If you’ve been paying attention, you may have seen that I’m finally in the process of making Ravens Gathering available as a paperback.  It hadn’t been high on my list of priorities when I first published, but a few developments over the last year or so have led me to the conclusion that it was the right thing to do.

In no particular order, those developments are:

  • I’ve been asked for copies. Not loads, but I know there are potential readers who’ll never buy an eBook, so they’re feeling deprived at the moment.  Obviously, they might feel differently once they’ve read it, but by that time I’ll have pocketed the money and be sunning myself in the Bahamas… until I wake up.
  • Through my involvement with Sheffield Speakers Club, I was asked to give a talk to a local group last year. Always glad to grab an opportunity, I put together a talk about my experience as a self-published author.  What I was conscious of at the end was the fact that I could have sold some copies if I’d had them with me.  It’s always a good idea to get a sale while it’s on the buyer’s mind rather than suggest they go online and look you up on Amazon.  If it had been a one-off, I’d probably have just shrugged and moved on.  But I’ve since done another, and a third is booked, with enquiries for more.
  • Over the coming months, a long-term plan is coming to fruition. I’m selling my business and giving up the day job. There are still hurdles to jump before everything’s concluded, but when it is I’ll be in the fortunate position of being able to focus on writing full time. It’s not a fortunate enough position that I’ll be able to do it forever without earning a bean, but I reckon I’ve got 4-5 years to get on with things.
  • A knock-on effect is that I’ll want to open up more sales channels for my book(s), and having a paperback gives me additional options.
  • A second knock-on effect is that, whilst I’ll be able to afford to live, I won’t have the same level of available cash as I do now. With that in mind, and because it’s more tax efficient to do it while I’m earning, I’m using some of my current income to cover the cost of getting the paperback published.

Now, for those of you who followed my No Rules series of blog posts, you’ll know that it’s possible to produce a paperback on a Print on Demand basis – Createspace, Lulu, FeedARead, for example – and do so at little or no initial cost.

However, when I looked at this, I was experiencing some problems with getting the price right for the size of the book.  It’s not an epic, but it does run to over 400 pages, and that was resulting in a sale price of around £12 or more. In addition to that, I was struggling with getting the formatting right – or maybe I couldn’t be bothered, one of the two.

So I decided I’d invest some money, and pay a professional publisher to do the hard work. That process has now begun, and I’ll provide feedback on my experience as things come to fruition.

One of the issues that became apparent as I entered discussions with the publisher was how to arrive at a suitable price for the book – a subject that warrants a separate post all on its own, and I’ll share it very shortly.

What I’ll say for now is that we’ve reached a stage where the book is available for pre-order on Amazon.  The important message from me, though, is this: DO NOT RUSH TO PUT IN AN ORDER!

To make any money on Amazon, I was still going to have to set a retail price of almost £13.00, and that is simply because of how much they take as a percentage of the sale price.  Anything less than that will result in it costing me money.

Bearing in mind that I didn’t want to overcharge for the book through other outlets, I’ve set the price at £8.99. With Amazon, that will cost me 92p every time someone buys my book.  So, for now at least, please only buy the eBook through Amazon.  I’ll let you know what other buying options there are as they become available.