There are a lot of writers “out there”, and they are generally visible by their Blogs. That is not surprising really as blogging offers a golden opportunity to expose one’s writings to a very broad audience. However, some bloggers are more productive than others and the temptation to market a book can be very tempting. Imagine the sense of achievement when your book is in print for the whole world to see!
For anybody contemplating this “adventure”, there are a number of challenges which must be confronted. The main hurdle (based on my experience) is the initial cost to publish the book, and the ongoing promotion costs that must follow. The traditional publishers will often cover those costs if they are certain that sales will be sufficient to warrant the investment. That rather limits their perspective to already established authors, politicians and other celebrities.
A very practical alternative is to self-publish. There are a number of companies that will assist with this … but it is not free! They will, quite reasonably, expect to have their costs covered as they prepare your manuscript to be published in book form with all that entails. There are copyright details and ISBN registration and other facets which ultimately make a book available. When your book is available, it is unlikely that a book retailer will purchase copies unless there is a guarantee of reimbursement for books not sold (dead stock).
A very convenient solution to the inventory issues is Print on Demand. This means that when (e.g.) a copy is purchased from an on-line retailer, they simply order a copy to be printed and shipped.
Having said all that, there are some realities to be confronted. Below are the key statistics from my three books:
“Who Said I was up for Adoption?” – Published August 2015 – Cost to publish $5809.22 – Total Sales to date 118 – Current debt $6066.52
“Just Thinking” – Published September 2017 – Cost to publish $3835.06 – Total Sales to date 20 – Current debt $3822.20
“The Odessa Chronicles” (as this book was a collaborative effort, all costs are mine i.e. 50% of the total costs) – Published July 2018 – Cost to publish $2183.06 – Total Sales to date 88 – Current debt $1948.72
Why the significant costs to publish? It was because I valued an independent review of the draft and received valuable information covering structure, grammatical errors and overall presentation of the book. I also had the book covers professionally done. Finally, getting the book registered for sale and the administration involved in creating (and making generally available) the POD software had costs attached.
Why has my debt load generally increased? Simply because the cost of advertising has been greater than the royalties generated from sales. Advertising is quite expensive and, with book royalties generally around the $3.00 to $4.00 per book, must be considered carefully.
It is difficult for me to express the immense satisfaction I have felt with getting those three books published, especially when the reviews have been so positive. The fact that the revenues from sales have not covered my costs is rather immaterial when balanced against the pleasure of knowing that people have enjoyed the “fruits of my labour”!
So should you publish your book? Absolutely!