Saturday, 2 December 2017
Guest post: "Being your own Publisher" by Dr Jacqueline Jeynes, author and publisher
Fed up with hassles and restrictions when dealing with a publisher for your books? Me too, so I decided to do it myself. Five years ago, I would not have considered it – too difficult to reach group buyers, too much marketing effort needed – but now, your side of the bargain seems to be expanding while theirs shrinks and you are expected to do all this anyway.
Forget the “vanity publishing” tag – this is about becoming a professional publisher as well as an author. I am referring to non-fiction in this instance, as I do not write fiction, but many of the principles will still apply. There are three important elements to consider:
- ISBN – there is no point considering publishing unless there is an ISBN number. Most book shops will not stock without an ISBN and you need one to sell via sites such as Amazon. You usually buy them in a block of 10 for around £150, or you can now buy a single number, and register your details with Nielsen ISBN Agency for UK and Ireland. It is a simple process and they have lots of guidance online to help – see email@example.com . Once you register a title against a number, they include details on their own list that goes out to bookshops who can order online via Nielsen who pass the order on to you. You still have other numbers available, of course, so you can publish more titles in the future.
- Printing – the first book I published ‘Peg loom Weaving: all you need to know to get started’ ISBN 978-0-9926100-0-5 was A5/ full colour/ 145 pages/ illustrations on front cover and around half the pages in the book. As a practical crafts guide, I specifically wanted spiral bound so that readers can open it flat, though bear in mind libraries do not like spiral bound as you cannot see the title when lined up on shelves unless you include an outer ‘flap’ across the spine. My local printer was happy to take on the job as long as it was pdf-ready to print. Once set up on their system, they can print off small quantities as and when I need them, for example 20 at a time. It is ideal as it does not involve storing large quantities of books or having to have a minimum of 500 printed at a time. This works out at around £5 a copy and we sell them for £12.50 each
- Other recent titles published need a different format, so my printer recommended Cambrian Printers in Aberystwyth. “Before Hiroshima: Forgotten Prisoners of War in Burma, Japan & Far East” is A5 with laminated cover and a mix of black and white/ colour illustrations. The next book “Walking Wales: The Art Lover’s Guide to Wye Valley Way” is square format with full colour illustrations and laminated cover. There is also an E-book version which was converted for me online, for around £90. The latest version is B5 (so a bit bigger than A5 and therefore more expensive to print per page) and is a revised version of my book published in 2002 “10 Ps of Managing Risks Post-Brexit: 10 Basic Principles”. The best feature with this printing company is they have a choice between digital or traditional printing methods. The digital print is from pdf-ready file and can be in any small quantities you need at a time. If you need a bigger print run of 1000 or more, they will shift to traditional printing to keep the prices lower. Digital print is around £5-£10 a copy depending on page size and number of colour illustrations.
- Practicalities – there are basic bits of information that have to be included in every book. These include the inner title page plus author name/ date first published. It also includes publisher’s name and contact details/ printer’s name and contact details/ standard statement about ‘all rights reserved’ etc ( provided by Nielsen)/ and a note that the book can be ordered direct from publisher. Once you have a printed copy, you have a legal obligation to send it to the Legal Deposit Office of The British Library within one month of publication. Also register the titles with Public Lending Right scheme www.plr.uk.com for any payments due from libraries if book is borrowed, and ALCS the Author’s Licensing & Collecting Society Ltd www.alcs.co.uk who collect payments made when photocopies of your books are made – I still get money from them each year for my Health & Safety books published 15 years ago!
Remember to have several copies to send out to relevant reviewers – if you get positive feedback, there should be the option to add a few sentences to the back cover as the digital format makes it easy to amend. List the title and details on Amazon. They add their own p&p amount for the total price charged to the customer, then they take off their own fee before passing the payment on to you. It is usually a bit less than the full selling price, but it involves little effort other than posting books out to customers. Website and social media pages are important, under your own and the publishing name.
E-books – sites such as Amazon have a facility where you can set up the book as an E-Book – Kindle Publishing guides you through the process, or you can pay someone to set your text out for you. The structure is a bit different from how you might produce your version for print, and it is easy enough to do but can be very time-consuming.
