|Who we are . . .|
a short history
of Upper Access, Inc.
Who we are...Upper Access, Inc., publishes books and provides business software for other publishers.
We began publishing books in the mid 1980s, a little before the snapshot at right was taken showing the equipment in use then and a few of our early titles. Our niche is a broad one: nonfiction books to improve the quality of life. We publish, on average, only one, two, or three new titles each year, but we take the time to be sure that each Upper Access title is the best in its subject area.
Early on, we learned that small presses had a hard time competing in the marketplace with the big multinational conglomerates. Small-press books were often at least as good, and sometimes far superior, but the business practices and distribution networks greatly favored the big companies. Therefore, we established a book-fulfillment company, which took toll-free orders for books around the clock and also made books readily accessible to book stores. That meant that if people knew about a small-press book, they would have no difficulty obtaining it.
We also developed an industry-specific business software program, now known as Publishers' Assistant, to allow small companies to function professionally. At the time, industry-specific business software cost $10,000 or more, making it unaffordable for most smaller and newer publishers, who were, therefore, unable to compete in the complex business climate of publishing. We created better software at a small fraction of the prices of the competition, allowing even the smallest publishers to compete with the huge multinationals.
By the year 2000, other companies had set up to handle book fulfillment, including an excellent one called Book Clearing House. We were happy to let BCH take over our accounts, because we knew they would do a good job. If you are interested in book fulfillment, click here to visit the BCH Web site. Meanwhile, our software program has flourished, setting the standard for business software, not only among small presses but independent publishers of all sizes. The main version, Lyric, is actually now freeware. For more information about it, click here to visit our main page for software descriptions.
Upper Access? What does that mean?We're located in the woods of Vermont on the Upper Access Road to Lake Iroquoisjust up a piece from the Lower Access Road, which would have been a less pretentious name for the business if only we had been located there.
What's happened to the "Big Books from Small Presses" catalog?For more than ten years, the "Big Books" catalog was our most prominent face to the general public. At its peak, the circulation of the catalog exceeded 100,000, and a great many people looked forward to each new issue. To this day, we continue to receive copies of the old "business response envelope" with notes asking for the latest catalog. But the book business has changed, and the catalog gave way to a Web site, which was eventually folded into the Book Clearing House site. As nostalgic as we still are about that paper catalog, the Internet is now a much more practical place to sell books.
Criteria for Authors . . .If you've read this far, you're probably an author. We are interested in well-written, solidly researched books that have unique information to improve the quality of life. We are, necessarily, extremely selective, as we receive hundreds of queries each year and can usually accept only a couple of them. We sometimes have to turn down proposals that we like, simply because we are committed to continuing on our small scale and must avoid spreading ourselves too thin.
E-mail all queries to info (at) upperaccess.com. Do not attach a file to your first contact with us, as we have a policy against opening unsolicited files. If we are interested, we will contact you to request further information. We generally cannot take inquiries by telephone, but if you decide to call us to check on your submission, the number is 802-482-2988. Do not use the toll-free numbers for inquiries about submitting book proposals, as they are directed for book orders only. Also, please do not mail us an unsolicited manuscript. If you do, we cannot guarantee its return, even if you enclose return postage.
Your initial query should include a general description of your book, who you believe the audience to be, why you feel you are the right person to write about this subject, and what platform you have to help reach the audience.
Our contracts are conventional royalty agreements, under which the author holds the copyright and Upper Access publishes and markets the books. Like most other small presses, Upper Access pays only a token advance against royalties. Therefore, virtually all remuneration to an author depends upon how well the book sells. If the book sells well, our royalties are very competitive with those of the big houses.
Meanwhile, we apologize for not being more inviting to new authors. We wish you the best, but we can accept only a fraction of the best book proposals. A rejection from us does not mean that your book is not good or that it is not marketableonly that we are not the best publisher for it, or that we are working to our capacity on projects we are already committed to.