Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Week that was: 27 February

I said sports cones.... This is why I do the shopping in our home!
Now that I am NOT working full time on my book business I finally get how it takes so much time to get anything done while trying to self-publish, raise a family, keep the man of my dreams happy, work part-time, manage the house, shopping, cooking and keep the laundry from overtaking the universe.

Self-publishing is hard work. Working with illustrators who also work full time elsewhere is hard work. Finding time to write each chapter for a kidlit book for tweenagers is hard work. Keeping the networking going with other self-publishers is hard work. Marketing my kids ebooks on Amazon and promoting workshops is hard work. Keeping my son's uniform clean, this is REALLY hard work.

I have learned that for me, schedules, priorities and caramel lattes go a long way to getting stuff done. Take this last week for example. I've been working selling product at a conference, working with Zac's teacher on his behaviour problems at school (nailed that issue), talking to Kiara about decisions to behave like a princess not a walrus (long story), dreaming and planning about a new product line and I have had a million late nights in a row, each there on purpose. I've been stressing about how I was going to fit in workshop preparation for this weekend, especially when I am accountable to every person who has registered and paid for that workshop to take place. I chose last week to plan the week well. I chose last week to take Thursday and Friday off work (in lieu of conference hours) so I could finalise details for the workshop and be totally prepared. I also chose to remove fear and anxiety about the workshop far from me.

I am master of my own actions and reactions. I am master of my own schedule and priorities. I am master of my own business and how I am accountable to responsibilities and people in my care. Kinda liberating really. Every mistake that is made - and every victory won - is a direct result of how I master myself - not anyone else. Do you get that? 

If you want to self-publish your book or story, if you want to make your dreams come true, you and you alone are responsible for that taking place. You are the one who makes time each day/evening to write your manuscript. You are the one who makes time to create illustrations. You are the one who learns about what it means to be a self-publisher. You are the one who learns about your new 'trade'.

You are master of your own actions and reactions. When I was learning about withholding tax and the need to reduce the amount I was paying - 30% is ridiculous especially when you can change that to 5% - I did all I could to learn how to take advantage of the double tax agreement that NZ has with the states. I learned that I could get a US tax number called an 'Employee Identification Number' or an EIN as we all call it (Click here for our post on this). Once I had this number I then needed to give that to Amazon and they would reduce my withholding tax amount for me.

It took me over a year to get my EIN number because I was scared of a little old international phone call. One phone call could have saved me $4300 NZD over my first year. That is right - over $4k! I chose to let fear of one international phone call rob me of over $4k. I chose that, that was my mistake not someone elses.

I am also responsible for the amazing journey this self-publishing adventure has taken me on. If you would like to hear more about my self-publishing journey or on how to get into self-publishing, please email us at

All the best for your self-publishing dreams this week. May you master every aspect of your journey with exciting results!

~ Joy Findlay

PS: There are still places available at our workshop this Saturday 1 March. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Self-Publishing: What does it cost?

Self-Publishing: What does it cost? 
Great question – but not an easy one to answer. 

Firstly, it totally depends on what you are self-publishing and where you are self-publishing. If you are publishing a short story or a book of poetry where you can do your own professional editing (not recommended) and design your own professional book cover (again, not recommended), and you create your own website and do your own online marketing, then it wont cost you anything at all. Na-da, ziltch, zip... until you realise that the quality of work you put out determines the number of sales you make.

That is right – quality does equal profit. Sales equal reviews equals sales... it is a merry-go-round of marketing that you have to become an expert in if you want to make it big in the arena of self-publishing. But it can be done. 

Getting your book created and published is just half of the journey. The other half – and honestly the other half of the cost – is the post publishing marketing and promotions.

