook proposal.

Unlike traditional publishing, we do not focus on the blockbuster publishing model where publishers outright reject, or ultimately require the writer to subsidize, books that don't meet their formula for mass audience appeal. Although some writers do extraordinarily well in this model, only a tiny fraction of writers are able to make a living this way. 

While we never stop believing in a writer's potential for a blockbuster, we believe in a "long tail" publishing model (see Chris Anderson's The Long Tail). We publish a great number of varied books that appeal to small but highly motivated audiences. The use of a long tail model, along with highly efficient digital publishing technology, means that the chances of getting published and making a living writing are significantly higher with ThinkerMedia than with a traditional blockbuster-focused publisher.

While we use a new business model and technology to significantly lower the overall barriers to getting published, we do not lower the standard for quality work. Writers have their identities verified, ebooks are proofread and copyedited, and all content must comply with our Participation Policy. This eliminates poorly written, hateful, harmful, self-serving, pornographic, strictly commercial and spammy content. As your publishing partner, both our reputations are on the line.

We do not publish every manuscript submitted to us. We select works we believe in and manage production and distribution. We partner with writers and give them 70% of royalties we receive for ebook sales. In our business model, our success depends completely on the writer's success with the ebooks we help publish. Writers who syndicate blogs and articles also get 70% of the royalties received.

What You Do

This business model requires working with writers who have fully completed manuscripts for ebooks. We generally do not pay advances toward completion of a manuscript. We believe writers living from advance to advance rather than a body of revenue producing work is an artifact of the blockbuster model that generally does not serve the writer or reader well in the great majority of cases.

Writers must submit their work using the tools on BestThinking. There are special tools for each content type. In particular, ebooks are prepared, proposed, produced and published through the "Producer," which also handles all submissions and communications. Do not submit ebook proposals, manuscripts or revisions by mail or email. Use the Producer.

Unlike Apple's iBook Author, NookPress, Kindle Produces, etc. the BestThinking ebook Producer builds an industry standard file that can be published just about anywhere. It also produces proprietary files for the leading stores, if required. These other production systems lock writers exclusively into their respective online store. So if you use Apple's iBook Author, the resulting ebook can only be sold in Apple's iTunes store.

Writers keep their copyrights, whether they are writing blogs, articles, topics or ebooks. Your ebook's copyright will be filed by us in your name. You will own the copyright and all other rights, but grant us a 5-year exclusive license to publish your ebook. We also apply and pay for your ISBN.

We will manage placement of your ebook for sale in major online stores, such as Amazon, iTunes, and Barnes & Noble, unless instructed otherwise by the writer or blocked by the other stores. Your ebook will always be available in the ThinkerBooks store.  Content other than ebooks will be syndicated through BestThinking.com.

While most online stores require "best pricing," which typically results in a common price to the consumer (a practice recently outlawed in Europe), the royalties paid to the writer can vary widely from store to store. Most online stores charge a royalty that's typically 30% to 70% of sales just for distribution (and it's typically 70% at the most desirable price points), and the writer still indirectly or directly pays for production and publication.

Our royalty is 30% of sales regardless of price point for the publication and distribution on ThinkerBooks (essentially, distribution is free for our store), and we do not charge for placing the ebook on other online stores (however, their royalty still comes off the top line).

If you have an existing (not self-published) ebook already produced (with ISBN) and already in online stores that you want to place in our ThinkerBooks store, our royalty is 15%, regardless of the ebook's price. However, these ebooks do not use our Producer and must also meet the standards set out in the Participation Policy. They must be ready to go in ePub format.

Most writers use ThinkerBooks for sales they drive directly from their websites and events to get the higher royalty, coupon and review copy capabilities. Since writers can still have their ebooks listed in the major stores to reach a large audience of buyers, listing ebooks in both ThinkerBooks and major online stores gives writers the best of both worlds.

