INDIE VS SELF-PUBLISHING
DOING THE MATHS
Making the decision whether to self-publish or query for a contract with an independent publisher is generally a dilemma for new authors. Often doing the maths is waived in favour of the perceived benefits of being traditionally published, so here is quick guide to the cost/benefits of each – and some pros and cons too. The numbers may surprise you!
At the end of the article, we explain why working with BooksOffice is different – whether you self-publish and use our marketing and sales support, or become an author on our imprint
Below are the approximate figures for the following scenarios – click on the links to view
PLEASE NOTE: These are the figures we have taken from a number of larger digital imprints. Terms obviously vary and the royalty rate here of 25% to the author is a fairly standard one. This figure may rise on volume sales, but the numbers are indicative. This is focused on eBook sales which tend to be the majority sales for Indie and self-published authors since volume print sales in fiction are generally through bricks & mortar stores and the openings are biased towards authors with major publishers. We’re also looking at Amazon specifically since it still dominates eBook sales.
1. Working with an Indie Publisher
3. Comparison Revenue Table Indie vs. Self
Publishing Contract with an Independent Publisher
1. PRICING: Your publisher will take control of this. The yellow bands are prices that tend to be average for Indies. The £0.99 price point is considered a volume generator – but the high cost of payment processing for small amounts is why Amazon takes a whopping 65% of revenue at this price point.
This means you’re left with just £0.09 per book after your publisher deducts their percentage (and 15% less if you also have an agent)
It’s worth bearing this is mind as your publisher receives 3x as much as you do (they’re picking up costs they have to cover)
2. REVENUES: As you’ll see, the net amount you’ll bring in at the lower price points isn’t significant until you’re selling high quantities.
To put that in context, a successful Indie writer will average 10k-15k copies. This makes pricing a fine balance. You need to ideally stay above £0.99, but as Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited offer puts huge pressure on price for Indies, this is difficult to achieve – and your publisher may focus on volume boosts to reach target promotion levels in Amazon’s algorithms to recoup their costs.
1. PRICING: One of the big benefits of self-publishing is control over pricing and promotions. Beware of getting a reputation as a 99p author. It’s tempting to price low to attract readers, but bestselling authors maintain higher pricing at approx. £3.99 and use incentives to boost sales. Remember, most readers won’t know you’re new! Also remember if you opt in to Kindle Unlimited, you will only be paid by the number of pages read – and readers often swap out titles rapidly to stay within their 10-a-month book limit.
2. PRODUCT COSTS: This may be a big hurdle for you – but also critical in making you successful. A great book cover can make all the difference in engaging a potential reader – and bad editing can ruin your reputation. These costs can vary dramatically, so research well to give yourself a decent chance of success.
2. REVENUES: You need to generate a decent number of sales to start making a profit. This means research, planning and a well-thought out launch campaign. Once you achieve this, the rewards of being self-published are signficantly higher than with an Indie Publisher.
Comparison Table Indie vs. Self-Publishing
1. SAFETY VS. RISK: Considering a decision to work with an Independent Publisher really comes down to evaluating risk. With a publisher the two significant costs you face as a self-published author are taken care of – design of the book cover and professional editing of your book. When you factor these in as you can see from the table on the left, you will probably be in the red as a self-published author until you get to a minimum of 1,000 sales. BUT if you do get past the break even point, the financial rewards can be significantly higher if you go it ‘alone’. And bear in mind that these costs don’t include any impact of the dreaded ‘M’ word – marketing! It’s a tough choice when you look at these two comparisons – HINT – there is a third day, with BooksOffice, but before we look at that, read the following paragraph about Marketing
2. MARKETING: Most authors dread the thought or marketing their books. You’re a writer – and you just want to write, right?! But if you think that an Indie publisher is going to have that all taken care of, think again. The reality is, that regardless of going it alone or being with an Indie, you’re going to have to do some marketing. Developing a social media presence and creating awareness and supporting promotions are still going to be required as a so-called ‘published author’. Sure, your publisher will put some support in place and obviously they will do the work in terms of distribution, but you’ll still have a commitment to helping generate sales. More on what we can do to help in the section below, but unless you secure a contract with a major publisher, the bitter pill is, marketing is a must. So we’ll do our best to make that easier and more fun!
Decisions, decisions… or a different way? Welcome to BooksOffice…
CHANGING THE RULES
At BooksOffice we work, play and pay a different way
The team behind BooksOffice has spent a great deal of time looking at the current author’s and books landscape and examining the challenges of Indie Published and Self-Published authors. What we have now – and are further developing – is a platform with effective solutions to address those challenges.
So with Booksoffice, we can work together BOTH ways
1. Join us as a self-published author
We’re here to help you with information, advice and you can choose what you want to use from our Marketing ToolBox – which we will carry on growing. There are unique and creative opportunities you won’t find anywhere else.
2. Apply to become a BooksOffice Published Author
Working with us as a BooksOffice published author will give you more freedom, more fun and you’ll be able to keep more of your hard earned money than with a typical Independent Publisher.
THE NEW MATHS – Publishing Contract with BooksOffice
Below is our table showing the returns possible working with us as your imprint – the BIG DIFFERENCE is that we only take 30 – 50% (depending on the package deal we offer) of your net revenues whereas a typical Indie Publisher will take approximately 75% – AND we will still deal with your book cover and final editing.
1. PRICING: Whilst we will make recommendations about pricing, we’ll also consult with you. And we will aim to push your pricing up and not stay in the 99p trap. We will be aiming to, at a minimum, triple the amount you earn per book compared to an Indie publisher.
2. REVENUES: Keeping your price point up is critical to making your career financially successful – just a cursory look at the difference between £1 and £2 tells you just what a difference this can make. Whilst selling at low price points undoubtedly opens up the promotional scene – it’s also very costly to process payments on micro-payments. Achieving a better balance is key.
Add to that and taking away the burden of cover design and editing means you’ll start making money from your sales earlier and quicker.
We’re here to help you win.
Comparison Table BooksOffice Published vs. Self-Publishing with BooksOffice Support
1. FIGURES SHOWN AT 70%: The figures show are at an offer with you taking 70%. This is based on our package to a series author who needs less support from us. Our max package includes a dedicated manager to support your marketing and author development and in this scenario we split the net commissions 50%.
2. REDUCING RISK & IMPROVING REWARDS: Publishing with us gives you a safer option as well as competing with the self-published rewards – but we’ll also work with you to give you a leg up when it comes to going it alone – in fact, one of the keys to our strategy, is that as a self-published author on BooksOffice, we’ll do our best to make sure you’re not alone. Better, broader and more efficient marketing and the backing of a team and sales & marketing tools to keep you motivated and supported will make the challenges seem less daunting
3. QUALIFYING AS A BOOKSOFFICE AUTHOR : We can’t take on everyone under our imprint, so you will still have to submit. But for us, the door is always open and if we don’t have the resources straight away, rest assured that we’re watching. So our advice – damn well publish anyway! BooksOffice has a wealth of reader feedback tools and we are keeping our eye open for star authors. Do your research, prepare for a bright future – there’s a ton of information on the internet and on here to help you. Get involved in our collaborative programmes and explore the Marketing ToolBox