Author-pays publishing: Sarah Barlow Scott interview

barlow books freelance

Sarah Barlow Scott is the founder of Barlow Books, a team of freelance editors, and experts in design, production and marketing. The team run their our own businesses but work together in a new business model, providing everything from planning the book to distributing and marketing the final product. Here Norah Myers interviews her.

1) Please explain the idea behind Barlow Books. What makes it different from traditional publishing and other author services that are already available?

Barlow Books uses freelance editors and designers from traditional publishing. Like the traditional publishers, we have sales and distribution deals to get books into stores in Canada and the U.S. Unlike traditional publishers, we ask authors to pay up front for all services. In return they get 100% of revenues from the sale of books to readers.

2) What about this model appeals to you as an editor?

Authors get top-of-the-line editing and design at the same level they might expect from a traditional publisher. But if they’re prepared to invest in their books, they don’t have to wait and hope for a big publishing deal. 

3) How do you see this model fitting into the future of publishing?

It’s an important opportunity for those who have a mission, and want to get the word out via a professionally produced book, or for those who care about their brand, and don’t want to undercut it with a sloppily produced book.

4) What sorts of clients fit well with this model?

Authors with a mission. Authors who care about their brand. People on the speaking circuit who want to increase the number and value of their speeches.

5) What happens if you receive a manuscript that you think will be very successful, but the author can’t afford the fees?

We suggest the author raise the money, just as filmmakers do. Kickstarter and other crowd funders are a good place to start.

6) What advice would you give editors looking to work with this model?

We use top of the line book editors, people who have edited dozens of books for major publishers. We pay well. Contact me if you’re interested in working with us. I’m at

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