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Editor's Notes 77, Cost of Publishing 2
October 03, 2009

"1. Find a subject you care about. 2. Do not ramble, though. 3.Keep it simple. 4.Have the guts to cut. 5. Sound like yourself. 6.Say what you mean to say. 7. Pity the readers."
-- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

In this issue:

1. Costs of publishing 2
2. Tickled my funnybone
3. Interesting Web site

1. Costs of publishing 2
In the last issue I wrote about many of the costs of publishing a book. Today I will tell you the cost that has set me back on my heels.

I love my book. I loved it from the moment I conceived it. I've continued to love it as it has developed beyond my wildest dreams. So far, every potential buyer I have shown a mock-up to has been wowed as they should be.

The printer I wanted to use gave me a series of quotes and sent me samples of paper and covers to choose from. I picked the ones I thought would best suit my book.

With a few photos left to secure, I decided to switch my focus to distribution. I will need to work with a book distributor to deal with several of my markets. But I can sell directly to many of my potential buyers. I went to the local post office to see what shipping would cost me.

First, I was surprised to learn that Canada has no special book rate. We used to have one, and I had simply assumed it still existed. What follows is specific to Canada, but I do urge you to nail down your delivery costs BEFORE you finalize printing contracts.

I wanted my book to be 11 X 8 1/2 to give enough punch to the photos. I wanted to have a hard cover to provide a large enough spine to be visible on a shelf and to signal that this is a book of substance. I do expect this book to be handed down from one family member to another. I wanted paper heavy and opaque enough to keep the reader focused on one page and not wondering about the ghost image visible from the other side of the paper.

In Canada, within length, width, and height restrictions, the weight of a letter is 500 grams. The maximum cost of a letter is $2.75. If the package goes even one gram over 500 grams, the cost rockets to over $13. (The cost to an exact destination in Canada is very specific, so this number can be higher or lower, but $13 seemed to be a good average.)

My book weighed in at 516 grams. The mailer weighs 109 grams. I've got a problem.

I have found a lighter hard cover that will work well, but it saved me only 25 grams per book.

My only alternative is to find a smaller trim size. My 11 X 8 1/2 book will have to be about 10 X 7 inches. I found a 10 X 7 book similar to mine in a children's bookstore and wanted to cry. Even a change that small makes a book with significantly less visual impact.

I still love my book. And I'm so thankful that I discovered this delivery problem before I lost most of my sales. No one in my market would be willing to pay close to the cost of the book for shipping and handling.

I have had editing clients with books of over 200,000 words. I've tried to explain to them the hard truth that it takes twice as much paper to create a 200,00-word book as it does to create a 100,000-word book. Now I will also point out that shipping a 200,000-word book could be significantly more expensive. The book-buying public will spend only so much for your book no matter how much you love it and no matter how wonderful it truly is.

My advice to you is to research every step of the way and to research as much as you can as soon as you can.


2. Tickeled my funnybone
"The man who fell into an upholstery machine is now fully recovered."


3. Interesting Web site
This site is specifically for romance writers, but there is a great deal of information for writers of all sorts.


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