Once you have written your book there are lots of things to consider if you want to publish it.
ISBNs Libraries Marketing
Can I Make Money? What will it cost me? Legal deposit
Proof Reading Book Covers Why use Steve Barrett Books?
Can I Make Money?

Almost certainly not, although you never know. It's best to assume that you will actually lose money since it is unlikely that you will cover your production and marketing costs. Treat your writing as a hobby unless you do find that you are going to turn a profit.

Picking a cover price is extremely difficult. It's probably best to work out the cost of producing each copy of your book and then doubling that to give the cover price. You can always discount it. Booksellers will ask for something like 40% to 60% discount off of the cover price by the way. Delivery at your expense. Sale or return (at your expense). Stay local to start with or you will find that your costs start to escalate very quickly if you do manage to sell many books.

Fiction is generally more difficult to sell than factual books on a popular subject, by the way.

The best advice for budding authors who have a day job is not to give it up!

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What will it cost me?

Apart from a substantial investment of time and a computer, word processor or typewriter and paper, e-publishing now means that printing costs can be avoided unless you want to have a traditional, physical book. For the latter, the main cost is going to be printing. Expect to pay something like up to £1,000 for digital printing. This is much cheaper than traditional (litho) printing because the set-up costs incurred are greater for litho and these remain the same whether you are printing 100 or 10,000 books.

Our advice would be to ask for a quote based on 100 books to start with. You may find that it is more economical to print more covers than this - covers usually involve using colour and even with digital printing it can be a lot more economic to print a larger run of covers. If you sell out of your initial print run you can always order another one and use the excess covers from the first order.

There may be marketing costs to consider but it depends how seriously you want to push your book. You can add it to web sites like this one. We charge flat rate of £25 for set-up, others may offer their services free - but then what's in it for them? Probably a hefty commission on each sale. Of course if you are happy to set up your own web site then the cost will be mainly in time plus hardware and software if you don't already own it. 

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Legal deposit

If your book is printed in the UK you have a legal obligation to supply one copy to each of the national libraries in the UK, at your expense. You will need 6 copies in all for this, although you will probably find that the staff at the nearest national library will forward the other 5 for you. I dropped mine off at the British Library in London and they did this for me but it might depend on which member of staff you end up talking to!

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Proof reading

However many times you or other people read through your book there will almost certainly be some errors or things you want to change. You will not be a good proof reader of your own work because you think you know what it says and that's what you tend to "see" on the page.

This is another good reason to do a limited print run at first. I can guarantee that something will leap up at you from the first few pages of your pristine newly printed book. Accept that this is going to happen - life's too short!

We will proof read manuscripts e-mailed to us but we do make a charge for this based on the size of book - £10 for each 100 pages in the printed version (usually A5 size) or part thereof - so a book running to 250 A5 pages would cost you £30 for us to proof read.

We welcome manuscripts via email for free comment but this will not involve proof reading. We will however advise you honestly if we consider that the work needs extensive correction.

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You can spend a lot of time and money on a cover or it can be plain with just the title and author on the front. There is usually some "blurb" on the back too.

Unless you are artistic or can buy in expertise (or you have a talented relative or friend prepared to help out) it's best to keep things simple. If you use more than one colour (other than black or white) your printing costs for a traditional book may start to climb disproportionately by the way, so discuss this with your printer before you get too carried away.

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These are the unique numbers printed above a bar code on the back cover of the book. If you intend to sell through bookshops you will find that some shops will insist on a standard barcode, so again check that your printer is OK to produce these (not all of them are).

ISBNs have to be purchased (about £60 for a block of 10).

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A great way to get your work known is to offer free copies to public libraries. Don't be too offended if they refuse the offer though. They are often very pushed for shelf space.

Technically there is a payment (Public Lending Right, or PLR) made to authors based on the number of loans made but the amount is quite small and for most authors it will be zero! Don't make any retirement plans based on PLR!

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It's up to you how much or how little of this you do yourself or pay someone else to.

Some ideas to try: local newspapers, radio stations, maybe even TV - all worth a stamp or phone call. Local clubs and businesses/shops, especially if there is a tie-in with the subject of your book.

Local bookshops may be prepared to run a "book by local author" feature. Ask them.

The Internet can be a great publicity machine but remember it is VAST and there is an awful lot of competition out there.

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Why use Steve Barrett Books?

We have been through the self-publishing process personally and can offer you honest, free advice to help - even if you don't want to use our paid-for services.

We offer a sympathetic, honest - and free - appraisal of your work.

Our charges for adding your book to our site are reasonable:

a one-off set-up fee of £25

an optional proof-reading service at £10 per hundred A5 pages or part thereof

if you receive an offer from a mainstream publisher this will be great news for you. As your publisher we would require a fee from your new publisher - this would be negotiated at the time but would be based on actual sales