It is not vain to pay for elements of book publishing, its sensible. (see part 2) After all painting your bedroom might be easy, but it is so much easier to pay someone else. Just work out what you can afford and where your skills are weakest. If nothing else just accept your first book won’t be as good as it might if you paid a pro. but you got to learn somewhere. So how much should you pay, and for what?
Examples of how you can decide.
- In the past it could cost £3000 to get the services of an editor, designer for the book cover, ISBN number and pay for 1000 books to be printed and listed. (see Bungalow Lil’s book “What Ever Next” for a good example from 2007, printed by Athena. We never recouped the money.) BUT with modern printing the costs have fallen dramatically and if you pay this type of money nowadays you will be ripped off.
- Most companies who offer an author focused service get your book in to hard copy and/or on line. That is all they offer. All risks are yours. You should be able to find a small publisher to do it all for you for less than £1000, and have 150 copies, with more available through print on demand. They should provide a proper copy edit, a book cover design, the choice of paper and size of print and book, an ISBN number and register the title on book lists and provide a number of physical copies. Some have their own Amazon store, others just upload your book as POD for the main Amazon shop. I have seen prices quoted at £750 for most of the above with only 5 physical copies for the author. May be up to £1000 or a bit over depending how many paperbacks you want in your garage. Honest firms who don’t claim to do any marketing but can get you a quality book published, possibly as an ebook as well, without too much for you to do. But they don’t market.
- Just because you want to pay for publishing, you dont have to be ripped off. A decent publisher, advertising on line, should be up front about costs and tell you precisely what you are paying for. Take all claims for Marketing with a pinch of salt. WordPress blog is free, facebook is free, twitter is free. Uploading your book on to Amazon is not marketing! Do they own a book store on Amazon? Or a bookstore on your high street? How do they use Barnes and Nobel? Will they send out your book title to be included in the online Waterstones catalogue? This is not a marketing strategy. Dont get confused by the huge changes in the past 5 years. Old publishing houses have their agent led authors, with whom they share the risk and market with enthusiasm. And the vanity/self publishers whose books they produce but they dont market and wont. Dont get confused by what you think they are offering just because they are traditional. And dont use any one with out checking the reviews of the company.
A good review of where to find author serviced publishers can be found on www.theindependentpublishingmagazine.com. Their publishing services index has reviews of many companies. They also talk about which firms have court cases against them from disappointed writers. Another good magazine for modern writers is the US based emag www.TheBookDesigner.Com
It is not Vanity. It is control. Pay for what services you need and get your book out there. Indie Author can become an Indie Publisher by buying in as much or as little help to get their book published. You decide what You want. The wonders of modern publishing.