What Will It Cost Me?
The magic question is always "What will it cost me?" We're happy to report that today the answer is, "Not nearly as much as people used to pay to have a book produced." This demands that we look at book publishing in a whole new way.
A New Way of Looking at Publishing a Book:
In former times, quotes were sought for typesetting, editing, proofreading, cover designing, printing, etc. Then, when all the book creation and production costs were known, the total was divided by the nuber of books to be printed, and you knew upfront your per copy price. That cost per copy was then compared with the price you could get for the book wholesale or retail, and on the basis of the comparison of the two you knew if you had a viable business investment or not. Well, that was then, and this is now. It's a new day, and that requires a new way of thinking about publishing a book.
The fact is that when you publish a book using the on-demand system, there is no way of knowing how many copies you might eventually have printed over the life of the book. You will print some this month, and more next month. Or you will order some now and order again in six month, using revised files. Because of this new reality, we have also had to change the way we quote books. It is now done in three stages or parts:
- THE SETUP FEE: First, we have a flat setup fee of $1,099 for books up to 200 pages. This includes a custom cover design, professional typesetting, a professional evaluation of the text (with recommendations for improving it where possible), ISBN (international standard book number) assignment and registration, complete copyrighting, a professional EIN barcode that can be scanned by bookstores worldwide, and placement on our web site. This setup fee is payable when the project is agreed upon and is the only one of the three fees that can be known in advance.
- THE EDITING/PROOFREADING FEE: Our second fee is an editing/proofreading fee. Every book can be improved upon, and our authors are usually grateful for the help we offer. Once we have agreed with the author on a final text, then we send the manuscript to a professional proofreader to be thoroughly reviewed before it goes to print. The cost of professional proofreading is a flat $2.50 per page. Any necessary editorial fee is not as easily arrived at. It is based on the amount of work we think will go into improving a given manuscript. In some cases, we have to actually ghostwrite the materials from audio tapes or CDs, while other books come to us in manuscript form and are fairly well written. Early in the process, we give an editorial quote that can range from as little as $1,000 (or even less) to as much as $4,000. Such a fee, of course, is subject to approval by the author. Typically, we require half of the fee in advance, and the other half is due when the work has been completed to the author's satisfaction.
- THE PRINTING FEE: With those two things out of the way, the book would be ready for production. We can get quotes from various professional book printers for any quantity of books, but we are recommending to most of our authors the Lightning Source International Print-on-Demand System. It costs just about $100 to get your files into their system (text and cover). At that point, one proof copy is required ($30). You can then order as many books as you want at a time, 10 (ten), 200 (two hundred) or more. The quality is excellent, as good as any other printer. The books cost from $2.50 to $4.00 per copy (depending on the number of pages) + UPS ground shipping (each box of books cost about $12 to $15 to ship). All of these costs can be paid by credit card if need be, and a book that costs $2.50 to produce can usually be retailed for $15.00 or more.
So, think of your setup fee and your editing fee as an investment in the message of the book and its ministry, and then count your printing cost per copy as the actual cost of the book for sales purposes. This is the only thing that makes sense in the new reality of this twenty-first century.
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