Cost of Self-Publishing

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Threddy, Feb 17, 2007.

  1.  
    Threddy

    Threddy New Member

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    Does anybody know the cost of self-publishing books (on websites such as iuniverse.com)? Obviously it depends on th size of the book and how many copies you want, but I don't know much else.
  2.  
    Frontierzone

    Frontierzone Author, poet, playwright.

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    Try lulu.com
  3.  
    Threddy

    Threddy New Member

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    Thank You
  4.  
    The_Warrior

    The_Warrior New Member

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    yeah, I've herd of that place. Is it any good?
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    dustinzgirl

    dustinzgirl Mod of Awesome

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    Lots of writers here have used lulu.

    If it costs up front don't do it. It is usally a scam.
  6.  
    StevenSavile

    StevenSavile New Member

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    The problem with lulu is that the base cost doesn't ever decrease to a reasonable amount that will give you a chance to offer it for sale at standard retail and wholesale discounts which means essentially you're down to hand selling.

    If you are thinking of doing a run even as low as 100 books and are locked in on the idea of PoD publishing, look into company like LSI, who offer much better rates as numbers increase.

    That said, Lulu get you because they do not charge you a set up fee for the print ready files - instead they gouge you per copy charging 8 bucks a book whereas LSI will charge you 70 bucks to set the paperback up and 2.25 a book meaning it works out at 5.75 bucks per book cheaper, 20 books sold and you have eaten the costs of set up and every new book sold is earning. Equally, LSI is coupled with Ingram wholesalers, which means your book will be listed on Amazon and other online sellers free - Lulu charge handsomely for this service as well.

    Generally Lulu books are of a decent quality but they suffer page curl quite easily, whereas LSI who have now printed over 30,000,000 books (I believe) have very much gotten their act together and produce a quality product.

    (LSI is LIGHTNING SOURCE INTERNATIONAL if you don't know the acronym).

    Now if you are planning on any kind of scale, you really want to be looking at offset, which gives you a chance of really low unit costs, but then, 2000 copies take some storing, and more importantly, some selling. But if so, I'd recommend Publisher's Graphics in the US.
    Hope that helps a little.
  7.  
    jconrad

    jconrad New Member

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    The upfront cost of self-publishing varies depending on the package you elect, but expect that this will only be the beginning. Most print on demand (POD) publishers make their money from the author, which is why you can expect to be accosted by a host of post-publication marketing schemes they tell you are designed to get your book into the hands of an eagerly awaiting public but which are really designed to part you from your hard-earned money.

    Most bookstores don’t carry self-published titles and most reputable review sources won’t review them because of the notoriously poor quality of the writing. Most self-published titles sell fewer than 100 copies, most to family and friends, and it’s rare that a self-published author will transition to a traditional publisher unless their work is very, very good.

    If you only want a coffee table book and are satisfied with selling only a few copies, then POD may be what you seek. But if your work is good, then I recommend perseverance and persistence in getting an agent or a traditional publisher. You’ve already spent several hundred hours writing your novel, you deserve to be paid for your work, if it’s good, so why settle for paying someone else just to see your work in print?

    My two cents.
  8.  
    Anthony G Williams

    Anthony G Williams Greybeard

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    I have experience with only one self-publishing firm, but the experience has been entirely favourable. This is Authors OnLine, which is UK-based but deals with international authors (books are printed by LSI, in either the USA or the UK depending on where the orders are placed). They offer a menu approach, so you choose what you want to pay for, and are honest, efficient, and don't hassle you.

    I have written an account of my experiences and views on the subject of publishing fiction here: ON PUBLISHING FICTION
  9.  
    lin robinson

    lin robinson Science fiction fantasy

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    These discussions of self-publishing tend to ignore a major alternative to the lulu.com type outfits...which is to really, actually publish your own book. By which I mean you write it, design it, make it ready, pay a printer to print it, then market it and sell it.

    There are two disadvantages of doing this, compared to the POD route. The main one is that you have to spring for a large print run in order to bring your price per copy down. So instead of paying a few hundred to lulu as set up, then paying them their (really high) price per copy as demand warrants, you end up shelling out a few thousand dollars up front, taking delivery of a huge bundle of books, then have to figure out how to get rid of them without losing your shorts.

    The other disadvantage is minor: you don't get their promotional website support, online store, etc. And you have to get an ISBN if you want into bookstores and amazon.com, etc.

    Taking the first objection first, there are ways to creep around it. One of my self-published books was a dictionary of specialized slang. I ran the pages off on photocopy machines, had single color covers printed on colored card stock, bound them and saddle-stitched (stapled) them myself. COst was 50 cents a copy (nowadays they would cost around a dollar). But the important thing was...no minimum. I established the popularity of the book, then went to longer runs.

    When I set up my eBay store, I went to a small job printer/copier shop and got 2000 copies for around $750. (I made a profit on the shipping/handling costs alone)

    Let me point out that the nature of the book was consistent with this format: try to imagine somebody creating the first Klinon dictionary/Star Trek lexicon and selling it at cons. Nobody cares about perfect binding or hologram cover art...they want the information.

    Much non-fiction informational books are the same way. Novels are to big to saddle stitch, but if they fall into the right niches, people will buy them for the read, not the frills. Especially since they are priced between five and ten dollars.

    Most writers magazines (and certainly google) list big job printers who will price runs of books. If a book has proven it's sales potential and you have a few thousand dollars to invest you can present a fairly professional package at a reasonable price.

