So seven months after publishing Darklands as an eBook, I’m finally making the move into print.
Months ago, I investigated CreateSpace, went most of the way through the set up process before realising that it was US based and likely to incur ridiculous shipping costs for my UK customers (or, as I call them, my customers. I think I sold one book in the US, once…) There were also brain-bending complications involving ISBNs, distribution packages, US tax wierdness…. I tore some hair out, and gave it up.
Next I looked into Lulu. They seemed to have UK distribution, but I was still unsure about the same ISBN and distribution issues. I didn’t want to relinquish control of any rights to my work, and struggled to fathom the rights blurb if I accepted a free ISBN from Lulu/CreateSpace. I could purchase my own from the ISBN regulatory thing, ten at a time, for £120 or so. Then I could spend another £70 on the distribution package to get the book onto Amazon, where I could hope to make no profit since the production cost alone was around £6, and Amazon demands a 100% markup! (Hmm, yes, I expect a self-published paperback by an unknown author will sell very well at £12!)
I don’t want to be one of those poor deluded writers, throwing money at an ambition that is clearly never going anywhere. But… if you are serious about becoming successful, you do need to invest both time and money. I guess it’s really a matter of trying to be realistic. Give it a proper go, then if nothing comes of it, know when to bow out with dignity intact?
So, people kept asking me about a paperback, and I kept saying, ‘Soon, soon…’ and doing nothing about it. However, as discussed in a previous post, I decided I was finally ready to give it another go. Part of the new determination came from thinking about money. Specifically, how £200 or so pales into insignifcance when you consider my loss of earnings due to working only part time so that I can write for the past three years. At a very rough estimate, £20-30,000? Ouch!
So I’ve had another look into it, found some useful discussions of the pros and cons of both CreateSpace and Lulu, and finally stumbled on the UK based FeedARead, which is supported by the Arts Council of England. I expect it has all the same issues regarding ISBNs, rights and distribution packages, but at least it’s UK based.
I’ve set the wheels in motion, but like all the other packages out there, this one seems very loathe to actually give you any pricing information until you’ve gone through the whole setup process. Since my word file is currently awaiting conversion to PDF (I would normally do that kind of thing myself, but don’t have the full Acrobat program and was uncertain about embedding my fonts, so it seemed safest to let them handle it), I can discover absolutely no indication of what production costs will be I don’t like this, but unless it’s truly outrageous, I think I’m just going to go with it.
I’ll keep you posted how it all works out 🙂