When Rob Price was in undergrad, he published a fitness program on a new commerce platform by the name of eBay. It grew to be pretty popular, so he decided to look into self-publishing his own book.
After some research into the publishing industry, he started a small, traditional book publishing company. During this time he was also in law school at Ohio State, where he met a like-minded law student named Tony Chellini.
After law school, Price continued to work on the company, eventually evolving the business model into something a little less traditional. He decided to change the company to a self-publishing service provider, offering publishing services like editing and proofreading, cover designing, eBook, paperback and hardcover publishing and distribution and more for fees. In exchange, authors would retain rights and control over their projects, while earning 100% of their royalties with the same quality of publishing as the larger, traditional publishing houses.
Chellini would eventually join Price at Gatekeeper Press, working out of Manhattan with Price headquartered in Columbus.
Price says when he got started as a self-published author it was a “scary world” that he knew nothing about. Most of the authors that Gatekeeper works with are in that same boat, he says, and are looking for someone to hold their hand through the process, be compassionate and to make sure that their product is put in a position to be successful.
Every author and writer works with an author manager from start to finish. The author manager will act as the liaison between the writer and Gatekeeper’s editor, cover designers and interior design team, and ultimately serve as a guide that can be as involved or hands-off as the author needs.
“It really makes the process smooth, streamlined and efficient for the author,” said Chellini. “And they can be there for handholding if necessary or just as a way to take some things off of the author’s plate.”
The quality of customer service from Gatekeeper has received many positive reviews, says Chellini. This service model, and the testimonials from satisfied customers, makes authors feel more comfortable, which can’t be said for the other guys.
“It’s sad that I have to say that, but there are so many other publishers in this industry that are quite simply taking advantage of that, that authors and writers have never done this before, are new to the process and don’t really understand how everything works,” said Chellini.
“They will lock these folks into contracts, they’ll take a lot of their rights and limit their distribution ability, and then they’ll take a piece of their sale proceeds on the backend as well as charging them upfront fees,” he continues. “We do none of those things.”
Price has nearly two decades of experience in the book publishing industry and says the industry continues to undergo major changes. When he first entered the industry, Amazon was just starting to distribute physical books online that would get shipped to your door.
“As time went on, that began to dominate the industry. Stores like Borders shut down and ultimately print on demand technology continued to improve,” said Price.
A few years after that, eBooks began to rise in popularity, turning the industry upside down again. Price says while understanding how to remain relevant as a publisher and work with these new technologies remains a challenge, it has also led to opportunities for the self-publishing company.
“We’ve always been very good at staying at the forefront and being nimble and quick to take advantage of technologies, and then pass those benefits along to our authors,” said Price. “Larger entities move more slowly, whereas we can see that eBook creation and distribution was becoming a thing and we could quickly develop a process and a team that can handle that.”
The staff at Gatekeeper all work remotely and, with the exception of Chellini, all work in different parts of Columbus. That Midwestern reputation, where “people are ‘people people,’” says Chellini, makes a difference.
“It’s a big, big difference that distinguishes us between pretty much every other publisher are out there,” said Chellini. “That’s really the niche that we as a company had settled into. It’s been incredibly effective thus far and we’re excited about where we take that in the future.”
For more information, visit www.gatekeeperpress.com.