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Anyone worked for Osprey books?
I am sure that some here will be familiar with Osprey books. The softback books cover all sorts of subjects from "Early Roman Armies" and "The Border Reivers" up to more modern periods and topics like the Waterloo campaign and WW2 field fortifications.

I am currently putting together a couple of book proposals. The website gives some details about what they want in a proposal but there is one bit of info that they neglect to mention - the likely fee payable for a good manuscript. Has anyone here had anything published - and if so, would you be willing to give me a ballpark figure? You can PM if you like.

I don't doubt that I won#t get rich if my proposals were accepted but it will all towards paying for my beer and ajax (nasty habit).

Thanks in advance

Just give me a cold Becks
Belhaven is your friend
Couldn't tell you what Osprey pay, but here's one man who thinks it is a reasonable amount:
Thanks for the tip. Not sure if I could ask a complete stranger what they get though - at least on here, I feel, we are not all total strangers, even though I have met only a fraction of the people on here (if that makes sense?)

To broaden it a bit wider, Osprey are also involved (think they might own) with Shire books...and I am sure that some folk on here must know a bit them, if not Osprey proper.

Just give me a cold Becks
Looking at the date of the post Kevin refers to it may be because the pound had some value in those days. I have previously made enquiries to shire about a couple of books but the work and various other issues over the production of the volume and illustrations it was just not worth the time in relation to the money.
H'hmm. Who would have thought that Sterling could drop so quickly - it's now about even stevens with the Euro (and I have always considered that to be Monopoly money. I/we had better get used to it.
Whether it would be finacially worth it or not, I feel I have to get my ideas off my chest - I have seen some niches that Osprey have not yet covered - niches that I already have a good knowledge of. Apart from the usual grey literiture I have not much to show for my time as an archaeologist - it's nearly always been field work or finds processing/enviro in a cold warehouse. If I don't at least try to get somewhere with my ideas I will alwys be asking myself "What if?"

Just give me a cold Becks
Well it is definitely worth a go. It must be very good to walk into almost any museum in the country and see a book you had written. I wonder how the illustrations work for the Osprey books as they would probably be most of the expense.

I think it goes to show that the currency of a political and economic grouping of 370 million with a healthy trade surplus cannot go too far wrong. The British economy has resembled monopoly for a bit too long recently.
Osprey actually appoint an artist, rather than the author sub contracting. My proposals are WW2 related (based around German civil defence structures - Luftschutz bunkers and Flak installations etc, using period info and pictures mixed with some modern archaeological building survey) and I would love to get Ron Volstad to do the illustrations - but I doubt that if my proposals makes the grade that I would have any say in who did the colour artwork. I am probably biased anyway.

Just give me a cold Becks
That sounds like a really good idea. I remember going to a lecture on a particular air raid shelter which was a massive upstanding structure totally different to the UK approach to civilian protection. The illustrations would look excellent.

Good luck.
I remember attending the the "World Wargaming Championships" a little after graduation.

Ended up buying "Roman Imperial Army" by Graham Webster from the Bring and Buy Stall and
a "15mm Ancient Indian Army" from there, too....

I then went to the Osprey Book stall, where you could talk to their representative about book proposals. I pointed out that they did not have (at that time) a book on the armies of the Persian Empire (5th / 4th century BC).

I said I knew that Nick Secunda normally wrote for them on that era but had not done a Persian book.

They said I would need to submit a book synopsis.
I would need to submit black and white photos / make new negatives for the book.
I would need to supply line-drawings of the troops, for their artist to then copy from; and make into the proper full colour artwork (in the centre pages.

In return, a would get "a flat fee" of £350 (but this was in 1991, this story)

Osprey would retain full copyright, after the book was published.

£350 was not much for a book but maybe "it was a chance to get my name in print".
I submitted the required things to their main office.

They thanked me for it but said that since Nick Secunda was their regular writer on this era (as I had acknowledged with their rep) they would inform him of my submission and give him "first refusal". If he said NO, then I would write the book for Osprey.

As soon as Nick Secunda heard of my proposal (I can only assume?), he of course then agred to write the book for Osprey.

I bought a copy for my book collection but I am not too impressed with it (as I compare it to "how I would have written it") However, a similar style of book publisher "Montvert Press" commissioned Duncan Head to do a book on the Persian army and I thought that was really good, similar to how I imagined writing my own, if I had done it. Of course, Duncan is a more experienced, established writer, so my own version would have been a weaker version of what he did. So, full marks to Duncan!

I aint bothered with (thought about) any of the interests expressed in the email above, for over six years, now.

I think for me, I decided I could not make a living by writing "just" Osprey books.
You would have to produce one book per week? Assuming that they were all being published.

I do not know what the flat rate is now? You will have to ask their main office.
See if Montvert are still around. They are much better (academically) military history books.


If you are writing these books, you have to write what will be popular to the buyers, not yourself.

German World War 2 stuff will always sell.

But generally, anything on WW2, Napoleonic Wars, Greek and Roman related.

If only they will give you a better "deal" for writing them.
Sorry to hear Velociraptor that it didn't work out with Osprey. I would hope that nearly twenty years later they paid a bit more than what would have been about half a student grant. As far as my illustrations go I would use a mixture of CAD plans (pretty straight forward as the structures are generally fairly simple for ease and speed of construction) whilst the photographs will be from my private collection, various archives (eg the Bundesarchive - see and modern survey photos.

If, as you found it, the pay and conditions are pretty rubbish for the work involved, I will probably still push ahead with this area of research. At the momemt with the ground being so hard I am working as a tour guide. Having an in depth knowledge of the structures that are still to be seen will (and does)give me a bit of an edge.

Historic Building - the Org. Todt (OT) conducted a series of experiments in the 30's and early 40's. In their opinion, the shock waves from bombs were more dangerous to underground shelters than large, multi storey above ground shelters. The large public shelters would usually have a couple of underground floors but these tended to be for generators and pumps rather than people. There were never enough shelters though and so these rooms were frequently crowded as the raids grew in tempo. The structures by and large were very solid but when they did give it was generally fatal for all concerned as the forces would be concentrated in a very small area.

Just give me a cold Becks

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