Once you’ve decided to set up your own publishing imprint, if it’s as small as my own (one person), you’ll definitely want to use print-on-demand publishing. I’m assuming you want to publish in print, as well as other formats. Once upon a time, those other formats you rely on now were considered too incidental to worry about, which just goes to show you how things changed awfully fast for people
entrenched closely involved in traditional publishing.
However, with great
or not-so-great power comes responsibility. And, as a publisher, you need to take that responsibility seriously.
You are the gatekeeper of your own works. You decide what goes out there and how it gets there.
This is why I’ve chosen to create print books through IngramSpark (a division of Lightning Source), which lets you upload your own files, interior (content) and exterior (cover).
However, Ingram Spark is no longer your only non-Amazon platform for creating print books.
Not only Draft2Digital, but Barnes & Noble now offers print self-publishing services. Click the links to learn more.
Setting your book’s price
If you’re self-publishing under your own trade name, you’re entirely responsible for setting your book’s suggested retail price. This involves more than just looking at what other authors are charging for their books and setting your price somewhere in the same neighborhood. First, you need to know how much it costs to produce a copy of the book. (IngramSpark provides a formula for determining this.)
Once you’ve determined your production cost per book, consider the market price for books similar to yours, then factor in a wholesale discount of 55 – 60%. The difference between the discounted price and the cost of the book is your profit per sale. Therefore, make sure the discounted price ends up being higher than the production cost of one copy of your book.
Or to put in terms of an equation: Wholesale price (55 – 60% of suggested retail price) – Cost of producing book = author’s profit
Having set your price with the wholesale discount in mind, any profits from sales made through wholesalers such as IngramSpark will be paid entirely to you.
You can adjust the wholesale price as you wish, depending on how likely you are to have your books show up on bookstore shelves. My approach is to provide at least a 55% discount, but make my books non-returnable (more on this later).
If you use an author services company, they’ll provide a formula for determining the suggested retail price. Each author services company has a slightly different approach for doing this. However, you exercise the most control over the process by publishing under a trade name through a POD publisher like IngramSpark.
When it comes to creating a print cover, an author services company can create it for you for a fee or you can hire a freelancer who’ll create it. The latter is the cheaper option. The freelancer will have to know and follow the author service company’s specs.
When you self-publish under a trade name through IngramSpark, you create a cover template for the graphic artist. You need to know the page count of the PDF text file to be uploaded, the ISBN and suggested retail price before you do this, so these details can be incorporated into the cover.
PS: How cool is it that indie authors can set up their own print bookstores online and support indie bookstores, too? 🙂
PPS: Want to get your print books into bookstores and libraries? My thanks to Amy Collins for what looks like a heckuva good overview! 🙂 Albeit, an undated one.