Tag Archives: independent publishing

The Cost of Independent Publishing

Independent publishing is substantially cheaper than its ever been.  With Amazon and other distributors offering to distribute your ebook for a small fee and print your print book on-demand with nearly zero up front costs, publishing your book on your own has never been easier.

However, to be taken seriously in the market and compete against other high quality traditionally and independently published works, it is still going to take an investment, like any other business.  Two must-have items you hear over and over again are quality editing of your manuscript and a professionally designed book cover.

Thanks to the explosion of independent publishing these two necessities can be outsourced to professionals willing to do the work.  But, that has a cost.

In very general terms, book covers can range between $300 – $800 depending on whether or not you want an ebook cover only or a print book cover as well.  It also depends on the designer, how good they are and how busy they are.

editingThe cost variance in book editing is even greater.  First, there are many different types of editing options (proofreading, copy editing, developmental editing, etc.).  Each of these involve different work efforts by the editor and therefore have varying prices.  That being said, for a standard novel (50k – 65k words – which are short novels BTW), it can cost anywhere between $500 – $3,000, depending on the editor.

Let’s take the middle ground of those two very broad ranges, meaning your book cover could cost about $550 and your editing $1750.  That’s a $2300 investment per book.

You sure better be ready to publish and then be VERY patient on getting a return on your investment.  Why?

At the current Amazon 70% return on each ebook sold over $2.99, if you offered your ebook for that price, you get about $2 per sale.  That means you have to sell 1150 books to break even.  For some people, that may not sound like a lot .  For others, that may sound impossible.

To put it into perspective, the average self-published book sells under 200 copies.  That leaves you $1900 in the red.  Granted, most of those self-published books have crappy editing, awful book covers and zero marketing effort.  The numbers are daunting, none-the-less.

Now, some people have contacts or talented friends that can help and you may be able to reduce the cost, but, whatever you decide, do NOT reduce the quality of the end result at the same time.  Writing is an art, but publishing is a business.  You need to go into it with your eyes wide open and with realistic expectations of cost and return-on-investment.

I will say this.  If I have to invest $2300 in my first novel, you can bet your ass I’ll be marketing the living crap out of it.  Otherwise, my Chief Financial Officer (i.e., the wife), won’t allow me near the credit cards again.

I haven’t decided on an editor or a book designer yet, but I’ll let you know when I do and how the process worked for me.

If you’ve had any experience with either editing or book design, please share your insights in the comments section. We’d all love to hear from someone whose been through it.

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Podcast 13 – Marketing and Finding Your Voice

Pete Bauer and Dorothea Bauer talk about the various marketing research and strategies they plan to employ with the release of their first book.  They’ll also talk about the process of finding the correct voice for a novel and how that impacted the other work.


Running Time: 32:27

  • Writing Systems
  • 10 A.M.
  • Don’t Waste Inspiration
  • Approaching from Plot vs. Character
  • Production Schedule
  • Marketing Phases
  • Marketing Strategy
  • How are your Customers Interacting with your Product
  • – Problem Recognition
    • Marketers are Problem Solvers
    • Customers Search for Problem Filler
    • Customers will Research
    • Customers will Try out Product
    • Customers will do their own Evaluation
    • Creating a campaign for each of your Market Segments
  • Bridging those who have Aged Out
  • Marketing Validation, Awareness & Growth
  • Marketing Research & Testing
  • Finding Your Voice
  • Novel Approach
  • Character Introduction
  • Purgatory

 

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Independent Publishing

It’s time to dump the term “self-publishing.”  Lets call it what it really is, independent publishing.

A decade ago, the only legitimate way to get your book to the masses was through the traditional publishing houses.  Sure, there were some print-on-demand options available, but the quality of those books suffered in comparison.  The marketplace also did not support or encourage print-on-demand as a valid, legitimate publishing option.  It was for people who couldn’t get a real publishing deal.

booksAmazon changed all that.

With the advent of the Kindle, the acquisition or CreateSpace and Audible, and the growth of the Amazon online store as the number one seller of books, Amazon has both cornered and exploded the market on publishing.

Their approach has been brilliant and free market at its core.  They provide book lovers three popular ways to digest the material, ebooks (Kindle), paperback (CreateSpace) or through audio books (Audible).

They allow anyone and everyone to upload their latest and greatest novel or non-fiction book.  They don’t screen for quality or marketing or value.  They let the free market do that.  They let authors control their pricing and allow authors to control their marketing.  They let them change the covers on demand or update the book to fix errors without issue.  They give the control to the artists, not intermediaries.  For providing this marketplace, Amazon takes 30% and authors are glad to give it and pocket the remaining 70%.

Like movies, where there are studio made films and independent films, publishing should be looked at the same way.  If your book is not published from one of the top traditional publishers (the studios), then it is independently published.  Readers aren’t going to care whether its small press, self financed or made on a shoe-string.  Readers are only going to care about the quality of the product, the same way film lovers care about film.

So, let’s finally bury the “self-publishing” term, one often used as an insult by traditional publishing supporters.

We’re independent publishers.  And we’re not going anywhere.

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