RACKET PUBLISHING

Reimagining non-fiction books.

about

Why Racket exists and what it attempts to accomplish.

WE KNOW BOOKS.

Philosophy

Racket Publishing is the brainchild of award-winning author and Motion Publishing founder Phil Simon.

Writing Partners, Not Clients

By treating its authors as partners and not clients, Racket provides sage guidance on all aspects of the writing process. From planning to writing to post-production to marketing, Racket’s got you covered.

If you want to try your hand at indie or self-publishing, have at it. Snakeoil salesmen abound. Through trial and error, though, you can find decent editors, indexers, e-book specialists, designers, and proofreaders. They can certainly meet your needs.

Buy who’s overseeing the entire project—from idea to launch?
Fast, cheap, and good. Pick any two of the three.
Racket works with its clients on a holistic basis. First-time and experienced authors benefit from a true publishing partner, not just a service provider. That’s our jam. If this doesn’t sound cheap, trust your instincts.

As in life, however, you get what you pay for.

Tools Matter

With rare exception, traditional publishers and the vast majority of publishing professionals are stuck in their ways. They cling to antiquated business processes, technologies, and mindsets. For example, emails and attachments continue to rule the day. There’s just one problem:

It’s no longer 1998.

Simon believes that there’s a vastly better way to write and publish. By embracing new, user-friendly collaboration tools, it’s possible to make publishing a book far more efficient, cost-effective, and even downright fun. Yes, fun.

TEAM

The talented folks who make books happen at Racket. We’ve got all your publishing and related needs covered.

Management & ghostwriting

Phil Simon is probably the world’s leading independent expert on workplace collaboration and technology. He is a frequent keynote speaker and the award-winning author of 14 books, most recently The Nine: The Tectonic Forces Reshaping the Workplace

He founded Racket Publishing in 2021. Before that, Simon started Motion Publishing in 2010, ultimately selling the company in 2017.

Over the course of his storied writing and publishing career, he’s worked with dozens of authors in different capacities, including ideation, brainstorming, title creation, positioning, and ghostwriting. Don’t get him started on Breaking Bad, Marillion, and Rush.

DESIGN

Jessica Angerstein is an experienced graphic designer who loves to take complex topics and make them easy to understand. She excels at creating stories that inspire people. Her passion is wallpaper removal, but she loves to create book layouts and bring each page to life. She has worked on all four Racket titles.

Luke Fletcher is a professional freelance graphic designer with two decades of related experience. He has designed the covers for dozens of books in his career, including the Racket titles The Nine, Low-Code/No-Code, and Project Management in the Hybrid Workplace. While not designing covers, you may find him spending time with his kids or watching Breaking Bad or The Big Lebowski

Indexing

Johnna VanHoose Dinse has been creating vibrant indexes for a little more than 20 years. She has created indexes for consumer trade books such as the For Dummies series and Complete Idiot’s Guides, as well as those for academic and healthcare presses. Her philosophy of indexing: “I create a roadmap for the reader to use to navigate the information presented in all the ways they might need to use it.” She has worked on all four Racket titles.

Editing & PROOFREADING

Karen Davis is an experienced and highly skilled editor. She has worked on more than 500 books over the course of her career. Her attention to detail and ability to distill a story are second to none. She enjoys biking and just loves dogs. She has worked on all four Racket titles.

Merlina McGovern has always loved working with the published word and with graphics and design. She finds no greater satisfaction than in taking content and combing over it meticulously to improve it and make it better for readers. She takes this meticulous approach to everything, including improving publishing and design processes.

EBOOK CONVERSION

Vinnie Kinsella is a full-stack designer. Over his career, he’s successfully completed hundreds of ebooks, including all Racket titles.

AUDIOBOOK PRODUCTION

Seattle-based Gary Bennett is an award-winning SAG-AFTRA audiobook narrator and voice actor. His many audiobooks include the Racket titles Reimagining Collaboration and Project Management in the Hybrid Workplace

Jonathan Yen is a talented voice actor, proud SAG-AFTRA member, audiobook and documentary narrator, and post-production sound engineer. His many works include the Racket title The Nine and Message Not Received.

ADVERTISING

Jeffrey Kimura is an experienced marketer with deep expertise in paid search, ad optimization, and keywords. 