The only other issue now is the volume of sales and how you keep the income as publisher (total sales received) separate from income as author (% of total sales received). It depends how many millions you make I suppose!
Biography Dr Jacqueline Jeynes – Author & Publisher
I did full-time teaching degree (B.Ed(Hons) ) while the children were at school, then started my own Management Training Consultancy 1987 – 2011. As well as business training – I have an MBA and my PhD is on health and safety in small firms - I kept up with my own interests and learning in the arts completing an OU BA in history of art.
At the same time as training in companies, I was distance learning tutor with the OCA for more than 20 years, on history of art and textiles 40 credit modules, revising their Understanding Western Art course at one stage. While a tutor with OCA, I completed a BA (Hons) in Creative Arts (2011) studying their modules on creative writing, printmaking and textiles.
We moved to Wales 11 years ago and continue to keep up with my personal interests in the arts as a student on practical arts courses with Lifelong Learning. I wrote the new Distance Learning History of Art course for Aberystwyth University Lifelong Learning 5 years ago and have continued to add to the distance learning options offered with The Welsh Depicted/ Historical perspective on Contemporary art/ Gregynog and the influence of the Davies Sisters. I am currently writing two new options for 2018 on The Cubists and Post Impressionists.
As the tutor, I love my students and I want them to succeed. It is soul-destroying to receive harsh negative criticism from a tutor rather than feedback that will help them get it right next time. If contact with the tutor is only by written word, it is vital to get it right. Basically, the courses are written with the aim of helping them to know how to learn, whatever the topic.
I still choose to attend SELL courses each year, including painting, sketching, and 3D work, as it makes me focus on different aspects of the arts. The more different elements you study, the more closely they fit together. And although I definitely do not need credits towards another degree, I do need the structure of a course to make me finish it! I have tried out techniques that I would not normally consider my forte, especially finer detailed painting such as botanical illustrations, but found that I do actually enjoy them – in part, thanks to the great tutors we have at Aberystwyth University.
Basically, I want to know the how and why art is produced, and am willing to try any new techniques that someone else can show me. It may not be my personal preference, but I will always give it a go. As I said, the more you study, the more it all overlaps and you can understand the context of art better. I still love printmaking and am a member of Aberystwyth Printmakers.
Personal ethos? I love writing to pass on information to a reader. The writing for Silver Travel Advisor started by chance four years ago and I am now a regular contributor for them. My aim is always to make the information as clear as possible, unambiguous, and avoid jargon which often just confuses people. I write reviews wherever and whenever I travel, including local hotels, restaurants and attractions in Wales – see my blogs and reviews on the Harbourmaster monthly wine-tastings, walking Cardiff Bay, and doing the longest Zip Wire in Europe at Zip World! I am interested in wines, gin and the Prosecco festivals and love to try out different tastings.
The Walking Wales: Art Lover’s Guide to.. series is based on long-distance treks I have completed, my journals and photographs, plus beautiful images of old paintings of places along the route courtesy of National Library of Wales project. There are many more books that I aim to complete including:
· The Art Lover’s Guide to Malta & Gozo to be published for 2018 as Valletta is City of Culture
· Walking Wales: The Art Lover’s Guide to Llangollen Canal & Brecon-Monmouth Canal/ The Art Lover’s Guide to The Severn Way
· Revision of Practical Health & Safety Management for Small Firms (original publication 2000)
· Maybe a book on “Public Art: The Wetherspoon pub Collections”
I have been married to Leslie for 35 years, have 5 sons plus 3 step-children/ 24 grandchildren between us and 3 great-grandchildren. I completed all of my degrees after the children started school, was an international Speaker & Presenter for many years representing small firms and women entrepreneurs, and after writing articles in a range of magazines and journals, had my first book published in 2000. I received national Writer of the Year (non-fiction) award in 2015. I am the eternal student, love writing and walking, and I don’t do much housework unless someone comes to stay!
Dr Jacqueline Jeynes
PhD MBA B.Ed.(Hons) B.A.(Hons)
also see www.silvertraveladvisor.com for my regular reports and reviews