One of the best ways to ensure the success of your syndicated content and ebooks is to quickly raise your visibility. The dirty little secret of modern publishing is that books don't sell, authors sell. This is especially true in the digital world where the chaos of millions of titles and commingling of self-published and traditional books in online stores has readers more than ever selecting titles based on finding a writer they like. As part of our ebook publishing program, we uniquely offer the full benefits of our BestThinking.com platform designed to help you be found and build a following.

An ongoing presence on BestThinking greatly increases visibility of writers and ebook authors through extraordinary merit-based search engine results, a highly effective blogging platform, article publishing, content syndication and a speakers bureau. Your work can indeed be judged by the company you keep, and in this case, that's a good thing.

For example, we recommend you keep your own website and blog, and generally keep doing everything you are doing as an individual to advance your writing career. This will continue to be effective when people search for you by name. A real additional benefit we provide comes from being found at the top of the search results for searches by topic or generic terms. Writers can use the time between writing books to write other content on BestThinking and build their relationship with current and future readers.

Since we are a publisher of original content, you don't have to worry about a search penalty for adding content already posted on your own blog or website to BestThinking (see Google's duplicate content policy).

We are also serious about making publishing as painless as possible. This begins with a simple ebook publishing contract (you can view a sample ebook contract here) and continues with real people available by email and phone who you will get to know and appreciate.

If all this sounds too good to be true, it's not. For our model to work to its full potential, new writers must commit to two years of actively building a following through writing quality blogs, articles, topics, and/or ebooks. Successful writers have always known this and it's nothing new.

What's new here is the integration of new technology, a new business model and strong publisher support that can greatly shorten the time, lessen the expense, and reduce effort required to build a following. Nevertheless, talent, hard work and good writing remain at the core of a successful writing career even in the digital age.

What We Publish

We publish fiction and nonfiction by existing and emerging writers, from poets and novelists to physicists and political theorists. All content we publish includes original, interesting, well-written prose. In addition to strong stories and content, ebooks are evaluated based on technical execution, tone, style and language.

While this is not a place to simply republish the work of others, we do welcome authors who want to republish their own previously published work. For example, this is a great way to re-introduce to the digital world your books that no longer meet the sales threshold for printed books.

While manuscripts may include some public domain content, the main subject of a manuscript should be your own original writing with public domain content only used for supplementation or support. Apart from public domain content, authors should own the copyright for the rest of the material in their manuscripts or follow copyright law regarding reuse of material.

Accuracy must be an essential element of all blogs, articles, topics and ebooks. Work should draw a distinct line between opinion and fact. Opinions are welcome, but they should not be offered as fact. Facts are independently reproducible and verifiable and are typically based on data and results. Furthermore, data and results lead to conclusions, not the reverse. Data and results should be properly cited and referenced.

Once we establish the integrity of the writer and the work, we apply a "less is more" view of editorial publishing. We use our Participation Policy to focus on quality, not the nature of the ideas and thinking. All blogs, articles, and topics that embrace the Participation Policy get published on BestThinking and get the full search engine benefits, listing in the Content Index, and a cameo in the high visibility spots like “Latest Thinking.”

We demonstrate our very light editorial touch by deciding what to show in BestThinking's Featured Content and Blogs and Books columns, and what to include in the weekly email Digest.

We will never try to tamp down writers’ voices, channel them into conventional modes of thought or ask them to toe the line of conventional wisdom. We are neither liberal nor conservative, but a place for thinkers of every persuasion to have their work showcased alongside that of those with whom they may disagree. We invite writers to be at their best, do their best work and put their best ideas before readers eager for quality and accountability.

We invite you to visit our bookstore, ThinkerBooks.com, to see a current collection of the types of ebooks we have published.

Getting Started as a Writer

The first step is to become a Thinker on BestThinking. Once you are verified to be who you say you are and have completed your basic bio, you can go to the My Content section, select the type of content you want to write (blogs, articles, topics and ebooks) and begin building your visibility and followers in the digital world. There is never any charge or obligation beyond the royalty-sharing arrangements where we earn together through syndication, ebook sales and the speakers bureau.

For more information about publishing, contact Courtney Enzor at courtney.enzor@thinkermedia.com or 877-266-5301.

More Information About...