FAQ

Common queries and answers about working with us.

What is hybrid publishing?

Before answering that question, it’s important to define two terms. In traditional or legacy publishing, the publishers use skilled professionals to turn the author’s manuscript into printed book, ebooks, and audiobooks. If you think that this process involves a good chunk of change, trust your judgment. Authors receive a tiny percentage of their books’ royalties because legacy publishers take all of the risk.

In true self-publishing, authors absorbs all of the costs and financial risks. They attempt to do everything themselves: editing, proofreading, cover and interior design, indexing, and more. Books tend to look amateur, but authors keep the lion’s share of the proceeds.

Hybrid publishing serves as a middle ground between these two models. Think chocolate and peanut butter. Less metaphorically, the author pays the hybrid publisher’s staff to produce a book every bit as professional as those offered by traditional publishers. No, hybrid publishing isn’t cheap, but the final product is superb. Even better, authors retain the rights to their works and earn far more money per copy sold compared to working with Penguin, O’Reilly, and their ilk.

Does Racket work with organizations as well as authors?

Yes. Back when Racket founder Phil Simon ran Motion Publishing, he and his team turned two companies’ blogs into proper texts. They are Information Development Using MIKE2.0 and 101 Lightbulb Moments in Data Management. Racket will follow the same model.

Does Racket just publish books?

No. Beyond publishing proper titles, the company provides an array of related services.

If I work with Racket, who ultimately owns the intellectual property?

You do. Unlike some subsidy and hybrid presses, the author retains the rights to all IP. Should you want to do one or more of the following, have at it:

What's the deal with book royalties?

Racket Publishing provides writing, publishing, and coaching services. It does not receive royalties from your future book sales. Your royalties will far exceed those granted by traditional publishers—sometimes by an order of magnitude.

Deals that you strike with foreign publishers typically resemble those from traditional ones. That is, there’s an advance against future royalties.

Do I have to publish my book under the Racket imprint?

No, you do not.

Can I record our coaching sessions?

Absolutely. I can or you can. Watch them as many times as you like.

What book formats are available to me if I work with Racket?

All of them: hardcover, paperback, ebook, and audiobook.

Do I have to work with Racket team members simultaneously?

No, you do not. You and the team can do a great deal of the work asynchronously. Still, sometimes it makes sense to share a screen, talk on the phone, and work synchronously.

I want to write a fiction book. Can you help?

Congrats, and best of luck to you.

Racket specializes in non-fiction writing. Still, The Author Flywheel: How to Intelligently and Affordably Market Your Book will help you raise awareness of your book and, ultimately, goose sales.

What are your coaching, consulting, and writing rates?

They vary by project. A one-hour coaching session costs far less than a three-month ghostwriting project.

Talk to me about pricing and billing.

Pricing

At a high level, there are two ways to price long-form writing projects:

  1. Flat rate.
  2. Hourly.

To be sure, each approach inheres different pros and cons. For two reasons, Racket prefers the second approach. First, precisely estimating how much time long-form writing projects will take is impossible. There are just too many variables at play.

Second, working on an hourly basis just seems fairer to all parties concerned. For example, consider a ghostwriting project for a full-length book. A decent—if imperfect—estimate for the amount of time required to research, write, and edit the manuscript is 300 hours. To state the obvious, however, not all clients are created equal. One who dillydallies and constantly changes his mind could require twice as much time. An organized, motivated one might need only 225.

Billing

First-time Racket clients prepay for a fixed number of hours—typically 20 to 40 at a time. (Think of it like keeping an attorney on retainer.) Once those hours lapse, they purchase additional blocks.

Repeat clients can opt to continue this arrangement, or they can can pay in stages—starting with an initial deposit to kick off the project. After that point, they can choose to pay when Racket meets agreed-upon milestones.

Which tools does Racket use with its clients?

Check out this page for more information.

Talk to me about ChatGPT and other generative artificial intelligence tools.

Racket discourages its authors from using generative AI tools for writing and research. They can, however, be useful for brainstorming or summarizing vast amounts of information, such as interviews and generally boring academic papers.

I already wrote my book or manuscript but just need publishing assistance. Can you help me?

Yes. Racket offers project management and other services to turn your manuscript into a professional book.