Picking up from where we left off in Part Four.
I believe we were going to talk about ISBNs. Let’s also talk about pricing your books. Especially print books, which requires only the most basic math skills.
Let’s back up a moment and talk about ISBNs. If you decide to self-publish on your own, you’ll have to buy your own ISBNs. Every book has one and a different one is assigned for books in each format. This means print (hardcover and paperback), audio and ebooks each get a separate ISBN. In the U.S., ISBNs are assigned by R.R. Bowker. You can also get them in the U.S. at www.myidentifiers.com. Unless you think you’re going to be as prolific as Isaac Asimov or plan to write a 10-book series really soon, I’d start off buying a set of 10 ISBNs, to keep the costs down. However, you can buy them in sets of 100, if you’re ambitious and think you can use them. They’re cheaper in bulk.
ISBNs are currently not required on Amazon ebooks for Kindle. However, be advised that some distributors do require them on ebooks, which is another reason why you’ll want to purchase them in bulk if you plan to write more than one book. In any case, buying one ISBN simply isn’t cost-effective, so buy them in sets of 10 or 100.
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
You can set the wholesale discount lower if you wish. However, if you have any interest in having bookstores carry your work, you should set it for at least 55%, according to one bookseller I inquired with. Bookstores don’t survive on love alone. Neither do authors, for that matter.
Having set your price with the wholesale discount in mind, any profits from sales made through wholesalers such as Ingram (which owns IngramSpark) and Baker & Taylor will be paid entirely to you.
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.
Is there more? But, of course there is! 🙂
Next up, distribution!