What Does Self-Publishing Have to do with Economies of Scale?

Many writers enter the self-publishing industry with an expectation about what their published book’s retail price will be once it reaches bookshelves. This expectation is based upon their life-long experiences of buying books from authors like Stephen King and J.K. Rowling.

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They are often surprised and confused when they discover that their 300-page self-published print-on-demand paperback cannot have the same retail price as a paperback of comparable length that is published by Random House. “Why?” they ask.

The answer is because the retail price must be higher than the sum of the trade discount (typically 50-55%) and the production/printing cost of the book.  Why are POD printing costs so much higher? The answer is: “economy of scale.”

Wikipedia has a fairly extensive article on economies of scale that can be found here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economies_of_scale

Most important among that information, as it pertains to self-publishing authors, is the following paragraph:

“The simple meaning of economies of scale is doing things more efficiently with increasing size.[4] Common sources of economies of scale are purchasing (bulk buying of materials through long-term contracts), managerial (increasing the specialization of managers), financial (obtaining lower-interest charges when borrowing from banks and having access to a greater range of financial instruments), marketing (spreading the cost of advertising over a greater range of output in media markets), and technological (taking advantage of returns to scale in the production function). Each of these factors reduces the long run average costs (LRAC) of production by shifting the short-run average total cost (SRATC) curve down and to the right.”

Basically, the more books that are printed at one time, the less expensive each individual book is to produce, which thereby allows the retail price to be lower. This is why a Harry Potter paperback is “inexpensive”, even at 600 pages, compared with a POD book of similar length. The publisher of Harry Potter printed 10 million copies all at once, thereby bringing the per-unit cost down to pennies. Of course, the publisher also made that sizable, risky, investment up-front – an investment that equaled millions of dollars.  Granted, that’s not much of a risk when you’re printing a Harry Potter book, but for 99% of the writers out there (even the ones who have traditionally published in the past), it is a risk few traditional publishers are willing to take nowadays and an investment even fewer writers are capable of.

Enter print-on-demand (POD) self-publishing. A book that is published POD operates on the exact opposite pricing model. Each book’s printing cost is based upon printing only one book at time, which protects the authors from making a sizable, risky investment up front.  Of course, that means the printing cost for each book costs dollars instead of pennies. And since the retail price must exceed the trade discount AND the printing cost, the retail price is naturally going to be higher.

The good news for Outskirts Press authors is that, when combined with EDI distribution through platforms like Amazon and Ingram, self-publishing writers never incur out-of-pocket printing costs for books sold wholesale, because the book is only printed after it is sold to the consumer. The printing cost is extracted from the retail price, along with the distributor/retailer’s portion, and the printing cost itself. Whatever is left is the “profit” from the book. The amount of “profit” that the author receives depends upon the self-publisher you’ve chosen, and varies from 20% – 100%. Outskirts Press is one of the few self-publishers that pays 100% of the profit to the author.

To publish your masterpiece with the A+ rated and #1-rated self-publishing company according to the Better Business Bureau and Top Consumer Reviews, respectively, visit Outskirts Press today.

10 Rules for Hosting a Book Launch Party

A well-planned book launch party can get your book marketing efforts started off on the right foot by attracting the media and capturing new readers. Whether you are planning on hosting a book launch party at your own house or a more public place (recommended), these 10 rules are ones every author should follow:

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Photo by Melissa on Pexels.com

1. Set Realistic and Measurable Goals

While a book launch party can, and should, include celebration, it is important to realize that it is also a marketing event; and its main purpose is to sell books. Therefore, think of it as a business venture as well as a party. Track every cost so you can determine the ROI (return on investment). For instance, will you use custom printed postcards or note cards featuring your book as invitations or using Evite.com? Will you host the party at your home, at a free venue like a bookstore, library, etc., or will you rent a professional party space for the event. Will you be engaging the services of an event planner, or handling all the details yourself? Event planners are an added expense, but they may possess the experience necessary to drive attendance. Be sure to set goals in terms of attendance (readers and media) and book sales (and book reviews). By determine your strategy and your budget in advance, you can analyze the results and make improvements for your next book event.

2. Pick an Appropriate Theme

Your event must appeal to your target readers to increase the chances of them attending – and of having positive word-of-mouth afterward. For instance, if you’ve written a mystery, host a “murder mystery party.” By picking a theme that relates to your book, and making that theme a clear component of the invitation, you ensure that everyone who attends is a prime candidate to buy your book at the end of the evening when you pull out your signing pen.

