Sign up to the newsletter


I have self published, and ordered just fifty copies of my book, an autobiography.They have all been sold but I havent made ay money at all.I would like to ask if marketing and distributing myself I did the correct thing and sold the books for the price agreed on the cover £ 8:99.The whole process has cost £1000 I may have had a return of £400, I didnt write for the money return, but because I enjoyed writing, but is this usual when self publishing.I had great help from my publishers, the book was turned out very well I am pleased with everything.Is there a better way of selling,I posted most of my books and everyone paid for th P+P would it be better to leave the distribution to the publishers even if it costs considerably more?Would appreciate help with this.
regards Bernie

Asked by: Bernadette Ekberg

  1. Barry McComish on November 10, 2018

    If profit (or the eventual financial loss) is an issue or even just an annoyance, then maybe you need to look at your costs.

    Maybe you need a bigger print run - print more to reduce individual unit costs? Is £8.99 the right or a cost effective selling price? What is the cost of publishing/production per unit (per book) versus your selling price? Have you tried selling your book as an ebook/kindle version as well (no printing costs!)?

    As a very general rule of thumb, if your unit price is more than 25% of your selling price then you are never very likely to make a profit after costs and commissions etc. In your case, if your full publishing costs are more than £2.25 per unit then you need to look into your costs.

    If you are self-publishing, and have full control over the publishing process, shop around for more cost effective printers etc. Also, remember there are some costs which you will likely only need to pay for once (cover design, typsetting etc - if you have full control and the master document) which should reduced costs for additional print runs.

    The first printer I found was going to charge a total amount in excess of £2.50 per unit. With an appropriate selling price versus commissions, all postage and packaging costs etc it was a non-starter. It pays to shop around. I certainly did.

    Maybe you should consider FBA (Fulfilled By Amazon) which may contribute to reducing your costs as well so it may be worth looking into its viability. Although this may only be prudent if you expect quick and steady sales.

    I hope I added some benefit to this thread. Good luck!

  2. Jeremy Gavins on October 30, 2018

    There is something called print on demand, though I am not sure how you access it, then as you get orders you can have the books printed as needed.

  3. Bernadette Ekberg on October 29, 2018

    Thank you Jeremy and Lorraine for your answers.It is nice to know how other people have got on.I didnt write my book expecting a profit either, just the satisfaction has been wonderful.
    I think I should have left the marketing and distribution to the publishers on hind sight. I have sold privately and there are a few copies in a shop in the town where I have written about, Facebook didnt do much for me.
    I am thinking of ordering some more copies and maybe leave the hard work to the publishers.The problem is I reside in Sweden, this book is in English and I dont think the subject woud appeal to people here, although a lot of my former work friends have bought copies.I need more help in the UK I think, but I dont know how many copies I should order,not being too optimistic.Thank you both very much for your feedback,I appreciate everything.
    Best regards

  4. Jeremy Gavins on October 28, 2018

    Hi Bernie, I self published my memoir in May. So far I have sold 136 books through various outlets, self-selling, Amazon, YPD, Gardners, local bookshops and have made £1076.

    Adding up all my costs to date for printing 500 books, eBook conversion, proof reading, editing, training courses/workshops (all in London), mentoring and miscellaneous comes to a total of £4260. I wanted to make sure that my book was a good as could be.

    I have done Border TV and BBC2 interviews, local Radio, reviews and stories in my local press,
    Also joined Facebook and Twitter, but I am not sure I sell many through these 2. There are hundreds of free web book selling sites.

    If I sell all 500 books I may just about break even. So I try not think about profit and loss on material grounds

    I just thought it was important for myself personally and society in general that I got my life story out there, as a warning to all how a traumatic childhood could lead to a lifetime of mental and phyiscal health problems.

    I am proud of my achievement.

  5. Lorraine Swoboda on October 28, 2018

    Hi Bernie,
    It is almost impossible to advertise a self-published book widely without a decent budget. You could join Facebook groups that support writers, and let people plug their work, or if you have a Twitter account, plug it there; but how to bring it to the attention of the public is a challenge. Is there a paper in your area that does book reviews, and would be interested in a local author? Would your nearest bookshop sell it? (The one in the town where my novel is set wouldn't because I published through Amazon and they wouldn't make a profit, but your case is different.)

    Does your publisher have an advertising budget, and what would they be prepared to do for you? You need to enquire. It's unusual for a publisher to spend much on an unknown author, even though that seems counter-intuitive to us lowly writers. How can we sell more books, and so add to their profits, if they don't publicise them? It's all down to the bottom line. Do you sell on Amazon, and have people left reviews? You can cherry-pick phrases and put them in your book's blurb on there.

    Sorry I can't offer more help than this - it's a universal problem among us indie authors!


You must be logged in to post answers Log in