It’s Not Too Early to Start Self-Publishing

If you are like many writers, you started 2014 with a list of writing goals: publish a book, write X number of words per day, pick a publisher, etc. Well, June is here, and that means the year is already halfway over. Whether you have been sticking to those writing goals or found them pushed to the bottom of your to-do list, it’s not too late to check them off your list, and even if you haven’t finished your manuscript, it’s not too early to start the self-publishing process. It may be just the motivation you need.

Think about dieting. You write down your goal to lose a certain amount of weight; months later you realize life got in the way and while you’ve made progress, your motivation is weaning and you’re stuck in a diet rut. June has arrived, and you really want to get ready for bathing suit season. How do you motivate yourself? One proven option is buying a swimsuit (or other outfit) in the size you hope to be. The purchase will motivate you to push yourself because you really want to wear what you just bought.

The same scenario works in writing. You’re lacking the motivation to finish your manuscript. You’re stuck in a writing rut. You realize you’re already halfway through the year, and you still have work to do if you want to publish in 2014. What can you do? You can start researching self-publishing companies and choose a publisher. Working with a self-publisher will give you the motivational boost you need to get your book done. You’ll get excited about seeing your book in print and want to finish your project. Plus, most self-publishing companies offer excellent support teams who can help you through each stage of the self-publishing process.

It’s not too early to start self-publishing!

I’d love to know, when do you plan on starting the self-publishing process?

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

Cheaper isn’t Always Better, Self-Publishing Authors

When choosing a self-publishing company, remember the adage, “Cheaper isn’t always better” and ask yourself these two questions:

1. What are the upfront costs, the per book cost and royalties?

You may find a company that has incredibly low per book author costs, but don’t let that govern your decision.  Just because a company promotes a low per book cost doesn’t mean they are the best bargain — they may have high upfront costs and low royalties.  And just because a company offers low upfront costs doesn’t mean they are the best bargain — they may have high per book costs, low royalties and even requirements for you to purchase hundreds of books yourself.  You must find a good balance of upfront costs, per book cost and royalties.  Consider all of this when self-publishing.

2. What services are available?

The cliché “you get what you pay for” is often true when it comes to self-publishing. Not all self-publishing companies are created equal, and you need to consider your professional goals and needs when choosing a company. A cheaper company often does not offer all the services and support needed to create a quality book, and if you want to be respected as an author and sell books, you need to offer your readers a quality product.

Ultimately, the self-publishing company you choose depends on your goals and needs as an author. Some people can go with the cheapest option and be completely satisfied, but many serious authors find that spending a little more is worth the extra expense.  You want to find a company that will produce a top-quality product, offer you plenty of options such as professional editing,  custom covers, and marketing and promotion services.  As you research self-publishing companies, be sure to consider all the costs as well as the value of the services offered. You may just find that “cheaper isn’t always better.”

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

Help! There are so many self-publishing companies!

So you’ve decided to self-publish, congratulations! Now it’s time to pick a self-publishing company. As you’ve probably already realized, this can be a stressful task since comparing self-publishing companies is like comparing apples to oranges. At first glance, you might think it is simple to compare packages from different companies, but once you dig deeper, you’ll realize that each company’s packages feature different services.

When researching and comparing self-publishing companies, be sure to ask yourself these questions:

1) What services do you want and need?

Before you start researching companies, make a list of the services you want and need. Reference this list when you are comparing packages as some packages may include services you don’t need, and thus don’t want to pay for, or may not include the services you want. This will help you narrow down your options.

2) Consider add-on options.

In addition to publishing packages, self-publishing companies offer add-on services, such as custom cover design or editing. In some cases, it is more cost effective to purchase a cheaper package and add-on options than purchasing a more expensive package.

3) Get a true comparison.

To get a true comparison, you need to determine the per author cost for books after publication and the per book royalty you will earn . (See an example here.) You may find it is better to spend a little more upfront to reap the benefits of higher royalties on the back end. Remember, cheaper isn’t always better.

4) Think about your after publication needs.

The work doesn’t end once your book is printed. To be successful, you will need to market and promote your book. Self-publishing companies offer a variety of marketing options, so be sure to consider the after publication services when choosing a self-publishing company.

5) What are the upfront costs, the per book cost and royalties?

You may find a company that has incredibly low per book author costs, but don’t let that govern your decision.  Just because a company promotes a low per book cost doesn’t mean they are the best bargain — they may have high upfront costs and low royalties.  And just because a company offers low upfront costs doesn’t mean they are the best bargain — they may have high per book costs, low royalties and even require you to purchase hundreds of books yourself.  You must find a good balance of upfront costs, per book cost and royalties.

