This Week in Self-Publishing: Now Available in Paperback!

Money earned (total): $7,012.34

Money spent (total): $1,761.40

Money earned (this week): $0

Money spent (this week): $149.28

First, I need to mention that I forgot to count some “money spent” last week; I spent $67.12 at the FedEx getting the paperback draft printed so I could make my final edits. I’ve adjusted that entry accordingly.

Second, I need to mention that the paperback version of The Biographies of Ordinary People is now available for pre-order.

Currently, it’s only available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It should be on Indiebound soon, and if you’re a bookstore owner or a librarian, you should also be able to order it via Ingram, although I don’t know if it’s in the database yet.

Also, I don’t know why Barnes & Noble is selling it for two dollars less than Amazon is:

hello, Barnes & Noble

I set the price at $19.99, which I did not want to do, but let me show you a couple of screenshots:

If I priced my 366-page book at $9.99, like I had hoped I might, I would have earned negative $1.83 on every book. It would have cost me money to sell my book to you, and although I know self-publishing involves self-funding, that’s taking it a little too far.

So I kept increasing the potential price until I got this:

If I sell the book for $19.99, I get $2.67 per book. Maybe. I might get 70 percent of $2.67 per book, since that’s how my ebook royalties work. I don’t know what I’m going to get when Barnes & Noble sells it for $17.99. (Less than a dollar? Or are they going to take the hit?)

The point is that I’m charging more than I hoped to for these books, and I’m sorry about that. But paperbacks do tend to cost $19.99 now, so it’s not like I’m way off from the norm or anything.

Now let’s answer a few questions:

What about hardback?

I am not a fan of hardback books myself. They’re heavy, they don’t fit in my purse, they take up twice as much of my limited bookshelf space, and the dust jacket always slips around when I’m trying to read. (I’ve heard people say you’re supposed to take the dust jacket off, which seems to defeat the purpose.)

That said, I did consider doing a hardback release followed by a paperback release, just for the sake of having yet another promotional opportunity. Then I decided it wasn’t worth the effort.

Plus, Ingram’s publishing calculator said I’d need to charge $34.99 for the hardback to make $2.56 per book. I know that not all of my readers can afford to pay $34.99 for a book, and I also know that those of you who can pay $34.99 might assume that you should because that would be how I would “earn the most money.” (Which, as you can see, is not true.)

So yeah. No hardback copy unless Biographies becomes a serious bestseller and there’s a reason to do a “special hardback edition.”

Have you gotten to hold the paperback yet?

No! I haven’t! I paid $15.28 to get a print proof and it hasn’t arrived yet. (Also, if you’re wondering why you can purchase the paperback copy before I’ve seen and okayed the print proof… it’s because it’s a pre-order, and I’ll still have time to make changes to the files if the proof doesn’t look right.)

So… can you break down your costs?

You bet I can! Of the $149.28 I spent this week, $49 went towards uploading the paperback into IngramSpark, $85 went towards getting the paperback listed in Ingram’s Advance catalog, and $15.28 went towards the print proof.

I also need to pay Veronica Ewing, my paperback book designer (she’s so great!!!), but that will come after I okay the print proof.

Did you make any newbie mistakes that you want to tell us about?

YES. Oh my goodness yes.

So you remember Bowker, the place where self-published writers go to buy their ISBNs and barcodes? And remember how I paid Bowker $250 for 10 ISBNs (because I needed two each for Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, and they’re less expensive when purchased in bulk) and $25 for a barcode?

Yeah. Pronoun gave me a free ISBN for my ebook, and IngramSpark gave me a free barcode. I also could have bought my paperback ISBN directly through IngramSpark at a discount.

All that Bowker money was essentially wasted. (But it’s still a tax deduction, so… I’ll just keep telling myself that.)

If you have other questions about the paperback, drop ’em in the comments. I’m so glad it’s finally available for pre-order, because I know a lot of you have been waiting for it. If you’d like to pre-order right now, here are those Amazon and Barnes & Noble links again. ❤


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