3. Call Upon Your Guests

Follow-up on every RSVP with a personal “thank you” that promises them a good time, a goodie bag (see below), and a great discount on a signed copy of your book. Also ask if they know anyone else who might be interested in attending the book launch event of the season (hyperbole is okay when it’s tongue-in-cheek). Make sure your guests know that they are welcome to invite/bring others to the event. If your guests start to use their social media reach to promote your event, your guest list can quickly climb, which means more book sales and more book reviews.

4. Market to the Media

Appealing to the media requires having a unique and compelling angle. Fortunately, if you did a good job connecting with your readers, you probably already have a unique and compelling angle right at your feet. Now just write a press release about it:

Local Mystery Author Launches Highly-Anticipated New Novel with a Murder Mystery Party and YOU are invited!

Not a bad headline for a press release, right? Once you have your press release written, send it to your local newspapers, television, and radio stations. The more local the media, the more interested they will be. Are you going to attract Good Morning America to your book launch? Probably not (see Rule #1). But will the local news channel feature you in a segment? Perhaps, especially if you’ve accumulated an impressively large guest list. When the segment airs, record it and post it to your social media. Share it with your attendees. They’ll all brag about being at an event that got on the news. What does that mean for you? More book sales!

5. Get Social Online

Before and after your event, be sure to use the power of social media to spread the word. Prior to the event, use your social media platform to drive awareness, answers questions, promote the event, and solicit attendees. Afterwards, share lots of pictures of the fun time had by all (along with a link to your book, of course). Even if people aren’t able to attend in person, they’ll love to see the pictures and they still may buy the book (which is, after all, the whole point!).

6. Get Social Offline

Even though many writers are introverts by nature, your book launch party is not the time to be shy. So step out of your comfort zone and embrace the gregarious published author inside you. Strike up conversations with every single person in attendance. Be generous with your time and your smile. Rather than going for the “hard sell” take lots of pictures with everyone instead, using THEIR phones as well as yours. If they have pictures on their phones, they are more likely to post those pictures on their social media platforms after the event, along with links to you and/or your book. Those online postings last a lot longer than your event ever will.

7. Get Really Social Offline

The more fun your guests have, the better your sales will be at the end of the night (since everyone will still be there) and the better your word-of-mouth will be after the event (which means the better your sales will be afterward, too). So get ready to live it up on the night of your party! Create lots of photo opportunities and encourage all your guests to take as many pictures as they can, not just of you or your book, but of the venue and/or decorations. Did your murder mystery guests don costumes (did you encourage them to by adding a costume contest to the proceedings)? Have them take posed pictures. Would your romance novel lovers mind posing next to a life-size cardboard cutout of a male hunk? Probably not. By connecting with your readers, creating a theme, and having fun, you’ll create an atmosphere that encourages reader engagement, and that will translate to more book sales at the end of the night — in other words, a perfect book launch party!

8. Joint Ventures are Your Secret Weapon

A “joint venture” is a collaboration between two people or companies with mutually-beneficial goals and results. Any good party has goodie bags, right? But rather than giving away copies of your book (you’re trying to sell copies, after all), partner with local businesses who are seeking marketing opportunities of their own. Would your romance novel lovers enjoy the local bakery’s cookies (along with a coupon) inside their goodie bag? Of course! Would your action aficionados like a coupon for a free tub of popcorn with the purchase of tickets to the latest James Bond movie playing at the local Cineplex? Absolutely! Joint Venture partnerships like this are relatively easy in this day and age of social media, and you may be surprised how many of them will advertise YOUR event on their social media platforms, too.

9. Prepare to Sell Books

When you’re in the middle of a fun party, the last thing you’ll want to be burdened with is handling book orders. But of course, taking book orders is the whole point of throwing a book launch party. What a dilemma! Fortunately, with advance planning, you can make sure this important step goes just as flawlessly as the party itself. Consider the logistics in advance in terms of cash, check, or charge. If you plan on charging sales tax, determine a discount to offer on your book that rounds the final cost to an even number (preferably in a cash-friendly denomination like $10, $15, or $20). You can promote the discount and you don’t have to worry about counting pennies for change. If you plan on taking credit cards at the event, is your smart phone hooked up with a way to do that, either with Square or PayPal, for example? It’s easy to hand-out business cards with your Amazon link printed on it, but the reality is that people attending a book launch party will expect to be able to buy a signed copy of the book that night, and you want them to! Who knows whether they’ll buy it the next day?