Ultimately, the self-publishing company you choose depends on your goals and needs as an author. Some people can go with the cheapest option and be completely satisfied, but many serious authors find that spending a little more is worth the extra expense.  You want to find a company that will produce a top-quality product, offer you plenty of options such as professional editing and custom covers, and a variety of options for marketing and promoting your book.  As you research self publishing companies, be sure to consider all the costs as well as the value of the services offered. You may just find that “cheaper isn’t always better.”

Choosing a self-publishing company is like any important decision in life; you can analyze and analyze and analyze, but eventually you have to make a decision, and sometimes that decision is based on something other than logic. Trust your instincts.

If this seems a little overwhelming, don’t worry. Self-publishing companies have great teams of professionals to help you pick the best options for you.

 

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

How to Compare Self-Publishing Companies

So you’ve decided to self-publish, congratulations! Now it’s time to pick a self-publishing company. As you’ve probably already realized, this can be a stressful task since comparing self-publishing companies is like comparing apples to oranges. At first glance, you might think it is simple to compare packages from different companies, but once you dig deeper, you’ll realize that each company’s packages feature different services.

When choosing a self-publishing company and package, you should consider the following:

1) What services do you want and need?

Before you start researching companies, make a list of the services you want and need. Reference this list when you are comparing packages as some packages may include services you don’t need, and thus don’t want to pay for, or may not include the services you want. This will help you narrow down your options.

2) Consider add-on options.

In addition to publishing packages, self-publishing companies offer add-on services, such as custom cover design or editing. In some cases, it is more cost effective to purchase a cheaper package and add-on options than purchasing a more expensive package.

3) Get a true comparison.

To get a true comparison, you need to determine the per author cost for books after publication and the per book royalty you will earn . (See an example here.) You may find it is better to spend a little more upfront to reap the benefits of higher royalties on the back end.

4) Think about your after publication needs.

The work doesn’t end once your book is printed. To be successful, you will need to market and promote your book. Self-publishing companies offer a variety of marketing options, so be sure to consider the after publication services when choosing a self-publishing company.

If this seems a little overwhelming, don’t worry. Self-publishing companies have great teams of professionals to help you pick the best options for you.

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

Comparison: Outskirts Press Diamond Publishing Package vs Createspace Standard Publishing Package

A follower asked if I would compare the Diamond publishing package offered by Outskirts Press with Createspace’s option. He didn’t specify which package he was interested in at Createspace, so I decided to compare the package with a similar price point — the Standard.

I do not envy the author shopping the self-publishing market as it is impossible to do apples-to-apples comparisons since no two packages are going to offer exactly the same features and services. As a professional in the industry, it’s easier for me to cut through the fluff, charts and graphs and distill it down for an author. That’s just what I’ve done here, but remember, offerings change sometimes, so this comparison is current as of the date I did my researcher (November 20th, 2013), and it is limited to information I could obtain on the website of the two companies.

Outskirts Press Diamond Publishing Package
$999
CreateSpace Standard Publishing Package
$948
P
R
O
D
U
C
T
I
O
N
Paperback Format
Customizable Cover (1 stock image)
Professional Interior Formatting
Interior images 10 for $49 10 Free
Interior Charts, Tables, Graphs 10 for $49 $25 each
Author Copies (Paperback) 10 Copies 0? Not listed on package page
Free Standard eBook Format
M
A
R
K
E
T
I
N
G
Standard Press Release No mention of these items on the Standard package page or comparison chart
Author Webpage
Streaming Audio
Marketing COACH Emails (2 years)

In the above comparison of just the package basics, there are many similarities and really only two differences that stand out:

  1. The Diamond package includes a few marketing options and nothing similar is shown to come with the Standard package.
  2. The Standard package includes the insertion of 10 interior images, while this service costs extra with the Diamond package. If you don’t have any interior images, this won’t matter to you. But, if you have interior elements that are charts, graphs or tables, these are included in the “10 for $49” fee with the Diamond while you may pay $25 for each chart/graph/table with the Standard.

In addition to looking at the upfront cost and package inclusions, it’s important to look at royalties. It’s also imperative that you use the same parameters in determining this pricing information. For my research, I used a 6″ x 9″ paperback, black and white interior with 100 pages and a retail price of $9.95. Here are the results:

The CreateSpace site indicates they will deduct a sales channel %, a fixed charge and a per page charge. The result is the author’s royalty.

