Thursday, September 27, 2007
Self Publishing -- at what cost?
Today I read an article about a young girl in my town whose first book had just been published. Yeh! Whoo! Hoo! and all that. But wait just a minute, the article made it sound as if this young person, who is nineteen years old had done so well for herself. Well maybe she has, it depends which way you look at it.
I Googled the name of her book and the author name and found it was published by a company I hadn't heard of. So, I Googled that too and felt dismayed for the girl that she has parted with around £800.00 to see her book in print. It's a vanity press.
I've just taken a look at the contract at the website and for that price the author gets five free copies of their books! Excuse me while I cough a moment. I make that a cost of £160.00 per copy. Extortion if you ask me. Not only are the books that expensive, but if she wants it properly edited the contract says she has to pay the editor £35.00 per hour. All of this adds up to a tidy little sum for the company but not for the author.
I know her book will now get an isbn number and that it will be reproduced by print on demand but how many books would she need to sell to break even. Her book costs around the £8.00 mark [without postage and packing], so she needs to sell more than one hundred copies.
It makes me sad that people don't try the traditional publishing route. I don't mean they have to submit to a large publishing house because few new authors sell to those anyhow. Some smaller publishes will accept a book if it's any good and at no cost to the author.
I made the mistake of getting my first book published by a company that charged me a $90.00 set up fee [around £45.00] but even that amount seems small potatoes compared to the amount the young lady is being charged.
Before you think I'm anti self publishing, I'm not. I've published a couple of books via Lulu.com who don't charge the kind of fees that young lady's publisher charges.
I expect she'll live and learn as I did last year. Luckily, I've left the publisher in question and have got two superb new publishers who haven't charged me a penny to see my work in print.