10. Call Upon Your Guests Again

If your attendees are old friends (or new friends who had a great time), they’ll be happy to help you spread the word about your book – but they might not know how. So tell them. Be sure your venue has a number of placards or signs with instructions for posting reviews on Amazon, sharing pictures on Instagram, or commenting on the event on Facebook. Be sure to follow-up personally with every attendee via email after the event with links to write a review, post a picture, or share a selfie.

Now that you have a mailing list, you can also notify them when your next book event takes place. And it’s sure to be even better than your first one. Throwing your first book launch party is always the most difficult. But perhaps these rules will make it easier (and more successful).


If you’re a self-publishing author who is finding it difficult to “get your book out there,” reserving 5 hours with a Personal Marketing Assistant may make all the difference.  We can help you even if you didn’t publish with Outskirts Press, the #1-rated self-publishing company according to Top Consumer Reviews.

 

Self-Publishing Mistakes You Can Avoid

If you’ve spent much time with your latest manuscript, you may have begun to notice that certain errors are both easy to make and easy to miss when revising. This is true of the self-publishing process. If you want to be taken seriously as an author, a professional author with a successful book, there are some common mistakes you can easily avoid when self-publishing your book.

Here are five recommendations to get you started:

1) Don’t feel pressured into formatting the interior yourself!

Just as our beloved Dr. McCoy on Star Trek had to remind his fellow adventurers often that he was a doctor, not a physicist (or engineer, or bricklayer, or a myriad other things), let us remind you that you’re a writer, not a book designer. (Unless you actually do design books for a living. In which case, move on to the second point.) There are few things as time-consuming as researching the stringent requirements of each publishing medium (print and digital) and then finding the software and the time to do it right. When it comes to book interiors, it’s best to leave this task to the professionals and focus your time on writing and promoting your book.

2) Invest in a Professionally Designed Custom Cover.

Most readers do, in fact, judge a book by its cover, so having an eye-catching, quality cover that professionally represents your book is essential. Most template covers will look and feel like cookie cutter designs with no effort put into them, even if you make small changes to it. It’s worth your while to invest in a professionally designed, dynamic custom cover unique to your book.

3) Don’t (just) edit the book yourself!

No matter how great of a writer you are, or how excellent of an editor you are of other peoples’ works, you cannot edit your own book! It is far too easy to miss mistakes because you are too familiar with your work, even if you take all possible precautions, like reading the whole manuscript aloud to yourself. No: when it comes to editing, this task requires a professional. And even if you are a professional editor, it requires someone who is not you and who will not be bogged down by the human brain’s predilection to fill in gaps when it knows where a story is headed. Those gaps may not matter to your subconscious, but they will most definitely matter to your readers! Pay for top-notch editing services in addition to your other beta readers, if you can; this means using a professional editor and not your sister-in-law or next-door neighbor.

4) Don’t neglect the back cover.

Once your manuscript is ready to go, as well as your front cover and interior formatting, and you are in all other ways ready to self-publish your book, one of the first things you’ll be asked for is your back cover synopsis and author biography. This isn’t something which can be rushed, unfortunately, so take a moment to slow down and breathe. Don’t just throw something together without much thought! Readers will look at your back matter and determine whether or not they should buy your book. Everything counts, from an ISBN number to a well-edited synopsis to a visually appealing author photo. Consult an expert if you need one!

5) Last but not least, don’t rush.

This may be the last recommendation on our list today, but it’s most definitely not one to be tacked on like an afterthought. In fact, learning how not to rush through the process may be the most important of all of the points we’ve included here today! Sure, you are anxious to self-publish your book (and we’re eager to help you do so speedily as well), but don’t rush. Producing a quality book, one with a great cover and copyedited pages, simply takes time. It’s a reasoned process! Be patient now, and considered in all of your decisions, and you will be glad you did once you have a finished, published, beautiful book to be proud of.

There are many great self-publishing success stories! You can be one of them by avoiding these mistakes and following the recommendations. Visit us online at www.outskirtspress.com to chat with a Publishing Consultant or call us at 1-888-672-6657 to find out how to finish your manuscript and get it ready for publication.

