A Little Times a Lot

The latter measure remains to be seen, but hopefully, sales of SRH via a wider distribution will eventually net a bit of return. I’m in a better position to see how that will shake out, now that for the first time, my “publisher’s compensation” page on the Lightning Source site shows some books have been ordered. Here’s how it shakes out.

Retail price: $15.95
Wholesale price: $7.18 (at 55% discount, a pretty standard expectation)
Printing cost per book: about $4
My profit per book: about $3.25

This seems pretty sad compared to what I net from direct sales (if you don’t count my time or the cost of gasoline for travel or depreciation on the car, or…) But even so, compared to the return per book of 4 to 7.5% in royalties I’d expect if I had gotten the book out through a publisher, this 20 percent return isn’t bad. And it requires no more time or effort on my part than to keep the records I’ll be sent (and deposit the check) at the end of each month.

So where to go with the color image book? Lightning Source can print them. These folks can do it cheaper with long-established presses in Canada and China.

How will I see how each image comes through the printing process without a direct proof of each page? The way it looks on my monitor may be way different from how it comes out on paper. With a publisher and graphic person to communicate with, this would we far easier. Should I then think about pitching this to a publisher, knowing if I pull it off, I might make less than a dollar a book?

Sorry. Just thinking out loud this morning. This is all new country for me and I’m a little unsure where I’m going in it. It’s nice to have your company.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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