Monday, November 14, 2011

Reviewer's Tip - Who is Your Publisher/Printer?

This is really a marketing tip, not a reviewing tip, but what the heck, I'll put it under our regular column name.

I've just returned from a 3-day book signing at a large (100,000 people over 4 days) annual event.  I attend every year and have a regular following there - which is always nice.  I sell a LOT of books.  I'm not bragging, but rather making a point.  The reason I mention this is because I've done my homework and found events that are targeted to my reading audience.  While at this signing, I had two authors visit me at my booth, authors who had been sent to me by people who knew me/knew of my success. 

These two authors had both self-published but were not enjoying robust sales.  The reason?  Both needed to study their market/niche to get a better feel for where to sell their books, but more importantly, both books were priced too high.  And the reason they were priced high?  Both authors had used AuthorHouse to print their books.  This vanity (or subsidy) press is not a true printer but rather a "publisher" with a very high cost to book ratio.  One author didn't understand the difference between "Publisher" and "Printer" while the other was simply anxious to learn how I printed my books so inexpensively (compared to her).  She thought it was a secret, that these inexpensive printers were hidden from self-publishers.  Her 80 page book cost her $10/book to print!  Gulp!  How on earth can you sell these books and a) get anyone to pay what you have to sell them for and b) make anything remotely resembling a profit?

I gave both authors a quick lesson on how to find "real" book printers, how to get a quote, what sort of print runs they needed to get the price down and sent them on their way.  Hopefully their next books/print runs will do much better.  The lesson?  Do you homework BEFORE you print your book!