Book production costs can be steep for first-time independent writers who want to publish their own books. In fact, book production can cost independent writers two to three times as much money as it would cost big-name publishing houses to print the same books.
Why? Due to economies of scale, big publishers pay significantly less for print runs because they publish so many books per year. Conversely, most authors rely on print on demand services, which print single books at a time.
As a result of high production costs, many authors resort to pricing their books at levels higher than comparable mainstream publishers, which is a classic rookie mistake in the book industry. The reason: book buyers will rarely want to pay double the price for a book from an unknown, unestablished author. Instead, most buyers will opt to buy a cheaper book from a more established writer and reputable book company. Furthermore, the act of outpricing a mainstream publisher feeds into the bias that self-published authors are illegitimate and untested.
To help writers keep their books at market prices, independent authors can use a few time-tested strategies:
On the surface, many print service providers appear to charge similar amounts for printing services. However, book production costs can vary widely after independent authors closely analyze the printing fees offered by different production companies. Since printing prices fluctuate so often, we recommend that writers create price comparison charts for each company as it will be useful to look at several fees offered by printers, including: setup fees, per-page fees, shipping fees, per-copy fees, book design fees, production costs per copy and cost per author copies.
Get a printer with an Amazon relationship.
While several print service providers have online bookstores, none of their online merchant services receive as much traffic as Amazon. When shopping for print service providers, make sure that they have seller relationships with Amazon.
Keep publisher costs low.
To minimize costs, buy a basic printing service package and try to do as many production tasks yourself as you can. Try to manage everything yourself without interference from your book publisher, but remember, do not skimp on production on the book cover because a bad book cover can give the impression that the book was cheaply published by an amateur.
Remember to negotiate costs.
Printing businesses like Lulu frequently offer special deals on their services–find those opportunities and negotiate better deals. Lulu in particular may be able to give authors better printing deals than the competition. If they can’t offer your special offers, ask for free author copies of your book at the very least. You’ll need those copies when you shop you book to local bookstores.