Whether you’re planning on self-publishing your first collection or you’ve been in the game for years, there are some things you may want to revisit before you release your collection.
Balance design elements and cost
So often, writers will have grand ideas for their book—they want art! They want big art! And they want it all in color with a beautifully embossed hard cover. They want the world, until they see the world’s price tag. In order to get everything you want out of your printed book, you need to take into account the cost of getting there. Consider the questions below to help you determine what type of printed elements you need.
Is it a design book?
- Does it include full color images or illustrations?
- Does the text require full color ink?
- Does thicker or speciality paper make a big difference in how the work will be displayed?
- Is it a coffee table book or art book?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then the type of paper you choose will have a huge influence on how the book is received by audiences.
For example, if you print full color images on IngramSpark, you’ll need to select Ultra Premium ink. Otherwise, the work will fold in on itself and all the hard work you’ve put in will be hidden behind mediocre paper. But if you also want that Ultra Premium book to be in hardcover, you’re looking at having to sell the book for $50+ to make a profit.*
If you want to print the same book on Lulu.com, you can expect to sell it for $36.78 per copy.
If you want to print the same book on Blurb, you can expect to sell it for $90+ per copy.
*This is based on a 100-page full color, Ultra Premium, hardcover poetry collection through Ingram as of October 20, 2021.
Consider your unique needs
Not all presses are created equal, and most Print on Demand (PoD) platforms will not be able to accommodate special requests such as cover embossing, die-cutting, using recycled paper, etc.
- Do you require custom endpages?
- Do you require recycled paper?
- Do you require specialty embossing, die-cutting, or cover elements?
- Do you require a unique book size?
If you said yes to any of these, you’ll want to go to a local, offset printer to get the work crafted. The challenges here are that local printers are not normally partnered up with distributors so you’d have to order a set number of copies and then use a distribution service to get them out into the world.
You could also create an Amazon Seller account and sell the work yourself, though for many people, that idea takes away the good part about self-publishing: easily releasing a collection into the world. If you are considering quality local printers, consider these options:
Consider your audience
When you consider pricing your collection, you’ll want to take into consideration not only the manufacturing cost, but also the audience you’re selling to. Does your work have mass appeal for organizations such as schools, libraries, events, etc.? Is your book more toward younger people? Your audience will generally have a cap on what they can afford when it comes to non-essential (this is arguable) items such as books.
Determine what’s non-negotiable
- Are you open to buying 100 copies for your work from a local printer, knowing you’ll have to distribute them yourself?
- Is it more important for you to have recycled paper or more important to have a reasonably priced collection?
- Is it more important to work with a local printer or to have easy distribution access?
- Is the lowest sale price what you’re after, or are you open to increasing the sale price to increase book quality?
Write out all of your non-negotiables and determine what you’re willing to spend first. Then, when it’s time to decide how to move forward, you’ll have a solid plan.