by Bob Wilson
From time to time, I have been asked about book publishing. I think I must have been rejected by most of the mainstream nautical publishers with the statement "No-one is interested in boats these days!" Rather odd, as I only write about ships, and ship models!
Anyway, I eventually turned to "Vanity Publishing." The idea (publisher's idea, that is) being that the book is so bad that it is not worth publishing by normal means, so the author, having grown weary of rejection slips, decides to pay for publication to satisfy his or her vanity.
My manuscripts are written using Apache Open Office, a word processing package that can be obtained free of charge via a Google search. The manuscript is prepared exactly as it will appear in the book, (Not including the book covers) with images and page numbers all included. My wife and I do the proof reading, and when everything is as good as we can make it, I save the file as PDF by just clicking on "Export as PDF" in the Open Office. This converts it to PDF, suitable for Acrobat Reader.
A free, and immediate online quote is available from Book Printing UK (Link Below). This may be obtained without registering on their site. Just put in the relevant details: number of pages, colour or B&W, paper quality etc. The quote is generated immediately and at that stage, you are under no obligation, and it includes delivery of books by courier to a UK address.
A good figure to start with is a quote for 36 books (the 6 extra being the freebies, legally demanded by the British library, and their "hangers on"). I then call them on the telephone and pay for the books. The next stage is to send the file via We Transfer (Link Below). This is a free service that I always use. It takes about ten minutes to send a 150-page book. I then send the front and back cover images separately as normal e-mail attachments.
The cover design is done using nothing more than Open Office Word Processing. About three days later, they send an online proof copy so that the write can check everything is OK, and all the images are in the right place. After this has been approved, all that remains to do is to wait. In seven to ten days, the books arrive, and we have always been impressed by the quality. When I require reprint, I just phone them, say how many I want, and pay them. They arrive in seven to ten days. The minimum reprint number for free delivery is ten books. If want less than ten, there is a delivery surcharge.
Book Printing UK take no part in this at all. I begin with putting them on Ebay. I also make them available in e-book form and put them on Payhip (Link Below). Payhip is a download e-book site in London. It is free to register with them. The manuscript is sent via their site down-loader, and you pay nothing at all until something is sold. The download goes out automatically as soon as the buyer pays via Paypal. Payhip deduct their 5% interest, advise you, and pay the balance into your Paypal account. The income from Payhip, goes a long way towards financing the printing of the books. You can test this service by clicking on our FREE download catalogue (Link Below).
To tempt customers, we have a few free Payhip downloads, also containing adverts to our chargeable writings. I also advertise on my blog (Link Below). If you are not a member of Authors Lending & Collecting Society (Link Below), I recommend you join as soon as possible. I have never paid them a penny. They deduct their fees from whatever they collect on your behalf. I get an annual payment of between £100 and £400 from them, and they do all the work to collect it from libraries etc.
An e-book publisher volunteered to set up one of my books on Amazon several years ago. It was a success, but it was annoying to hear that every download sold to the USA had US income tax deducted from it. After that, I went down the Payhip route for e-books where all I have to pay in commission is 5%.
Most of my writing friends assure me that I am doing it the wrong way, but it works for me!
Authors Lending & Collecting Society:
Book Printing UK
Payhip download service:
Our FREE download catalogue
Obviously the cheapest way is to do everything yourself, but some self publishing companies charge £1000's while we charge hundreds. Having said this I'm thinking of putting prices up as I make next to nothing ;(
Even hundreds is rather too much for me. The first major one that I had self published, eventually ran to a total of 173 copies (I had a number of small print runs between 10 and 40 copies a time). They cost me less thna £10 each to print and deliver. The odd number was caused by the fact that the printer often put an extra copy or two in! They have all sold out! Although you say that colour pictures cost a lot, they don't appear to with my printing firm. I have just got a quote for a 70-page A4 book (Full colour) with glossy card covers A4 size, perfect bound. Cover thickness 300gsm. Internal pages 115gsm silk. Total cost for 36 books is £203.64, and that includes delivery of the books to me (UK). You may say that there are differnt qualities of books, but I find the one that I have are really superb. Here is a picture of the inside on the one mentioned above. It has 154 pages, 94 colour images and 124 in B & W. Click on image to enlarge.