Thinkers

What is a Thinker? Quite simply it is a term we use to describe our contributors. Smart, creative, talented and thoughtful people who create works to share are known as authors, writers, journalists, artists, poets, playwrights, videographers, engineers, scientists, teachers, doctors, musicians, athletes and so on. We welcome them all at BestThinking, so we needed a way to refer to everyone. Further, it was not our objective to be just another encyclopedia of facts. We focus on the issues that can only be engaged in terms of the current best thinking on the issue. So it made sense to refer to the people sharing their best thinking to be referred to as Thinkers.

Thinkers on BestThinking share their work in four formats: Blogs, Articles, Topics and Ebooks. Each of these formats provides a different level of effort, expression, viability and monetization.

Blogs

Blogs are the most personal and informal format for sharing best thinking. Generally, Blogs on BestThinking are frequent, short, have a single writer’s perspective, and are mostly comprised of commentary, opinion, and personal insights on subjects of special and ongoing interest of the Thinker.  Blogs are given more leeway on expressing opinions and personal views, but still must not confuse opinion and fact. Blogs on BestThinking are expected to be valuable content by knowledgeable sources.

Blogs can be automatically posted to BestThinking from your current blog through a WordPress plugin. They can also be imported or posted directly from email. Blogs provide the first level of search engine visibility and can be monetized through BestThinking syndication.

Articles

Articles are a formal format for sharing best thinking, where a bright line is drawn between opinion and fact, and facts are fully sourced and referenced as with professional and scientific journal articles. Opinions are allowed when clearly identified as such, and meet the rules for feature article (long) journalism. Articles are less frequent than Blogs are of longer length, may have multiple writer perspectives, and are mostly comprised of research, facts, and well-developed theories on subjects where the Thinker has an established expertise. Articles can also be a productive intermediary between popular content and academic publishing.

Articles can be imported from Word, PDFs, Wikis or created directly in BestThinking.  Articles provide a higher level of search engine visibility than Blogs, but less than Topics and Ebooks. Articles can be monetized through BestThinking syndication.

Topics

Topics are a special BestThinking format that is most like traditional journalism, but with important differences. While not intended for short-lived breaking news, Topics are based on current events that are “trending” and likely to have enduring interest. Topics are typically long lived and frequently updated. Topics have a core piece written by a Thinker who has a special and ongoing interest in the Topic, but also includes the best of other articles on the Topic from around the web, including alternative views. Topics understand that writers can have difficulty being an objective voice for alternative views, especially since the Thinker has developed an expertise in the Topic. In Topics, the alternative views are presented by links to the actual work by the proponents of the alternative views.

The BestThinking Topics tool makes it easy to search, review, and summarize articles related to the Topic from around them web. Topics are the most read, most featured, and they provide a higher level of search engine visibility than Blogs and Articles, but less than Ebooks. The main benefit for writers creating Topics is visibility as they cannot yet be directly monetized through BestThinking syndication until the format catches on.

Ebooks

Ebooks are digital files formatted like traditional printed books designed to be read on special readers, such as Kindle, Nook, iPad/iPhone and other smartphones, tablets and desktop computers. BestThinking ebooks are produced in Mobi (Kindle) and ePub (everyone else) formats. Ebooks generally represent the longest, most formal and comprehensive work of the Thinker. Our ebook publishing model is a hybrid of the best of traditional publishing and the best of digital. Thinkers cannot pay to publish on BestThinking. We like to say, we don't take money from writers, we make money for writers. We only publish ebooks we believe in and pay all the production and distribution costs. We provide the writer full copyediting, technical, distribution and marketing support to make sure ebooks we publish have quality content, are well written, and technically well produced... and we do it quickly with most books produced and in distribution within a few weeks of being submitted by the writer.

Ebooks we publish are available in the major distribution channels, such as Apple, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble, as well as our own channel, the ThinkerBooks Store. BestThinking supports reading sample chapters, places ebooks directly in the main stream of the BestThinking's content, and  prominently features ebooks. Ebooks provide the highest search engine visibility and have the most effective monetization through direct sales in distribution.

 
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