Self-Publishing Hardcopy

How Much Is It Worth?

26 May 2014

From author M.L. Doyle:

Last fall, I took part in my first book festival as an indie published author. I spent a great deal of time thinking about my table display, thinking about how I would process payments and track sales. I also spent a lot of time thinking about how I would price my books. While I hoped to at least break even, making money wasn’t one of my goals.

. . . .

There were around 75 vendors at the festival, all with piles of books to sell. I figured the best way to ensure sales was to price the books in a way that let people know they were getting a bargain. If you’re going to the trouble of attending a book festival, one might expect to get the book for a cheaper price than what you would find online.

Everyone around me had priced their paperbacks at $15 to $20 each. Hardcovers were $25 to $30. I cringed when I saw those prices. I had hoped to do some book shopping myself but at those prices I could only afford to buy one or two. Since I had four titles to sell, I wanted someone to feel as if they could afford to buy all of them and not feel poor.

I sold my paperbacks for $8 each and my hardcover for $10. The authors sitting to the left and right of me were horrified by my prices. One author told me I was selling myself short, that I wasn’t valuing my work. She shook her head and walked away disgusted.

. . . .

The result was, I sold just about every book I brought with me. Many of the people who made a purchase bought more than one title. I met lots of readers, autographed lots of books and made at least a handful of new fans.

Link to the rest at M.L. Doyle and thanks to Toby for the tip.

Self-published photo books to be sold through Amazon

22 April 2014

From The Telegraph:

Eileen Gittins, CEO and founder of Blurb – an online platform that allows individuals to design and publish their own photo books – has announced that Blurb users will now be able to sell and distribute their books globally through Amazon.com, even if they only sell one copy.

Although Amazon has sold self-published books before, this is the first time that the retailer has invested so heavily in photo books

. . . .

The decision marks a huge leap forward for the ever-growing group of photographers who are designing and printing their own photo books rather than working with traditional publishing houses.

In recent years, self-published photo books have become more popular and more readily accessible – with titles being sold in small bookshops, by independent dealers, or on lesser-known websites. But “self-publishing photographers want to be on Amazon; it’s today’s equivalent of being in a high street shop,” says Gittins.”

Link to the rest at The Telegraph

Publish a large print edition on Createspace

24 March 2014

From AuthorCulture:

I contacted Createspace about publishing a large print edition book and here is what they said..

“You will be required to set up your title as you would any other using the large font size (i.e. at least 16 pt font).

Under the ‘Description’ of the Distribution section you will need to indicate that this is a large print book. Once this box is ticked, your title will be listed as ‘Large Print’ on the Amazon detail page.

Furthermore, you will need to set up your book as a new title with a new ISBN. In addition, your large print title will be linked with the paperback and Kindle version if they offer the same content.”
. . . .

All you need to do is change the size of your font, check the formatting for any changes, and finally upload the changes as a new book.

Link to the rest at AuthorCulture and thanks to Eric for the tip.

Secrets publishers use

31 October 2013

8 cover design secrets publishers use to manipulate readers into buying books

From Derek Murphy at Creative INDIE

Indie publishers are slowly coming to realize the importance of an amazing book cover. Since many self-publishing authors are starting out on a very small budget however, homemade, DIY book covers are still a popular choice.

But be forewarned: although book cover designs come in a wide variety, publishers consistently use reliable, time-tested techniques and guidelines to catch your attention and make the sale. You want your cover to be different and unique, but you also want to tick all the right boxes (because they work).

The worst thing an author can do is consider their cover design like a blank canvas and add whatever they want, wherever they want.

So here are the tricks you need to know.

Read the rest, which is quite informative, here.

From Guest Blogger Randall

It pays to think outside the box

30 October 2013

 

An interview with Author and TPV regular Michael J. Sullivan

 

From Sarah at BookwormBlues

The other day I had a conversation on Twitter with Michael J. Sullivan regarding the unusual publishing of his upcoming book Hollow World. I thought it was rather fascinating, and I was incredibly interested to learn more about what he’s doing and why. I also figured that if I am interested, someone else probably is, too. I asked him if he’d like to write a guest post for my website to elaborate on the topic. I figured not having a 140 character limit would help express ideas and thoughts. I feel very lucky that he agreed.

Without further hubbub, dear world, get excited. Michael J. Sullivan is here for some education.

***

When it comes to publishing it pays to think outside the box

Yesterday I sent Sarah my soon to be released book Hollow World for review. Afterward we had a discussion via twitter about the unusual way it is being published (more on this in a moment). She thought it was interesting how the publishing industry is changing, and she thought others might be interested in learning a bit about what I’ve done and why. So here I am.