    As far as the second matter goes, it is now possible to buy individual ISBN's over the internet. Ta da!!! And there has never been a time when mass marketing is so easy and accesible. With an eBay store and a PayPal account you are in business. Set up a web site or page to sel the book, link the Buy Now Or I'll Kill You button to your eBay store and you're ready to sell. And you will be netting over 95 percent of the cover price, not the pittance you get from POD or the 12-15 % royalty from standard publishers. You travel the web posting links to your website and extolling your book. You swap links with pertinent sites. You learn internet promotion kung fu.

    And you go around and make bookstore owners miserable. And sell at cons and swapmeets and in the metro.

    If it works, you consider pulishing other writers as well and some day you might BE a traditional publisher and get pestered by unwashed writers swarming your for publication like urchins out of Dickens.

    Let me hasten to say again: this is an alternative method and neither for every writer not for every book.

    But it's a tool that has worked well for many writers and it's good to think about.
  10.  
    Anthony G Williams

    Anthony G Williams Greybeard

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    That's certainly feasible, but sounds like a lot more bother. And I strongly suspect, from my actual and vicarious experiences, that it works far better with easily-definable niche markets than it would with a general SF novel, say. In other words, either with a specialised non-fiction book (I have quite a few examples of self-published NF books, nearly all of them with terrific content, even though the presentation various considerably), or with a narrow niche fiction market which you can reach via the web.

    This again depends on the nature of the book. For a specialist non-fiction or even (in some cases) niche fiction, discussion forums will be interested to hear about your new book and this can be a productive way of marketing it. If you try this tactic with a mainstream SF novel on a forum like this, you're liable to get hammered for spamming.
  11.  
    lin robinson

    lin robinson Science fiction fantasy

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    I agree. But I would say that not all forums are like this one. Many are set up to expose member's work. Then there all the MSN and Yahoo groups, etc. I didn't post this to get into details on e-promo, though I've learned a lot about it.

    Also, when you say narrow niche fiction market which you can reach via the web. you are limiting the field. There are lots of niche markets that can be reached in other ways. I mentioned Star Trek cons. The Society for Creative Anachronism has been a vast market for several I know. A work of strong local or regional slant can be marketed to, as an example, visitors to a historic site that might be interested in a novel set there. There are also niche distributors: I know a writer who sold out three editions of a book of humorous stories set in Baja California through distributors who supply books to that area. Also, there are magazines.

    But as I say, my main point here is less promotion than the idea that you can do the whole thing yourself if you really want to.
  12.  
    lin robinson

    lin robinson Science fiction fantasy

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    Whoa, it took a minute to hit me. I'm new on this site so pardon my ignorance, but are you saying that if a member her publishes a book and mentions it people will give them a hard time?
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    Anthony G Williams

    Anthony G Williams Greybeard

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    No doubt the moderators will comment on this, but I work on the assumption that blatant self-promotion is frowned upon (unless the moderators specifically say otherwise), because it is on almost every SF discussion forum I know. It's usually the fastest way to make yourself unpopular.
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    Ian Whates

    Ian Whates Author and Editor

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    Other, more experienced Moderators will be able to shed more light on this (I'm still new to the game :)) but my experience is that whilst 'Chronicles' is essentially here to provide a discussion forum for all matters relating to speculative fiction (and beyond) rather than a sales platform, it is recognised that many of the people involved will be creative and have an interest in promoting their work.

    What is frowned upon is an individual whose sole contribution to the community is to try and promote or sell themselves and their product. However, no one objects to established members announcing to everyone else that they have something new out. There is even a 'Press release' sectiom designed specifically for this.

    So we're not necessarily the dogmatic demons you might think... honest. :rolleyes:
  15.  
    lin robinson

    lin robinson Science fiction fantasy

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    Ah, that sounds like the typical attitude I've seen and makes perfect sense.

    Can I use Dogmatic Demons as a name for my new band?
  16.  
    dustinzgirl

    dustinzgirl Mod of Awesome

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    Not at all. We have a introductions, publishing, workshop, critiques section for people to show off thier works.

    What is annoying is spamming or joining without making a contribution other than to self promote, or self promoting in all of your posts, or being arrogant and saying "gee thats a good story but mine at such site is sooo much better"

    What is especially irksome, and yes there have been people who do this, is posting a story in critiques or wherever that is a 'mask' for self promotion.....like blah blah story and you can read all my stories at blah site and I made this game at blah site....

    We are not against self promotion, we just want it done with tact. If the first and only post is self promotion that offers nothing in return it will likely be removed with a warning.

    On the other hand, you for example have been in several discussions and therefore if you posted something about a book you wrote or where you have been published I don't think we would consider it spamming self promotion.
  17.  
    Ian Whates

    Ian Whates Author and Editor

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    Only If I get an invite to the first gig! :):D
  18.  
    DMatusik

    DMatusik Trytium Publishing

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    Lulu.com and others are often simply referred to as POD or vanity publishing. Several small independent publishers are using that same technology to lower the risk associated with new/unknown authors. Be sure to check them out before self-publishing. Why pay out-of-pocket when you don't have to?
  19.  
    lin robinson

    lin robinson Science fiction fantasy

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    It is a mistake to confuse the terms POD (which is a printing technology) and "vanity publishing" (which is basically an assumption about he attitude and goals of the author).

    This sort of careless categorization does not make it easier for people to sort these options out. Many "vanity" publishers issue printed books. Many publishers who primarily work with POD are like any other publisher except for the way the books are created. Some publishers use both, as well as other methods like e-books or pdf downloads.

    Please be careful about confusing the terms being discussed.

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