Progress ….. sort of!

Last week I spent alot of time researching into how to self publish a book. The logic was simple really, it makes a great story. Pick yourself up, write the story, market it and publish it yourself. From a PR point of view there are some real advantages. It makes the story complete and lends the potential market to further admire your achievement. However the web debate on the pretentiousness of self publication is fascinating.

There are several arguments for and against self-publishing, but the strongest and most often stated reason against this option is; “all self-publishing is an untalented person’s way of getting their scribblings into print at an extortionate price.”

http://www.selfpublishing.co.uk/why_self_publish.html

If I am to self publish does that mean that I am untalented? Not able to convince a publisher myself? The story is not worth their while? I really hope that the answer to all those questions is a resounding “No” however I’ll only really know if I test the market?

I have been in touch with several options for this route to market. They all require an outlay of approx £900 for varying levels of service. The challenge comes if you want more than 200 pages of black and white script and a colour cover. For example, I will be printing pictures in mine – that is an added complication that seems to increase the cost / book significantly. I may also have more than 200 pages, which throws the whole set up into disarray. I have spoken to an American (I think!) automated system that asked me standard questions, but couldn’t understand my responses as I was laughing so much, through to a really helpful, patient and informative person called “Ruth” in the self publishing department above. They are really worth a call, or at least a visit to their website. They have a comprehensive package and offer additional services which will add value to the process. Ruth was extremely helpful, particularly towards a numpty like myself, and I left the phone call with a really clear understanding of the process, enough so that I could relay it all to my writing partner so he could understand it!!
For a standard package you get:-
1. A complete book (colour cover, layout and 200 pages of black and white script)
2. 5 free copies of said book
3. A listing with Amazon for 1 year
4. ISBN number and British Library listing
5. Wholesale distribution through Gardners, Bertram and Neilson (the only distribution people in the UK)
6. The ability to re-order the book, 1 copy at a time

This whole package is comprehensive, well thought out and actually makes sense – however it is fraught with challenges, if you are looking for the book to be more successful that a few hundred copies.

1. You can choose one of their recommended covers or design your own, within their requirements.
2. Fabulous
3. If someone orders your book from Amazon, it becomes a “print on demand” option which means £3.20 per book at print cost price. You then have to add the listing fee (40%) and postage to that cost. At a selling price of £5.99 there is not much left over.
4. Has to be done so great addition to package.
5. But that listing does not mean they will hold stock for you. Again you are back to print on demand scenario.
6. The whole print on demand thing again!

So the challenge now is to work out how to reduce the print cost per book. The listing fee will be the same whichever route you take. If you decide to order anything more than 500 copies of the book, they will be able to reduce the print price per book (economies of scale). However these will need to be delivered to one place (ie my house!) and then I would have to take over the distribution of them. Visions on me with a boot full of boxes turning up at my local Waterstones, sprang to mind. Not a good plan and will not drive the volume I’m looking for! Nor does it conjure up the professional image I would want to portray.
If I take this book to market I am determined that it will be done professionally and will deliver the book immediately to the customer. Messing people around will not portray the right message nor will convince them of my capability. This book has taken alot of time and energy, it represents me and I’ll be dammed if the distribution of it will have a negative impact on my reputation.
The other thought I’ve had is that, if I start by only publishing a couple of hundred books, what does that day about my confidence of success? If I am so convinced that this book will sell and people will be interested (astounded and gob smacked) by the story then should I not have courage in my conviction and really go for it?

Plus a well established publishing house will have all the contacts, networks and media to publicise as effectively as possible. Is that not the easiest, most effective and logical route? I have yet to research that option in quite so much detail, but am beginning to think that it will be the best potential route to market.
Publishing is a new and intriguing business world that I am only scratching the surface of so far. The nuances of how business is done and how to be successful within it are slightly irritating, fascinating and proving to be a real challenge to me.

Bring it on!!

Posted by bekidaviesduvet at Monday, January 25, 2010 0 comments
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