Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Conversations in self-publishing for the serially challenged 5: crunching the numbers


 
The Bold Ship Phenomenal is safely out of my hands – in China being printed – so I thought I would look at the thorny question of costs.
When I decided to publish the story myself, one of my publishing ‘values’, as it were, was that the book had to be a top-class production. This was important to me, not only because I trained in publishing, but because this was my product: I had to stand by it for as long as it endured in the world, and I wanted to be proud of it.

I’ve done my best, and with the help of all the talented professionals who’ve played their part in getting the book to this stage, I think we’ve got a great result. But of course all this help costs, and what became clear very early on (in fact, before I even started, when I did my first rough budget) is that I was unlikely to ever make any money on it. Luckily that was never one of my aims.

I’ve listed the costs I’ve incurred below, so that anyone setting out on this route can see the type of expenses involved, and where they might be able to save on costs by finding a cheaper option or doing it themselves (something I haven’t been very good at).
The figures given are rough – both to protect my suppliers’ modesty, and to reflect the range of prices I was quoted for particular tasks (which on occasion, varied widely).

This list is not the end of the expenses, there is still warehousing, and promotion, and GST and other taxes, and bad debtors (assuming I make any sales) to contend with. But these are the bulk of the up-front costs, and I hope you’ll find them useful. Figures exclude GST.
·        Editing – $600

·        Proofreading – $250

·        Illustration – $1200

·        Design – $2000

·        Printing – $4000

·        Freight – $500 (very roughly, as this part of the process is still to come)         

→Total so far = $9400, which for 1500 books, means that $6.26 per book is production costs.
For a $20 book, where the bookseller takes 40% ($8), and the distributor 25% ($5), and the GST accounts for 15% ($3), you can see the quandary.

Except that it’s not a quandary, if you want to see your book in print. And looking purely at the dollar side of things overlooks the non-monetary gains, one of which has undoubtedly been the enormous help and support I have received from all the book professionals involved: worth every cent!