21 November 2011

Going Independent - Self Publishing

By Helen Hollick & Richard Denning

I, personally, have taken my books in the UK to an "assisted publishing" house - a company that dies all the technical work of setting a book ready for publication. This, of course, costs money (which is why this form of publishing is called "self" publishing - the author pays to have the book made into a book. Some companies, though, "vet" the manuscripts they are sent and only accept those that are of a sufficient standard. Others will print anything you send them - warts and all.
If you wish to get them into bookstores, sell several thousand & become a well-known author, I would advise finding a good, reliable company who will assist you in this (Mick Rooney  http://mickrooney.blogspot.com/ has lots of advice - worth a visit)
However if you want books to sell when you go to do a talk, or at events etc, you may find that doing everything yourself is a good idea.

Fellow author,  Richard Denning is Self Published and runs his own publishing company - Mercia Books. This method, too costs money, but as you are doing all the work, it is far less than what a company would charge.
He has put together a rough idea of the cost you will be looking at:

Setting Up Costs
Purchase ISBN c £10
Setup cover £21
Setup Book Block £21
Keep ISBN on catalogue at Lightning Source £7 (per year)
Get into Ingrams catalogue £20 for UK and same for US = £40
Order Proof x 1 = £21
Setup costs = Cover+ editing= £120.
(If additional revisions of interior or cover needed then there would be additional £21’s per revision per file)

Using Richard's The Amber Treasure as example 140mm x 216mm
Print costs =   70p
Plus 1p per page.
The Amber Treasure is 368 pages all in. That would cost £4.38 PER book to print. (This is reduced if one buy in bulk).
Now LS will distribute for you to Amazon and Amazon UK.
The book will appear as existing in other catalogues BUT of course they may not have them in stock.
So for Example without me doing anything  TG is listed on the Book Depository and Amazon.
Having it IN stock is not so easy but can be achieved.

Now you would generally have to give trade a 50% discount (so all orders would be 50% off RRP)
Thus you would need to set RRP at
X-50% = Print cost +Profit

So let’s say you set RRP at £9.99

Trade would want 50% off that. . That leave £5.00
Deduct £4.38 print costs leaves 62p per book.

You can reduce the print costs if you do Offset traditional printing but my problem is that UNLESS we are willing to print 2000 copies  and arrange storage (in which case costs come down to say £2.50 per book) then Print on demand costs are pricey.

Selling on the Mercia Books store I would suggest selling the book at say £7.99 to include P+P and Paypal charges.
Postage and paypal costs about £1.60. Print £4.38

Richard Denning
Author of Young Adult Sci Fi and Historical Fiction:
Game Designer:
Director UK Games Expo:

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