First, let’s start with a bit of background. I’ve been published in just about every way that exists. Having done all three paths, I know the pros and cons of each. While traditional publishers are great at print distribution, they don’t really offer any significant advantages for ebooks. In fact, there are a lot of problems with their system.

***

Most authors would jump at the chance to sign a five-figure offer for a single book, but because of all the things I said earlier, and because the Kickstarter proved to me the book had merit, I decided to turn it down…but it did get me thinking…why couldn’t I have my cake and eat it too?

What I really wanted was to keep the ebook, sell the print rights to one publisher, and sell the audio rights directly to an audio producers (so I would keep 100% of the royalties). The problem is that this is easier said than done. I knew of only four authors who had received “print-only deals” and they are all million copy sellers they are: Hugh Howey, Bella Andre, Coleen Hoover, and Brandon Sanderson.

***

By keeping my ebook rights (and receiving 100% of the audio royalties) I anticipate making significantly more money than if I had signed that five-figure contract I was originally offered. But it’s not just about money. Publishing Hollow World as I have will allow me to better serve my readers. Those who enjoy print will still find the books in their local bookstores and libraries. Plus, they can also receive free ebooks (regardless of where the print book was sold). For the ebook only crowd, they get DRM-free editions, a cheaper list price, and I’ll even provide ebooks in multiple formats so they can read the same book on their kindle and nook without having to buy it twice.

***

The moral of this story is take control and think outside the box. The old rules have been washed away and the slate is now clean. It’s time for authors to shape their careers in ways that makes the most sense for them, even if it isn’t something that hasn’t been done before.

See Micheals blog here.

From Guest Blogger Randall with thanks to Christian for the tip.

How Much Attention Should You Pay to Book Design? A Q&A With Joel Friedlander

29 April 2013

On Jane Friedman’s blog, Jane interviews book designer Joel Friedlander:

I’m a firm believer in the power of design. I think it affects purchasing not just in obvious ways, but also on a subconscious level. So it often frustrates me when independent authors do their own design work to keep costs low. But I also understand the need to limit financial risk. Let’s say we have to make a compromise. What do you think an author might be able to accomplish reasonably well on her own (that has least potential to adversely affect sales), and what’s the No. 1 thing an author should hire a designer for (because of its potential to increase sales)?

Great question, Jane. Lots of authors want to “own” the process of creating their books, want to have a say in the overall look and feel of the book. After all, what good is having these great bookmaking tools if we don’t use them?

For people who write fiction, memoir, or narrative nonfiction, this question is easier to answer. Creating book interiors for these books is not as demanding, and the result won’t rely quite as much on the typographic sophistication of the designer.

Outside the typographic part of the design, it’s critically important for authors to construct their books properly. There are conventions that are hundreds of years old in book design, and expectations readers bring to books that must be recognized and respected.

So outside what font she uses for the text of her novel, your author will want to make sure all the other details of bookmaking, like the treatment of other page elements like running heads, page numbers, display pages like chapter openings, and so on, are treated properly.

Clearly, the one area where your author should look for professional help is in cover design. This is a specialized type of graphic design that demands good type treatment, the proper font usage, and an understanding of how browsers interact with the words and pictorial content on most book covers.

Because your cover is so important in positioning your book and attracting interest, it really pays to hire a pro.

What are the most common mistakes you see authors make when they design their own book interiors?

Here are some of the mistakes I see most often in self-published books:

  • Not using full justification for their text, so that both the right and left margin square up and create a rectangle on the page
  • Not hyphenating the text, resulting in gaps and spaces on the page
  • Putting the odd-numbered pages on the left, when they should always be on the right
  • Leaving running heads on display pages like part or chapter openers
  • Margins that are either too small to allow the reader to easily hold the book, or that don’t take the printing and binding of the book into account
  • Publishing a book with no copyright page

Link to the rest at Jane Friedman and here’s a link to Joel’s blog, The Book Designer

Wholesalers—who they are and how they differ from distributors

28 April 2013

From Self-Publishing Resources:

Although the terms “wholesaler” and “distributor” are frequently used interchangeably . . .  there is a difference. Wholesalers have no sales reps; they simply fill your book orders and actually buy your book outright. Distributors work on a consignment basis, paying you for sales ninety days after they have been made.

Baker & Taylor is the country’s oldest and largest library wholesaler. B&T has over the last several years dramatically increased its sales to bookstores, as well. Corporate headquarters is located in Charlotte, North Carolina, and there are branches around the country as well as in in the UK. The wholesaler’s file system lists more than a million titles, CDs, and DVDs.

To get on its database, B&T requires a $125 fee to establish new vendors, and it aggressively courts small publishers.

. . . .