So what are the costs for each step of self-publishing your book?
Please keep in mind that I am not a publishing/literary professional and these prices are ball park figures that you can research for yourselves. It is as easy as checking out all the professional services found on my links page for quotes and advice.
Writing your manuscript = Free if you do it yourself.
Editing your script = anywhere between $20 and $35 an hour or about $150/10,000 words.
Beta Readers = Free to $50 an hour (You really should have Beta Readers as part of your editing package).
Cover art = Between $80 (for stock pre-made cover) and $300 per cover.
Illustrations = Between $25 - $120 an illustration or $500 - $3000 per picture book.
Publishing services (where omeone else publishes your book for you but they are not traditional publishers) = $1500 - $5000 but this totally depends on what you would like to include in the package and is for those who do not want to manage their own formatting/artwork/editing/publishing etc. You need to be very careful who you use as there are many sharks out there who will charge you the earth for something you can easily manage yourself.
Digital Formatting Services (turn your script into an ebook) = Between $70 - $500 for novel length or between $65 - $250 for fixed format picture books. (Findlay Books offer this service for great prices!)
Publishing online as an ebook = between free and $240, depending who you publish through.
Publishing Print-on-Demand = between free and $120 for just the SET UP FEE. Printing-on-demand depends upon number of pages in your book and if you print in black & white or full colour (more infomation about PoD here).
Printing locally =  depends on number of pages and if printing in colour.
Printing in China =  again, depends on number of pages but also you need to consider GST tax and customs fees.
ISBN numbers = Free for NZ ISBN, Free on CreateSpace, Draft2Digital or Smashwords, or you can pay for 'universal' ISBN for $120.
Barcode = Between free and $30 depending where you get it generated off your ISBN.
Social Networking sites = free
Websites packages/eCommerce sites = between free to $200 minimum
Website design = between free to $10,000 plus.
Website domain names = between $12 to $25 per year depending on where the domain is registered.
Business cards = between $10 for 250 to $300 for 1000.
Tax services = between $90 and $500 a year.

If you want to get into self-publishing your book you really do have to consider ALL the costs involved. I have not included the costs of ghost writing, enhanced ebook formatting, book videos, personal distribution, book app creation, marketing PAs, book fairs or writers conferences.

What you put into your book will not always amount to what profit you expect to make off the sales of your book. It can be a long and disappointing road so please get educated about the upfront and ongoing costs of publishing before you start.

But for those of you who think you have a fantastic product in the more popular genres ie: romance, mystery/thriller/suspense and science fiction/fantasy – writing a series of books frequently is a great way to go about making some real money online. Some of the top self-published authors on Amazon are publishing a book a month, pricing it at $3.99, selling thousands and making millions... it can be done!

If you need directions on where to find editors, illustrators, cover artists, please visit my links page on this blog. It has a selection of websites that you can peruse.

Happy self-publishing!

~ Joy Findlay
Author of a million kids ebook, or close to it...

The week that was: 18 Feb

Writing station - much tidier with the shelving unit on the right!
Hi everyone, and thanks for popping in again. 

I've had a busy few weeks again. Kids started school a few weeks back then I started interning at our local church. Once the kids started back at school, I thought I'd have plenty of time to focus on ebooks and marketing stuff, workshops and working with illustrators, but instead I have gone from five days a week down to two days a week so, yeah, very busy!

Even though I've become increasingly busy, I've read a few new books. This is vitally important to me as a writer, to keep working on my skill. Some books made me laugh, some made me cry - like literally cry - but it was so good reading and feeling so overwhelmed with the characters' situations in the book that it lead me to tears! 

Last week I went to lunch with other NZ Self-Publishers - yes there are more out there than you'd think and more coming out of the wood work weekly. It was so lovely putting faces to names and bodies to profile faces - hahaha, well you know what I mean.

Our most popular posts on this site at the moment have been - Sideloading ebooks, Tax tax and more tax, and Publishing step-by-step. Have a look at the labels along the side of this blog and you can see other fantastic information that will help guide you in your self-publishing journey.

At the moment I am writing a new series. I am moving from picture books to Kidlit books - mainly so I can get these stories off my heart and so I don't have to pay for an illustrator any more. It is a whole new ball-game, that's for sure. I have to work out a whole new audience, a new vocab, a new manuscript length, and the marketing - don't even get me started there. I'm not even sure where to start really, so it feels like I'm starting over on a whole new self-publshing adventure.

Five chapters down on the first book. 10 chapters to go and the first of many will be complete! Yay!

Its been a good week here at Findlay Books. I'm still trying to update our website and will probably still be doing so next month as well. I'm rebuilding it on a website platform that is easy to navigate and update without having a Web master - aka Mr Findlay Books - to do it for me. But it isn't as easy as I thought it would be. I have to think about eCommerce capabilities, newsletter sign ups, workshop registration forms, and link for all my images. It really has been fun learning about it all - kinda like when we started in Ebook publishing nearly two years ago!

Thank you again for all your support.
Please note that our first Self-Publishing Workshop is on March 1st. If you are still interest, please let us know and we'll send you a registration form.

Have a fantastic week every!

~ Joy Findlay