In October of 2016 my first trade book will be available, PR Matters: A Survival Guide for Church Communicators.
After working with several different publishers to produce and distribute this book, I decided that the best option is to self-publish. This may not be the best option for everyone, but it has been for me.
Ultimately, as a first time author, the offers from publisher’s were not very beneficial. Without any guarantees on sales, publisher’s simply don’t want to risk much up front.
The options for a first time author are:
A) The publisher covers all costs up front and usually retains some exclusive rights to the book. The author then gets anywhere from 5% to 20% of the book sales ($0.75 to $3 per book sold).
B) The author and publisher split the up-front costs. The ownership of the book varies by publisher, and in these cases the author can earn as much as 50% of book sales but it’s typically 20% to 30%.
In either of these cases there is no guarantee your book will sell in physical stores, only Amazon.com and the like. And it’s difficult to get a publisher to put additional marketing dollars towards your book campaign as well. They are very reliant on your own network and platform to get the word out.
As it turns out at this stage I have more to offer them, so I’ve decided to go about it on my own.
Having worked on about a dozen book campaigns already, I’m very familiar with the process and the costs.
Because I’m self-publishing, that means I have to pick up all of the production costs on my own. Surprisingly this has been a fairly stress free experience, and costs a lot less than you’d expect. Finding uninterrupted time to write has been my biggest challenge.
The upside is that I get to keep 100% of the profits from each sale, and I retain ownership of my work. Not a bad trade-off when you see the actual costs below.
I’m sharing these expenses below in order that this might be helpful for other first time authors, and so that you are fully informed when making the decision as to whether or not you should pre-order my book now. I hope to recoup the majority of the production costs during the pre-sale of this book.
I appreciate you ordering the book now, buying packs of books for your teams, and for anything you can do to spread the word.
How Much Does It Cost to Publish a Book?
Editing & Proofing – $3000
While I’ve done the writing and layout of the book myself, a professional editor is taking what I’ve written and checking it for grammar, spelling, overall flow and comprehension. They’ll take two passes at the book, making suggestions for improvement each time. Finally, once I’ve finished making their changes and fixing any issues, a second person will proof the book and give it one last review.
Design – $500
I created the design used in all of the marketing of the book, but a professional designer will complete the final work and branding. Just because this is a self-funded Christian book doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t look its best.
Ebook Conversion – $500
It takes quite a bit of work to tweak the layout and make changes to the book’s formatting so that it not only looks good on Kindle devices and apps, but also on the iBooks app and others. This process is best left to the professionals, so the last step in the production of this book will be paying an editor to convert the final work into an eBook.
Total Cost = $4000
Once the book is complete there is no cost to submit it to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other booksellers, just my time. A printing service will print each book as it is ordered (and sometimes large batches of books based on orders), so there are no up front printing costs.
I will need to sell about 200 books to cover these costs before making any money off my work.
A Survival Guide for Church Communicators
from Justin Dean
Available October 2016
Is your church prepared to handle a crisis well? Do you have a plan in place for how to deal with negative comments on social media? Are you afraid to try new communications methods?
In PR Matters, Justin Dean provides practical advice on how to communicate the gospel well and reach more people in a world that wants Christians to be bland.