Here are some of the publication nitty gritties I’ve been learning in the last six months.
Part of the ISBN is the price of the book. If you’re working with a publisher, they’ll probably decide this before they ever offer you a contract. But in case you have a say in the price or you’re self-publishing, something to keep in mind is wholesale discount.
Of course, you do the market research to see what other books similar to yours are being sold for. If you’re chums with the book buyer at your local bookstore you can also ask them what they think is a fair price. The estimated cost to print your paperback will influence pricing, of course, but keeping in mind the wholesale discount is important too. The discounted price is the price bookstores (online and brick and mortar) will pay for your book. While many bookstores will accept a 40% wholesale discount, the larger brick and mortar chains require 55%. (Industry standards vary between 35-55%.)
Now you may think – well I’ll set up one price for indie stores and one for the bigger chains.
I don’t know how all distributors and print-on-demand sites work, but what I’ve seen so far is that the larger distributors of books allow you to only set up on wholesale discount. Which means, if you want to be in the larger bookstores you are setting a wholesale discount of 55% for everyone.
It’s great incentive for bookstores to pick up your book, but it’s also good to keep in mind when setting the price of your book.
Here’s a few other items I’ve learned.
It’s a good rule of thumb to try to have your finished paperback ready a month before your actual publication date. That means the eproof of the paperback approved, the physical paperback in your hand and checked for errors, any revisions made if errors are found, and then the next copy checked. Wash, rinse, repeat; with about a week of shipping time in between.
Most larger publishing houses release their titles on a Tuesday. So picking a different day of the week is always a great idea unless you want to be in direct competition with the big houses.
Many indie bookstores order books three months in advance. Larger bookstores will often order six months in advance.
I fully recognize my experience will not be everyone else’s and that this information may be out of date a week after I post it. But these are a few of the items I’ve learned along the way and if I can help someone else out, then it is well worth saying.