Hi, I’ve just published my book at £6.99 for the book itself, but found that even through Completely Novel a charge of £3.35 for postage is applied, so the cost for anybody wanting to buy the book through Completely Novel (which may have to be the case due to the cost of doing it through a retailer) would be £10.34. Not even friends and family are going to be generous enough to buy it at that sort of price (it’s also only 344 pages so they would feel even more cheated when they got the actual book)
I also bought an ISBN for the book specifically so I could have it on Amazon, but now find that I can’t set the price lower than £9.40- again, taking into account postage and whatever other costs and hidden costs are applied, no one is going to purchase at that sort of price.
I can’t say how disappointed I am with the whole setup- I’ve now paid for a Pro package, I’ve paid for an ISBN, and the only way I can see to try and make the book (semi) affordable is set the price close to the printing cost so I actually make literally a few pence per copy. So I’d have to sell an awful lot of copies each month to make back all this money!
Really starting to wish I’d never embarked on the whole endeavour as I can’t see any way of marketing a smallish novel at these ridiculous sorts of prices!
I’m sure others must have had similar experiences, would be interested to know how you dealt with them.
I think you have to bear in mind what we’re actually doing here. We’re sitting at our computers doing something that only a few years ago would have been impossible – writing books and getting them published with a few mouse clicks, and printed in low volumes or even single copies. Of course you can’t do that and be competetive with large publishers printing hundreds or thousands of copies.
The big problem is shipping costs. Have you thought of buying multiple copies of your book and distributing them yourself? This brings the unit cost per copy down considerably.
I use print on demand to get copies of my poetry books printed and order around 25 copies at a time, which I can then sell at readings and performances.
Thanks for your reply. I guess buying in bulk and doing the distribution myself may be the only way, in some cases as I know the buyers I can give them in person and avoid them having to pay anything extra.
I think the postage charge doesn’t seem particularly accurate certainly for my own book, it’s a medium to small paperback and I know for a fact it can go via Royal Mail normal post for around £1.50 rather than the £3.65 or so charged by C.M. Unfortunately that £2 or so makes all the difference to the affordability- people don’t (and shouldn’t) expect to pay over £10 for a modest-sized paperback.
Guess I’ll have to look at bulk purchase and do it myself. Good tip. :)
Bit worried about my next one in the series as this is probably going to be around 50% bigger so the cost for that will be tricky even if buying in bulk. Might even have to consider an (even) smaller font!
Thanks for the idea anyway, will probably have to go down that route.
I understand your frustration. An option of an economy postage choice would help the situation. However, I am a newcome to completelynovel and I am trying it out because the postage rates (certainly for multiple orders) are so much better then my previous publishing route (Blurb), so I don’t know if you’ll find anywhere cheaper. My own books are slim volumes, slightly less to ship then yours, but still nearly £3.00, a lot for a single book.
Some great answers above. Just a couple of quick points to add to this:
Postage fees include the printer’s cost for sending the book out, which explains the difference from Royal Mail postage fees, though this is a standard rate regardless of the number of books, so ordering lots at once if you can really does help.
Different site users have different strategies when it comes to sales – Fiona, for example, has built up a relationship and negotiated with her local bookshop to sell her books for her as they are about the local area.
Simon Unwin makes a good point above that you can’t really have print-on-demand AND economies of scale so per unit costs are always going to be a bit higher than mass produced paperbacks in bookshops and/or supermarkets where they are sometimes even sold as loss leaders. You could go down the route of having thousands printed yourself, but most companies offering this service charge set up fees of hundreds or even thousands of pounds and charge you for warehousing and then pulping them at the end if you don’t sell them all, which works out as much more expensive and isn’t great for the environment either!
Finally, the price set for books sold through retail channels (if you are on the Pro Plan) is to cover the retailer charges and is set to be as low as it can be, without allowing you to make a loss on your book.
Hi Georgina, thanks for replying. Looks like I have an option for friends and family which, as Simon suggested, would be to purchase a certain number myself and sell them on in person at a reasonable price.
Regarding selling through Amazon and Completelynovel, that’s going to be tough offering the book at around £10 when it’s as small as it is, but if nothing can be done I guess I’ll just have to sell what I can. Looks like I’ll probably have to sell about 9 or 10 a month (minimum) to cover my fees. Will also have to think seriously about the size of the sequel… a work of fiction should in my view always be as big or as small as it wants to be, but I might have to divide it up a bit more… or choose a smaller font!
Thanks for the replies anyway. :)