Just as KFC’s success attracted Boston Market and other contenders, there are more large book wholesalers. Headquartered outside of Nashville, Tennessee, Ingram is another huge wholesaler. Its forte is fast delivery of popular books to bookstores. As of BookExpo America 2001, however, Ingram announced it is no longer dealing directly with publishers of less than ten titles.

Link to the rest at Self-Publishing Resources

Trade versus Mass Market, oh the Humanity!

17 April 2013

From author Gail Carriger:

Talk to me about trade paperbacks: why do people prefer them over mass market paperbacks? Why do you?

First, let me quickly explain that in the US trade-sized paperback books, formerly called quality paperbacks (TR/TP/QP/QPB), are the ones that are slightly smaller than the hardcover (HC/CL) or roughly half-way between the UK’s B format and C formats. These days young adult books, for example, are often brought out in HC first and then TR. I can’t be precise with the measurements because it has come over all non-standard.

Mass markets are those little ones, also called pocket sized (MM/PB/PPB) which in the UK would be A format (although A is slightly larger than the US’s MM for metric reasons). In the US these are 6 3/4 by 4 1/8 inches.

. . . .

[R]ecently rumor has it the market is shifting in preference (in the US) from MM to TR. This may have to do with publishers, or it may have to do with self publishing, or it may be that the MM readers are moving to ebooks.

. . . .

Trade paperback books (or B format) …

    • are less awkward to hold one-handed
    • sometimes (not always) have larger print and are easier to read
    • will stay open better
    • have lighter paper with a nicer feeling texture
    • don’t smell funny
    • have a nicer weight and size
    • are perceived as higher quality
    • have spines that don’t crack as easily
    • better capable of handling thicker books comfortably (although one reader said the thicker the better in MM)
    • have cleaner lines
    • are more elegant
    • hold up better after multiple reads
    • fit better in larger hands
    • are comfortable to read, yet still feel special
    • look better and more book-like on the shelf
    • have bigger/nicer art work on the cover

Link to the rest at Gail Carriger and thanks to Lynn for the tip.

Offset Printing for Self-Publishers

22 March 2013

From book designer Joel Friedlander:

While print on demand usually produces one book at a time, offset printing can produce thousands of books in a single print run. Depending on the number of books created, the cost per book is usually cheaper using offset printing. In most cases, offset printing produces a higher quality book (especially with color photos), and there are more options available for paper choices, trim sizes, and cover finishing.

. . . .

At the end of the day, offset printing sounds like a win-win: cheaper unit costs, higher quality, and more options. So why don’t more indie authors start out with offset printing? The simple answer is in order to take advantage of offset printing you need to be prepared to invest in a short print run order of your book. Many offset printers require a minimum order, which means you as the author could spend more than $2,000 printing hundreds of copies of your book before you start selling them. Print on demand allows authors to print books as they’re sold. Offset printing requires you pay for the print costs up front, and sell books out of a fulfillment warehouse, or your garage.

. . . .

Don’t print your book at a local commercial printer. Use a book printer, not a local commercial printer. Although your local printer may tell you they know how to print books, you’re going to get a better-quality book at a lower price from one of the excellent short-run book manufacturers in the U.S.

Link to the rest at The Book Designer

Top 10 Tips For Self-Publishing Print Books On Createspace

14 March 2013

From The Creative Penn:

There are a number of services you can use to publish your book – they all have different attractions and merits— but I’ve been using CreateSpace’s publishing tools a lot lately, both for myself and for authors I’ve been helping.

. . . .

(3) Pick a category

You will need to pick a category for your book to help people find it. Known as a BISAC or Book Industry Standards and Communications category, they’re used by the book-selling industry to help identify and group books by their subject matter. Picking this can have a strategic advantage, too, as some categories are over-saturated and it’s difficult to get books into the top 100, much less the top 10 (if that’s your goal, of course!).

If you’ve written a historical thriller romance, then putting it under “Romance/Historical” is likely to give you a better result than lumping it in with all the millions in “Thrillers” that are already out there. And “Thrillers” doesn’t have sub-categories like “Romance”, so this is probably a better fit. You may need to play around with it a bit to find the best category for your book.

. . . .

(7) Formatting needs to be within their guidelines

The next issue is formatting: this is critical to making your book look its best. And a word of warning, too, that a badly formatted book will turn people off as quickly as a badly edited one.

I could devote a whole article to formatting, but I’ll save that for another post. Any formatting issues will be flagged up once you’ve submitted your book for review, but the more you can anticipate these, the smoother the approval process will be. The three main things to remember are:

-       Don’t put any page elements outside the guides for content; whether page numbers or other header or footer info, it all needs to be within the content area.

-       Use print resolution images. If you don’t, the results can be blurry or worse, badly pixilated.

-       Check pagination before you submit anything – one missed page and your whole book needs redoing.

Link to the rest at The Creative Penn

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