This week’s assignment was “Choosing a Print Service Provider.” In lesson six I investigated and compared several POD providers. This week I took a hard look at the numbers, calculating my break-even point considering the upfront costs, the per-copy production cost, and the net author royalty. Since this was a short response, I also included my first draft of a brief, 200-word summary for the back of my book cover.
Assignment #8 — Choosing a Print Service Provider
Although I never did what I would consider to be a thorough comparison and investigation of POD service providers, I’m going to stick with Createspace which was recommended to me by several sources.
The Createspace website has handy little calculators for determining the cost of the book, shipping, and royalties. I used these to estimate that my book, at about 185 pages, in a 6×9 format will cost about $3.08 to produce.
Createspace offers a Pro-plan for $39 which discounts the cost of each book printed and increases the royalty payments.
If I sell the print books at $10.00 each which is on the low-end of the scale, and I take into consideration the bookseller’s cut, I will make $4.92 on every book sold in the Createspace e-store, $2.92 on each book sold at Amazon.com, and $0.92 for the books sold through the expanded distribution channels.
The following are my actual and some estimated upfront costs:
$300 — professional editing
$39.00 — Createspace pro-plan
$3.08 —proof copy
$3.59 —proof copy shipping
$154 —author copies (50) for family members, reviews and promotions
$23 —shipping author copies
$100 —promotional materials (estimate)
$100 —website hosting/year
$312 —cost to set up business (estimate)
$1039 —total upfront costs
At the royalty rates I anticipate based on the Createspace calculators, I only need to sell 211 books on the e-store to break even, or 355 books on Amazon.com. There are other means of distribution that I do not consider in these calculations. For example, I plan to sell Dancing in Heaven as an e-book. It’s possible I may at times hand sell books if I choose to do any book signings or attempt to get the book into smaller, independent bookstores.
I don’t really know what to expect in terms of sales. I suppose the way I look at it is, if I don’t break even, I will have to write it off as a hobby. It’s not nearly as expensive as other hobbies can be.
My main goal all along was to get Annie’s story out there. When the first person buys a book, I will have begun to accomplish that goal.
Book summary draft:
If you are reading this, I would appreciate any help you can give me by posting or sending me your comments on this first draft of a book summary for the back cover of my book. The book summary will also be used in any advertising materials I have, so it is important that it is clear and engaging.
My sister Annie was born with severe brain damage in 1958. She was born a year after me and was the fourth of five children in our family.
Annie never outgrew the needs of an infant. She didn’t walk or talk. Our parents fed her, changed her clothes, and carried her for her entire life. Although the doctors who initially diagnosed her predicted she’d have a life expectancy of eight years, Annie lived to be 51 years old.
In the summer of 2009, Annie became ill, was hospitalized, and returned home with our family for her few remaining days, under the tender care of Hospice.
Dancing in Heaven is an inspirational story about Annie’s life, death, and her significance in the lives of those of us who loved her and others who were somehow touched by her. This memoir provides a window into my family’s life with a severely disabled member. But more importantly, Dancing in Heaven is a testimony to the basic intrinsic value of human life.
Annie never walked. She never spoke. She never worked. Yet she filled our lives with smiles and radiated light and love every day of her life.
Now, she’s dancing in heaven.