Why Your Book is Like a Start-Up Business

Have you recently self-published a book? The more time you spend exploring your options and opportunities, the clearer it becomes that self-publishing a book is a lot like launching a start-up business … and that the more you plan, the more you’ll get ahead.

There are countless considerations and decisions to make once you make that big commitment to self-publish! And if your new book is your new business, you need to keep many things in mind prior to, during, and after publication. First off, you absolutely must take some time to sit down and plan out your next steps. Planning is something you’ll need to return to, as well, throughout the process! Taking time periodically to evaluate, and possibly re-evaluate your plan, is necessary to ensure that you are still on the right track.

Looking for some ideas to get started? Ask yourself these questions and you may just find the answer that will keep your book, and you as an author, in business for a very long time:

  1. What business are you in? This is an important initial question and everything you do should build from this. What things are you interested in? Will your book be a product of your interests? This question may seem deceptively simple, but it’s foundational to literally everything else.
  2. What is your product? Again, this may seem like a simple question but it really isn’t. Can you describe your book as if it were a product? What are its major features? Is your book a niche product?
  3. What are your goals and objectives? Determining where you want your book-as-a-business to go is an important step when starting off. Consider if you want to market this book locally, regionally, nationally, or even globally. Set goals for yourself and for the sale of the book itself. Sit down every now and then and find out if those goals are reasonable, or perhaps they need to be changed.
  4. Who do you want to buy your book? Every business needs a target market. We all would love to say that everyone will be interested and want to buy our books, but the reality is that this is never, and will never be the case. Now is the time to think about who that market will be for you. Think about your customer’s characteristics, their geography, age, gender, possibly even their income status.
  5. Who’s your competition? Scope out your competition. Has someone written anything similar? Do some research at your local bookstores and libraries and find things out about other books that compare to yours.
  6. How will you price your book? Pricing is an integral part of being able to set a budget for your book. You don’t want to set the price too high, and you certainly don’t want to short-change yourself by setting it too low. Thinking of the previous question you asked yourself, consider your competitors when setting your price. When determining your budget, be sure to set this to your comfort level and to a price that marks it as a quality entry in the genre. Pricing and budget ought to be evaluated on a continual basis, as the market changes rapidly.
  7. What’s your inventory? The last thing you want to happen is to not have books available when a person wants to buy. On the other hand, you don’t want to have too many on-hand. Look into the advantages of print-on-demand (POD) publishing, and make sure to inquire after discounted author copies!
  8. Have you crafted a strategy? Answering all of these questions can generate some complicated, even overwhelming to-dos, but crafting an overarching strategy to cope with your new business responsibilities is a vital part of the process. Start by taking all of these questions and letting them percolate for a while. Everything that follows needs to go hand-in-hand with the answers to achieve all of the goals and objectives you set out to accomplish
  9. What’s next? Usually, the fun part: marketing! There are so many things that go into marketing your book and your business, including creating your brand, launching promotions, sales, and advertising as well as navigating distribution channels and much more. Create a plan that satisfies all these things, and all things you want to do to market your creation. Where do you want to make your book available for purchase? Who will sell your book? What avenues do you want to use to advertise your book?

Always be sure to keep in touch with your fans and followers. After the success you’re bound to have with your latest book, you’re going to write many more … right? Keeping in touch with your fans will make selling that next book that much easier.

Need help? Our Personal Marketing Assistants are ready and eager to help you figure out the perfect way to build your self-publishing business! You can also get fresh marketing ideas any time in the FREE Book Marketing Resource Center.

How To Craft the Perfect Holiday-Themed Book

It’s almost December, and that means one thing is most definitely on everyone’s minds: the holidays. We’re in the final stretch to Christmas, with New Year’s already peeking in over the horizon. And while it may be too late to crank out an entire new holiday-themed book for publication by Christmas, this does make the perfect time to talk about what it is that actually makes for a successful holiday-themed writing project! After all, the good thing about the calendar is that it keeps bringing the good things back around again, year after year.

There are two key things to keep in mind that are specific to writing holiday-themed books: saturation and genre. Genre is important because there are several which are known for holiday-themed installments, particularly romance, non-fiction and children’s picture books. The first two provide opportunities for additions to ongoing series, featuring beloved characters or ideas but with bonus added holiday appeal, while holiday-themed children’s picture books offer bountiful opportunities for rich illustrations! And while any genre can definitely be enriched with a little extra holiday appeal, you will have to choose between writing in a genre where your book will have lots of competition but also a massive built-in readership, and writing in a genre where you will be the innovator and trend-setter. Pick wisely, and with your heart!

