Thursday, August 11, 2011

Self Publishing: Part Three


How much would you spend to publish a book? $500? $2000? $50,000? Do you want your book in print or digital format? Or both? What about distribution and marketing? I’ve received an amazing number of responses from people who’ve recently taken the self-publishing route. Each story is different.

KEVIN EMERSON. Scholastic published five books in his Oliver Nocturne series but turned down book six. Emerson, a Seattle resident, decided to self-pub, using local talent in terms of cover art and printing costs. He went through the Amazon Advantage program and connected with distributor Baker and Taylor in order to distribute the book to libraries as well as bookstores. Here’s his cost breakdown:

Printer: $5.39 per book (250 in first order for $1348.00)
Cover art: $350.00
ISBN: $125.00
Barcode generation: $25.00
Total: $1848.00 or $7.39 per book.

Amazon and Baker and Taylor take 55%
Shipping costs between $.75 and $1.50 depending on time and quantity.
Book retails for $14.99=$6.75 profit after Amazon cut
All costs considered - $.60 royalty 
                          Kevin's website is:                                 

PENDRED NOYCE says, “I chose to self-publish my book Lost in Lexicon by creating a company and hiring a virtual team consisting of an editor, art director, artist, copy editor, designer, and social media PR experts. I spent a bundle and learned a huge amount. A major challenge is distribution. I went with Greenleaf, which accepts about ten percent of books that come to it for distribution.
The book sold well, won number of prizes, and has just been released by Scarletta Press, an indie publisher. Scarletta has also signed on for the remaining three books in the series. My goal was always to attract a "real" publisher by proving the book could succeed, so for me the time and expense was worthwhile. Otherwise, I think self-published books will continue to be good primarily for niche books with small markets or for famous writers whose markets are already established. It is very difficult to get high visibility and sales in a marketplace saturated with often low-priced, self-published, and frequently poorly edited books. I think I would be comfortable saying I took as my budget guide the amount Brunonia Barry spent for The Lace Reader which was $50,000 – a lot for an author but not as huge if you think of it as a career investment.”

Penny at

Penelope Van Buskirk says, “One of the greatest advantages to self-publishing is that you OWN THE RIGHTS. So you have the freedom to market, etc. any way you choose to do it. I just put my e-book on Amazon Kindle. It will be available in 48 hours. You can set the pricing, the countries where it can be sold and write your own blurb. The royalty rate is excellent, so hurray for self-publishing!”

Penelope’s website is:

Tom Thomas says, “Ultimately, you have to ask yourself why you write. If it's to make a big name and lots of money like a Rowling or King, then you'll do better robbing banks. The window for a bestseller is smaller than the eye of a needle. The trouble with physical book publishers in the last twenty years is that they've tried to publish only bestsellers and they just can't call down the lightning every time. In the process they've let the midlist market go. Midlisters write quirky, individual books with a narrow but loyal fan base. Midlisters don't sell 100,000 copies a year, more like a couple of hundred a month. But they still touch readers. The value I see in e-books is that authors with individual voices and niche ideas can once again find readers. If that means a lot of chaff with the wheat (and wheat being in the eye of the reader), then so be it.”

Visit Tom at:

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