Going into print

Posted: April 6, 2012 in Darklands, Publishing, Writing
Tags: , , , ,

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 🙂

  1. hilyer68 says:


    Good luck with the paperback. FeedARead is publishing my latest, and so far I’m delighted with the service and the results. I went with them because the distribution fees, author copy cost and royalties all looked better than the other POD outfits. I received an author’s copy which I have since edited, and now I’m waiting for the new version to be distributed to Amazon et al. I’m not sure why you found it difficult to find the pricing information, though. All the best!


  2. elwoodcock says:

    Thanks, Patrick, that’s good to know.
    All the best to you too 🙂

  3. Pete Denton says:

    A friend of mine used CreateSpace and did have a lot of issues getting things set up. All the best with FeedARead I hope it goes well.

  4. elwoodcock says:

    I want to say it’s all seeming pretty straight forward so far, but I don’t want to jinx myself…! 😉

    • hilyer68 says:


      I’ve just received the first ten copies of Broke the Grape’s Joy – ordered on Tuesday morning and delivered this afternoon here in France! Postage not too pricey either (although it’s best to bulk order). This is my edited version, ready for distribution. I’m really pleased with the quality and the service (this is beginning to sound like an advert for the printers, sorry!).

      All the best!


  5. elwoodcock says:

    I’ve just ordered my first copy to proof. It’s quite exciting. Somehow though I really hadn’t considered that you’d have to pay postage as well – and quite hefty postage at that :-/ This makes me less happy. I thought £7.99 wasn’t too bad a price for a paperback, but now it’s looking like 10.99, and that’s kind of steep. Do you know if there is the same postage rate if you buy through Amazon? Usually there’s none, but depends how it’s done.

    • hilyer68 says:

      Hi Emma

      I’m still waiting for my book to go into distribution on Amazon – so I don’t know how much the Amazon delivery charges are. But if you order multiple copies from FeedARead then the delivery cost per book goes down to as little as 60p per unit. I ordered 10 copies on a Monday evening here in France and received them on Friday morning. Very quick, and I think the cost was 70p per book via DHL.

  6. elwoodcock says:

    My proof copy arrived this morning, and everything looks perfect! Pretty chuffed 🙂

  7. hilyer68 says:

    Congratulations Emma

    When I got my proof back I realised I’d made quite a few formatting mistakes. Did you manage to get the page numbers appearing only after the copyright page, dedications and/or acknowledgements pages etc.? It took me ages to work out how to do this in MS Word. I also had my indents way to big and had to go through the MS reducing them all to 4mm, and taking them out altogether in the first lines of paragraphs. I’m sure your pages look perfect, but if you’re struggling with any of this things then let me know.

    Best of luck

  8. elwoodcock says:

    yep, all looks exactly as I wanted (thought I still haven’t done a really thorough check). Can’t help thinking there’s bound to be something…. :-/

  9. elwoodcock says:

    Patrick, when you wanted to change your book after the proof copy, did it cost that extra editing fee to do so? I thought I still could edit it now, but the way it’s all worded on the site makes me think not..?

    “This book has been processed for publishing and details can no longer be modified or saved – although you can view existing information from the various links below.”

    I still haven’t found anything wrong, but decided I’d like to tweak the cover slightly. But I won’t bother if it’s going to cost me money.

    • hilyer68 says:

      Hi Emma

      It costs £35. I decided it was worth it because there were quite quite a few errors. By the way, my book Broke the Grape’s Joy is now in print on Amazon (although I’m still waiting for the cover to appear), and I see that delivery is free in the UK.


  10. elwoodcock says:

    bum. I thought that might be the case. Good news on delivery though. Thanks for your advice, and good luck with the book 🙂

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