Secondly, when we use the word saturation here, we refer to the degree to which the holidays figure in your book. It is vital as you set out to craft a holiday-themed book that you don’t get so carried away including festive imagery and festive language and festive references to Frosty the Snowman and so forth that you forget all of the other vital elements of craft: plot, characterization, style, and voice to name a few. It’s best to set a couple of guidelines for yourself going in, to outline––even if you don’t outline your entire book––the specifics of what will give your book a holiday appeal. Before you pick up your pen or open your laptop.

Keep these two guiding stars in your constellation of inspiration, and you’ll produce a book which has massive sales potential around the holidays––and which will also hold lasting appeal, regardless of the season!

Not sure where to start? It may be time to lean on an expert. If you’re looking to write and publish a holiday-themed book, there’s never a better time than now to inquire. Visit us online at www.outskirtspress.com where you can chat with a Publishing Consultant or call us at 1-888-672-6657.

To see our staff picks of amazing holiday books from many of our authors, visit our Pinterest page by clicking here.

Announcing the New & Improved Marketing COACH

Long before Outskirts Press became the fastest-growing self-publishing company and became rated #1 by Top Consumer Reviews, we were doing something differently, something better: We were taking a serious interest in the success of our authors and their books after publication by providing each and every published author with consistent online advice, coaching, and help — the acronym for which we trademarked as The Marketing COACH.

Browse our testimonials or talk to our published authors through our Facebook community and you’ll consistently find rave reviews for this exclusive (and included) marketing offering from Outskirts Press.

Well, the Marketing COACH is about to get even better!  In January, the New & Improved Marketing COACH is launching for all our published and soon-to-be-published authors. Now, fiction writers will get marketing advice geared just for them, while children’s book writers will receive marketing tactics focused on promoting their juvenile books.  Different genres require different marketing tactics, and the New & Improved Marketing COACH will only send you the marketing information you need for YOUR book.

Of course, if you’ve published multiple books, in multiple genres, as so many of our authors have, the Marketing COACH will help you with each genre you’ve published under, from among four encompassing categories:

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The New & Improved Marketing COACH joins the extensive array of included (free) book marketing support provided to all Outskirts Press authors, like…

  • The Free Book Marketing Resource and Bookshelf
  • The Book Marketing RoadMap and Tip Sheets
  • The 7 Tactics of Successfully Published Authors
  • The 28 Day Launch Calendar

If you’re an Outskirts Press author, keep a look out for your first contact from your New Marketing COACH during the week of January 9th. Happy holidays!

Does your book say BUY ME?

Picture your customer. They’re scrolling through books on Amazon, looking for a good weekend read. They stop and look at your book, pulled in by the perfect cover design. They take a sip of their coffee and click for a closer look, to see if what you’ve written is something they’d like to invest their time and money in.

Now what do you envision? Do they add your book to their cart…or do they move on to the next book in their search results?

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If your front cover is your book’s first impression, your back cover synopsis is a very valuable second; you’re targeting your reader, pulling them in, and convincing them that this is a book worth investing in. One typo or missing element could make the difference between your sales being “okay” and “wow!”

And, it’s important to realize that “back cover synopsis” content isn’t solely for the actual back cover — it is also the “sales copy” (otherwise called “the annotation”) for the detailed sales page on sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  If you believe people will never see your “back cover synopsis” because people don’t see back covers of books anymore, think again.  Most book buyers thoroughly read the “sales copy” of the books they are considering.

Yes, you can write your own back cover copy, but should you?  Writing something that educates or entertains is different from writing something that sells. As a professional author, it’s important to know when to ask for help.

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The skilled team behind the “Cover Text Refinement Option” at Outskirts Press knows what it takes to transform a browser into a buyer. With this optional production option, you’re telling your readers that your book is worth their time and money because you’ve made it the best it can possibly be, both inside and out.

While editing your back cover synopsis is important and sets the tone for the rest of the book, that’s only a piece of the puzzle. The Outskirts Press copywriters will do what it takes to hook your readers by professionally summarizing your manuscript and creating an eye-catching headline and compelling author biography.

You’ve written the book you’ve been thinking about for years – don’t let your hard work go unnoticed. An amazing back cover and sales annotation can make the difference between someone scrolling past your book…and someone buying it.