  • If you want Amazon only distribution, then the sales channel % is 40 ($3.98).
  • If you want expanded distribution, then the sales channel % is 60 ($5.97).
  • For our parameters, the fixed charge is $2.15 per book.
  • The per page charge for less than 108 pages is $0.
  • Therefore, $9.95 retail less $3.98 sales channel, less $2.15 fixed charge nets a royalty of $3.82 if you want Amazon only distribution.
  • Or, $9.95 retail less $5.97 sales channel, less $2.15 fixed charge nets a royalty of $1.83 if you want distribution beyond Amazon.

Outskirts Press has an easy to use and easy to find pricing calculator on their website. They will deduct the trade discount and a base price. The result is the author’s royalty.

  • The trade discount is 25% ($2.49) for online distribution (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million and more).
  • For our parameters, the base price is $4.52.
  • Therefore, $9.95 retail less $2.49 trade discount, less $4.52 base price nets a royalty of $2.94 – regardless of where the book is sold online.

After comparing the two self-publishing services side-by-side, the winner looks to be Outskirts Press. You’ll pay $51 more upfront, but if you want distribution beyond just Amazon, you’ll reap the long-term benefits with the higher royalties from Outskirts Press.

See all the benefits and features of the Diamond publishing package here.

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

Top Four Reasons to Self-Publish: Part 4 – Rights

Last month, I did a series on the most popular questions self-publishing authors ask. The posts were such a hit, I’ve decided to do another series this month. Each week in August, I will discuss one of the top four reasons why you should self-publish your book.

This week, I’ll discuss book rights. (In case you missed the last three reasons, be sure to go back and view those posts: Control, Money, and Trade and Distribution.)

As a self-publishing author, you maintain all rights to your book. This gives authors the freedom to sell or keep the rights as they see fit. However, it is important to note that self-published books will be considered “previously published” if the author later chooses to sell the book to a traditional publisher.

Owning book rights such as translation rights and film rights can have a significant impact on an author’s profitability.

Authors who use traditional publishing firms often give up most of the book rights but are usually entitled to a small percentage of the profit if the firm sells the rights to someone else. Self-publishing authors have the opportunity to choose if and how to sell their book rights to ensure they are getting the best deal possible.

I’d love to know, how has owning the rights to your book influenced your publishing decisions?

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

Top Four Reasons to Self-Publish: Part 3 – Trade Discounts and Distribution

Last month, I did a series on the most popular questions self-publishing authors ask. The posts were such a hit, I’ve decided to do another series this month. Each week in August, I will discuss one of the top four reasons why you should self-publish your book.

This week, I’ll discuss trade discounts and distribution. Unlike traditional publishing, self-publishing allows authors to choose the type of distribution that is appropriate for their material and marketing goals.

When thinking about distribution, it is important for authors to understand how the process works. For starters, “trade discount” is an industry term for profit margin. This rate impacts who buys and sells your books as well as the profits you will make off of your book.

For instance, shelf space in a brick and mortar chain bookstore has very specific requirements: the books must have a very high trade discount (50% to 55%). Therefore, if you buy a book at one of these bookstores  for $14.95, 55% of the retail price ($8.22) is divided between the store and the wholesale distributor for their profit. When you subtract the $8.22 from the $14.95, you are left with $6.73. This remainder covers the cost of the actual book. The balance that is left after the price of the book is the author royalty. Typically, authors receive very low royalties in these scenarios.

In addition to needing a high trade discount, authors also need to provide the bookstore with a “Retail Returns Program.” This program allows the bookstores to return books to the wholesaler and get their money back if the books do not sell. You must provide this program to the retailers, but having it is no guarantee that they will agree to stock your book.

Conversely, authors that elect to focus on internet sales may select a much lower trade discount as the internet book sites do not require as large of a profit margin. So that same $14.95 retail priced book under a 25% trade discount would look like this mathematically: $14.95 – $3.74 (25% of the retail price) = $11.21 – the actual cost of your book = your royalty. Obviously, $11.21 is a larger number than $6.73. Therefore, your royalty will be greater if sold by an online distributor, assuming the cost of your book remains the same in each equation.

Freedom to choose your trade discount and distribution center is just one of the many perks of self-publishing. To learn more about trade discounts, check out Cheri’s post titled Trade Discounts 101. It provides a great overview of industry standards and questions to ask yourself before setting your discount.

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.