Choosing a Book Self Publishing Partner

I have decided to self publish my book starting with the Indian market. My main reason is that I want the control to manage the book into launch. Also time is important but traditional publisher such as Harper Collins suggest that it would take at least five to six months for your manuscript to be considered. I just don’t want to wait that long.

Deepak helpfully broke down the Publishing Process as follows ;

  1. Design a Book Cover
  2. Proof Read and Edit the Book
  3. Get an ISBN number
  4. Set the layout of the pages.  Get the output format ready according to publication required for print, for Kindle ebook, for Apple iBook etc.
  5. Print & Release the book online ready for sale and anyone should be able to order your book and get it.

Luckily I have done the first two. After a hesitant start I designed a book cover in record quick time and asked Keri Webster my incredible copy writer to help edit the book with Meha Kapoor checking the Hinglish.  Armed with some questions from Helen Sedwick lets look at what’s left…

ISBN

This is the unique number by which the book is identified worldwide. There are many reasons why you should have an ISBN but for me a book is simply a brochure or a long essay without it. An ISBN can be bought obtained directly from the Indian government*. The Educreation Do It Yourself Service (which is about 9 pounds) offers a ISBN Assignment (15 pounds) which is cheapest way to get this achieved.

Edit, Print and Warehouse

Although I shall happily also sell eBooks, the venture needs to have a physical product for me to give away at events. The last thing however I want to be doing is posting out books and managing inventory. I don’t want to do it for T-shirts and certainly not books.

Release

For me the place for my books is Amazon and Flipkart. Way back I was explaining the book idea to Ben Musgrave and he was enthusiastic saying he could imagine my book sitting alongside other management books with street vendors in Delhi’s CP and Indian train stations. What a dream – which Educreation claims to fulfil (subject to online sales).

Money

This covers the price the company charges you per copy of the book and ultimately what royalties. I have long ago given up any thought that this will be a profitable venture. So I am focused on the price the self-publishing company charges me per book which is roughly a pound for 6″9″ (because that was size of the book cover) and 65 pages.

  • Pothi Rs 139
  • White Falcon Rs 89
  • educreation Rs 66

The contract exclusivity and termination

All the companies I am looking at leave the manuscript ownership in my hands. None talk about creative commons. Termination can take about 48 hours which seems reasonable.

How long will it take to produce my book?

I recently told the world that I would be published by the 15th Jan 2015. It’s nearly November and I am procrastinating choosing a publisher by writing this blog. Luckily each of the companies say the elapsed time is 3-4 weeks. This seems fairly standard but worth checking.

Who will guide me and what is their track record ?

Helen points out that you might end up talking to a call centre “but keep in mind that some companies actually employ publishing industry professionals”. So I decided to prod online and call each company I was evaluating.

A linkedin search of Educration gave me nothing and their Facebook has less that 600 likes. This didn’t fill me confidence. However I called up and spoke to an employee called Shiv who knew that I had been on their website. Impressive. He struggled with my accent (who doesn’t) but seemed knowledgable. Then I found the company owner Ankur Tiwari online a chap who’s own book could have been research for mine.

White Falcon didn’t pick up and Pothi didn’t seem to have a telephone line.

To Sum Up

I am confused. Can’t you tell ?  I really want a company that creates quality printed books and drop-ships from orders placed on Amazon and FlipCart. I am going to sign up and continue to explore my options. However (and this isn’t me just asking cause its a blog) how on earth would you decide ?

*Updated based on comments received. Thanks Amar Vyas.

kavitakapoor

Kavita is CEO at What'sMySize. She writes about technology and business. She is mostly based in London. You can contact her directly or via twitter (kavitakapoor)

One thought on “Choosing a Book Self Publishing Partner

  • 29/10/2015 at 2:15 pm
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    Hi Kavita

    Interesting post and I can relate to a lot of questions that you have.
    For ISBN: ISBN in India is managed by govt of India agency. http://mhrd.gov.in/sites/upload_files/mhrd/files/upload_document/isbnproforma-revised.pdf
    You can fill the form and mail them. You get ISBN for free.
    If you dont get ISBN in time gou will have to apply for a waiver (at least in case of amazon)
    Printing of books: prices look competitive. I interviewed somebody for my podcast who can get printing at 30 paisa per page or abt 66 odd Rupees for a 200 page novel. They also do distribution through amazon/flipkart. (I do not have any affiliation nor do I get any commission from them).
    Have you looked at Cinnamon Teal as another option? In my case my printer was based near Gurgaon and he dropped off the books to amazon warehouse near gurgaon. Beat thing in terms of logistics but at 150 rupees a copy quite expensive.
    Hope that helps!

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