Thursday, April 14, 2011

Days 216 - 222 - And then, like, he said he was a director and could get me into films...

When a person wants something really, really badly it's almost impossible to observe it with the keen and impartial eye of the detached.

Hence the phrase "a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client".

For example, when I was 19 I convinced myself that it was a brilliant and sound financial decision to buy a Ford Falcon a year older than I was. To make it worse, I had no job and I bought it using money I got from a compensation payout. But I loved that car and there was no telling me about insurance and leaded (!!) petrol and registration. (His name was Lurch, he was crud-brown and you could run him into a brick wall and he'd bounce - I still miss that car even though he cost me a small fortune)

And when I was thinking about self-publishing my picture book I was the same way. I made an emotional attachment through a website and a phone call, and just glossed over all the little niggly things that kept pushing themselves forward. I wanted it to be all good so badly that I MADE it all good by just ignoring the bad things.

And by bad things I mean things like over-priced services that didn't (in the fine print) really deliver what I needed.

It took a serious dose of maths for me to straighten myself out.

Here are some random figures from a couple of self-publishing sites all mushed up:

Lets assume a $3000 publishing package with a print on demand service. It involves some very basic "editing" (spelling, grammar), about 35 copies of your book and all the formatting help you need to be able to sell e-books and print on demand books.

So you've laid out $3000 up front. Then you'll probably want to spend a little extra cash on publicity, maybe some petrol to wander around to some book-signing expeditions. Let's throw on a grand - if you're having trouble spending it in your head just buy yourself an awesome ad in a big city paper.

Your print on demand service charges, say, $7.95 per book or $1.50 per ebook. I completely made those figures up just for examples, so don't go expecting them to industry standard or anything. Let's say you sell your print books for $19.95 and your ebooks for $5.99.

Selling only print books you would need to sell 333 copies of your book just to break even.
Selling only ebooks you'd need to sell 899 copies of your book to break even.
And this is before you make a profit.

That's not too bad! There are BILLIONS of people on the planet!
But what kind of sales can you expect? Figures are hazy, but averaging out the different numbers, it seems the average self published book sells about 400 copies. If all those copies are print books, on the numbers above you'd make $800. If they're all ebooks, on the other hand - you're out of pocket.

What I'm trying to say above is this - make sure you do your math before you sign anything. Be realistic, read everything and be smart. It's the only way to be successful.

Word count - 958

No comments:

Post a Comment