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13 - Eighteen and Counting
18 – and Counting
A Treasure Trove
Almost all of my books measure 8½ x 11inches using self-designed covers that I print from my computer. I use various parchment style colors and some specially produced color papers, onto which I design my own photographs, graphics, and color print styles.
As an exception, I decided on a 128 page smaller-size book measuring 5¼ x 8½ entitled “Henderson’s Point.”
Kinko printing resulted in a two-across double-sided printing of 50 books which cost me $114.45 including 9% tax. This averaged to $2.30 per book for printing only.
I then went to a local printer to seek cover and binding service. After explaining what I wanted, he gave me a quantitiy of blank white cover sheets which are described as 65# matte covers measuring 8½ x 11½. I found that the extra half-inch length was necessary in order to accommodate a “cover spine,” which is the fold width over the thickness of the book pages.
Using the matte cover supplies, I printed some samples and returned to the printer for a supply of 50 65# white matte 8½ x 11½ inch sheets. I printed 50 covers as displayed here, but found that the ink for my printer would not dry completely and would smudge when handled. Of course that would not do. Returning to the printer, he suggested that I purchase a can of Grumbacher gloss Fixative, which is used by artists who used pastels, charcoal, or pencil for their drawings. After lightly spraying, I was satisfied with the outcome.
The printer sliced my pages in half to measure 5¼ x 8½ and performed what is called a “Perfect Bind” process. Voila! I now had 50 books to distribute to my existing dealers.
My cost — $2.29 for printing, $1.00 for perfect bind and cover stock, plus 10 cents for the fixative spray per book — equaling a single book cost of $3.39 which I retail for $15.00.
Because the retailer sells the book at $15 plus 7% sales tax (or more,) I give them $5 per book commission on consignment, and I get $10, making my profit per book about $5.00 after per book and other miscellaneous expenses. (My gross profit for 8½ x 11 size books selling for $20 each is about $8)
Of course, this profit gets nibbled away after figuring in computer usage supplies such as paper, ink, software, computer repairs, etc. — excluding one’s time. Over-all, I seek profitability only from the residual sales of previous books that continue to have shelf life by on-going sales in addition to sales made through the Internet. Each new book promotes the sale of prior books. After all, my history books don’t grow stale. As more and more people become aware of them, to the new reader, each book is as much desired as the first day it was released.
Regardless, even if I never get rich as a Self-Publisher, I remain in full control, free of frustrations, and not manipulated by a sole publisher who sends me a small check accompanied by a paltry sales statement every six months.
Believe me, I have the same aspirations as any other author, but unless I find that particular illusive book agent, or the more illusive book publisher for my single “Murder Mystery” novel — I will never become a John Grisham. But, I refuse to “Wait for it to Happen!”
I get great solace in my process of self-publication — rather than wallowing in a state of self-recrimination for not trying harder. Besides, I find it very time consuming and costly to send out a multitude of proposals to publishers, when only half of them reply — and then, with an automated rejection.