SELF-PUBLISHING KNOWHOW Self-Publishing Through A Company

In part 4 of our self-publishing series, Camilla Chester talks us through her own route to self-publication.
This is the route I chose because not only do you have the advantage of working with an established publisher who deals with the entire book production process, you are also automatically linked to the major book distributors. This means that retailers can order your book through their usual wholesaler. A cut is taken (which doesn’t happen with direct sales) but it is not as big a margin as being traditionally published.

1. Which One?

There are a number of different companies who offer self-publishing services. It really depends on what you want. It is always a good idea to ask other people. I asked SCBWI and got lots of helpful comments, based on this I chose Matador.

2. Which Package?

There are lots of different levels of expense you can choose, depending on how much you want to do yourself. There is usually a standard charge for production and printing, but you can also choose additional extras such as a editing, marketing/promotion packages, eBook production, book trailers and other online services.

3. What/How?

You start by getting a quote, by sending the company your manuscript. They are also keen to keep their professional reputation so won’t publish anything they believe is poor quality so will assess your writing at this stage. You then choose your package (you can change your mind later on), pay your deposit and the process starts. You are assigned a Production Controller who oversees the project. You will need to have an image for your front cover, but the cover will be designed by them, and approved by you. Once the text is typeset you are sent the proofs to pass to press, then the books are sent to you.

4. Things to Consider

Every additional is a cost. If you want glitter on your cover it is extra, if you want your books delivered to you there’s a courier charge. The more copies you print the cheaper each book is to produce, that is why POD is so expensive. However, you will be surprised how much room 500 books takes up in your home and if you spot a typo it might feel like your world has ended! You need to think carefully about how many books you need to sell in order to break even. It is hard to sell books, don’t just assume everyone you know will buy one - they won’t!

5. Summary

There are lots of good, solid reasons to self-publish and it is no longer seen as a stigma, quite the reverse. The quality of self-published books means it is impossible to distinguish them from traditionally published. It is hard work, costs money and requires a bit of business sense but it is all under your own control, is an enjoyable and rewarding process and allows you to join the world of published authors. What are you waiting for? Jump in - the water’s warm!

Header image: Medieval printing press (Wikimedia Commons)

Camilla Chester writes for children aged 8 to 12. She has always written fiction, but after moving to Hertfordshire with her family in 2010, she enrolled onto an OU Creative Writing Course (receiving a distinction), joined several writing groups and then discovered the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) before publishing her debut, Jarred Dreams in 2016. Camilla’s second book EATS was out at the end of April 2017 and her third, Thirteenth Wish is due to be published in April 2018. In addition to being a children’s author Camilla runs a small dog walking business.

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