Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Where's The Money

Print on demand has enabled self publishing services to flourish and Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame now beckons all. There is nothing wrong with wanting to tell that story that is apparently lurking in each of us and although some may question the content, we can’t deny the huge desire of many to be published. However, as with all publishing there is the writing, the editorial development and production, sales and marketing and the task of selling the book.

Today, a good old favourite ‘The Oldie Review of Books’ literally fell into our hands and long may it do so. Having quickly scanned through the reviews, we got to the classifieds and were ‘hit’ by a full page advert for An interesting promotional company that offers; a professional created review, press release to 14,000 magazines and newspapers, your own author website consisting of 7 pages and that is yours forever, search engine optimization, your book guaranteed top position in book comparison sites, your book advertised in Google Adwords and Adsense, Your book on ten social sites (visible to 500 million people), postcards and display posters. They guaranteed 5,000 unique visitors to your web site and 3 months one to one advice.

All this for three payments of £132 totalling £396!

Well as usual we couldn’t resist a visit to a site that offers so much.

Their 'declaration' was :

‘You, the authors, are our number one priority and we don’t want to disappoint. Let’s be honest and realistic from the start. If your book is on sale in hundreds of retail shops, it doesn’t guarantee that it turns into a bestseller, or even that it will sell a single copy.PEOPLE MAKE UP THEIR OWN MINDS depending on many factors. We can’t guarantee any specific sale, but we can ensure that your book is introduced to loads and loads of people in the most effective way possible. However, when it comes down to it, the buying public makes the final decisions. We will create maximum publicity, awareness and promise to be realistic and honest at all times. THAT’S THE DEAL. ‘

Let’s step back and look at the math. As a self publisher the book will cost an author say £4 a unit. Therefore to recoup the book promotional costs the author must sell at least 100 copies at £8. Then there are the other charges that must be born in dispatch, commission costs or discount deals associated with Internet retail. Before you know it, the unit cost creeps upwards, or the volume to be sold has to rise.

Vanity publishing is often just that - vanity. Some vanity houses are good, some aren’t worth the effort, but irrespective the author pays. But beyond Vanity there are self-publishing, book-packaging and many do-it-yourself options all of which offer many gifted writers the chance to do it themselves. It may be a title whose rights have been reverted and in which the author still has faith. It may be a local book which can find a lcal market or a specialist book that again has a market.

However how do self publishers determine the sharks from the rest? Not unlike publishing itself it’s a gamble.

Interestingly we read last week’s Bookseller and found on page 41 the advert. The interesting point was that the price was not £396 but £496. Maybe they need a proof reader or inflation is really soring!!!

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