May 11, 2012

The Home Stretch - Part 1

This is a multi-part series on the steps involved during the final stretch of publishing a book.

In this case, the novel was completed quite a while ago and I've been in the middle of revising and improving it. In recent months, it is coming together nicely and so I have had to consider exactly how I am going to publish it. With the state the publishing industry is in and the fact that publishers don't do much to market or sell a book for a first-time novelist, I decided to self-publish.

My first (non-fiction) book was published through That worked well because I did not expect to sell a ton of books and I wanted to learn the industry, so it was acceptable to do it all myself. For this book, I want it done professionally, so I purchased The Fine Print of Self-Publishing by Mark Levine and researched more "robust" self-publishers. I narrowed it down to two (Aventine Press and Wasteland Press). Then I did a comparison of the features and what it would really cost me. Since Wasteland provides 500 copies with their Ultimate package (and 25 review copies), I made the assumption with all three that I would need that many to sell directly.

The table below shows the results. What is fascinating about this is that Wasteland looks the worst to start with because of the high initial costs, but because they include 500 copies, that cost is easily (well, relatively easily) recovered.

Assuming I need the list of deliverables (in purple below), the total cost with Wasteland is half what it is with Lulu and below Aventine as well. This is because I would have to buy the 500 books from the other two at the "author" price.

Assuming I can sell the 500 books directly, the choice is pretty clear (though Aventine is a close second). The only downside I see is that the author price is a little high with them. So, if I ended up selling many more than 500 directly, it may end up better (financially) to be with Aventine.

Feature Aventine Wasteland Ult Lulu Free

Initial Cost  $(399)  $(3,400)  $-  
Direct Royalty ~$15  ~$14 ~$11
Indirect Royalty ($22/book) 2.40 2.97 2.50
Hardcover   $(295) $(250)  $-  
Cover Design  $(295) incl  $(500)
Interior Design Template  Template Template
Copy Editing  $(1,000)  $(1,000)  $(1,000)
Indexing 25 words  ?  ?
Initial Paperback Copies 2 500 0
Initial Hardcover Copies 0 0 0
Review Copies 0 25 0
Retail Price $22 range, assume 22 22.24
Author Price (paperback)  $6.35  $7.50 $11
Marketing n/a Press Release n/a

Cost given deliverables of:  $(5,324)  $(4,650)  $(7,275)
initial fee


cover design

professional copy editing

500 paperbacks

0 hardbound

25 review copies

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