One of my goals this year is to see at least one of my books in print, so I've been doing research on print-on-demand options for self-publishing.
Pretty early in my research I narrowed it down to three options based on price and packages: Xlibris, Outskirts and CreateSpace. Both Xlibris and Outskirts offer packages with features I was looking for - ISBN assignment, interior design, cover design with price-embedded barcode, and worldwide distribution - for $699. The Xlibris package also includes a set of promotional materials (bookmarks, posters, etc.), but I was leaning in the Outskirts direction because I have a client who used them and her book is beautiful, whereas I've never held an Xlibris book in my hand so I don't know what it's like.
CreateSpace, on the other hand, is free and they'll assign an ISBN, but I'd still have to hire someone to help me with the cover and interior design aspects. I was also leaning away from this option because the royalty calculator revealed that anything lower than a $9.99 list price would result in my actually losing money on sales through expanded distribution.
But then I looked into what the list price would need to be for Xlibris and Outskirts. I'd need to charge $15.99 at Xlibris to make $1 off of each book. It's a similar situation with Outskirts: I know someone who published a book less than 200 pages and sells it for $9.99 and she makes 50¢ royalties off each sale. Maybe $1 a book in royalties isn't so bad, but the point is that these are both paid services, so in order to recoup expenses I'd need to sell 700 print books, and I'm not at all confident I could do that. It seems to me, too, that the more expensive the book is, the less likely I am to sell it. Who wants to pay $15.99 for 250-page paperback from an indie author? Not I, unless it's like a collector's item or something.
CreateSpace is looking like the best POD option, but because I'll need to pay for interior and cover design, I still need to think about how much money I'm willing to invest in a print option given that I'm not at all certain to sell any print books. I do like that I could buy author copies of my book for about $5 each, including shipping and handling.
Another option for me, at least for the poetry books I'll be working on in the second half of the year, would be to use the IPRC or a printer like Minuteman Press to make copies and then sell them in person at readings. Still considering.
That's the news so far on my self-publishing in print research. Now for this week's...
"A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life."
[Note: This update only includes the past week's tasks and the coming week's tasks. If you'd like to know how they relate to my goals for this round, you can read my 2015 Round 1 Goals post.]
Past week's tasks: Stay
away from WIP1; write 1st drafts of sf shorts "Remembered" and
"Conformity II;" continue print-on-demand research. Did all this except for the draft of "Conformity II." I spent the majority of my writing time this week doing envisioning stuff, and I feel satisfied with my progress. I also did a little bit of work on the pseudonym's WIP2, which I'll start working on in earnest in June or July.
Coming week's tasks: My beta reader feedback on the pseudonym's WIP1 should be coming in this week, so one of my tasks is to read it, think about it, and discuss it with my developmental editor, Diane. I still need two more first drafts of stories for my SF project, so I'm going to take another crack at the first draft of "One Book" this week.
Past week's tasks: Post on Wednesday and Friday. Done! Posted about book betrayal on Wednesday and added my two cents to the conversation about what it means to be a successful writer on Friday.
Coming week's tasks: Publish the next guest post in the writing success series on Friday.
Reading for fun
Past week's tasks: Get The Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson from the library. Did not do this because House of Leaves finally came in, so I picked that up instead. Haven't started it yet, but I did read a few stories from A Bestiary of My Heart by Victoria Nelson and enjoyed them very much. They're very surrealist, dream-like stories (some of which have their roots in dreams she had) that deal with some of the same themes I explore in some of my writing.
Coming week's tasks: Begin reading House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. Might need 2 weeks to finish this one because I've heard it's a challenging read.
Past week's tasks: Comment on 2-3 ROWer posts; participate in #writeclub on Twitter on Friday. Commented on 4 ROWer posts. Did not participate in #writeclub because "Remembered" ended up being a flash fiction piece and I finished the draft on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Coming week's tasks: Comment on 2-3 ROWer posts; participate in #writeclub on Friday if I don't already have the "One Book" first draft done by then.
Past week's tasks: 30 mins on Twitter, 3 times; 2 FB posts on the LLC page; promote #AskAnEditor, a live chat I'm holding on Twitter next Sunday, Feb. 15 at 9am Pacific time. Did all. The live chat only got interaction from one person. I think it's probably one of those things that I'd have to do regularly for a while to build a following, and I'm not sure yet that's how I want to spend my time. That said, I'm flirting with the idea of making the first Sunday of every month a day when anybody can ask me editing questions all day on Twitter.
Coming week's tasks: 30 mins on Twitter, 3 times; 2 FB posts on the LLC page.
Past week's tasks: Spend at least 30 mins a day freewriting in response to business envisioning questions; write Wednesday's post about book
betrayal. Did all, and I'm excited about what came out of the freewriting.
Coming week's tasks: My next step is to draft new copy for my website and write a list of blog post ideas that came out of the envisioning work I did last week. A good friend of mine who has a head for these kinds of things has agreed to give me feedback on the new website copy before it goes up. Yay!
Have you ever considered self-publishing in print? Why or why not?
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