In my last entry I discussed the process I have to go through to get Animal Soul produced through a publisher, now I'll go through what it takes to do it myself. Mind you, this is really just a summary, there is so much more to it.
- As opposed to going through a publisher, here I would need to be in charge of every element of the production process, or pay others to handle certain tasks. There is considerably more risk involved with this track, not to mention a huge amount of work.
- The first order of business would be to get a working draft of the book, the details of this process I highlighted in this post. Then I send it to a print-on-demand service just to get a hard copy to show around. I will then show it to as many people as I can and request they spend a certain amount of time with the book, write down their most honest comments and return them to me. I will compile all the comments, compliments and criticisms in one place and draw up a sort of market research analysis from this.
- Once I am almost certain of what the final book will need to look like, in terms of trim size, amount of pages, layout, text, photos used etc, I will be able to approach an industrial-scale printer. I will sit with a representative from the print company and work out what the final edition of my book would cost me, per copy. A benefit of this track is that I will have full creative control over how the book ends up looking.
- With the printing price in mind I can start working out my business plan. I need to consider distribution, which looks to be quite complicated without a publisher's network. I've only done some surface level research so far, but what I have discovered hasn't been pretty. The cut amazon takes for storing, selling and shipping each book is so high that I would effectively be incurring a major loss on each copy. The best option so far seems to be to sell it directly through my own website, and store all the copies in my studio, I just don't know yet what shipping would cost for a book of this weight, especially if it is being sent to the U.S or to the far east.
- Once I have a concrete business plan which involves costs, distribution, projected figures and so on, I can approach sponsors. For this, there are two options: a private sponsor or crowdfunding. I honestly prefer crowdfunding, it could be a lot of fun and I would offer some great perks for those contributing a higher amount to the project, including me traveling to their houses (anywhere in the world) to photograph their animals.
- After I have secured the necessary funds, I will send all the copies of Animal Soul to the backers, depending on the perk-packages they have opted for. The remaining copies will be listed for sale on my site and on any site that can offer me a reasonable enough cut for me to sell the book at a normal price and not incur a loss.
This is not about profit for me. I have long since accepted that there isn't too much money to be made. I just want to create a beautiful book to share with anyone who loves animals as much as I do. My primary concern is selling the book at a reasonable price. I do not want it to be expensive, the price point I have in mind is sitting at about €35, but this all depends on the the conclusions I can draw from my business plan.
I wouldn't know how to start marketing for a crowdfunding campaign, but rest assured, I won't start before I know exactly what the game plan is and what I would do with any sum of money that comes my way.
Keep an eye on this blog for updates. If you just want to know when the book is released and aren't too concerned about the details, fill in your name and email here and be notified when it's out.
I think the main conclusion I can draw from the self publish versus commercial publisher debate is that I honestly still know nothing and cannot make a decision yet.