Why should I consider SWP over other popular self-publishing options like LSI, CreateSpace, or Author Solutions options, like iUniverse or Balboa (Hay House’s self-publishing division)?
One major benefit of publishing with SWP is the fact that we’re a curated press. We vet our submissions, and the impact is paying off. We secured traditional distribution through Ingram Publisher Services because of the quality of our books. With SWP, you now have a sales force that’s working to sell your book to the book trade. Your book will be available to any and all retail outlets that want to carry your book, as well as to libraries and other specialty markets.
Our covers rival our traditional counterparts, and our well-edited books are recognized throughout the industry as meeting a traditional-level standard, evidenced by the fact that we qualify to submit our books through traditional review channels (like Publishers Weekly and Kirkus) rather than through their self-publishing offshoots. When you publish through LSI or CreateSpace, you are the publisher and you do all the work yourself. You hire and manage your team, and you really should have some book publishing experience in order to ensure all the pieces come together properly. (Read Brooke’s post about how SWP is different from CreateSpace.) At SWP, you’ll have a direct relationship with the publisher, Brooke Warner, and your project manager. Our creative team, led by Creative Director Julie Metz, makes sure your book has a commercial appeal, and that it will hold up against the competition. Every part of your book will follow book-publishing conventions, and there will not be anything that goes overlooked.
We are also different from Author Solutions imprints because we provide much more hand-holding. We are a team and a community who cares about the books we’re publishing, their quality, and their impact on readers. This is not a mill. It’s a sisterhood. It’s an extension of She Writes, whose members include Francine Prose, Roxana Robinson, Kathryn Harrison, Maggie Gee, Bernice McFadden, Tayari Jones, Judith Warner, Amy Sohn, and many more. As Kamy has said, “SWP is not a platform for writers who can’t make it in the ‘real’ world of publishing—it’s for writers searching for a model that actually makes sense in a radically changed publishing landscape.” We promote your books on SheWrites.com, on our social media, and everywhere we go to talk about She Writes Press—which includes in the media, at major trade shows, and on the various panels, conferences, and speaking engagements we (Brooke and Kamy) do every year.
We also provide warehousing (free through the first year of publication) and fulfillment for our printed books, a service not offered by other companies. If you think you can sell 500+ books in one year, you want to do a print-run, and you’ll earn the money invested in your project after that run sells through.
How does a SWP author determine whether they’re a candidate for ordering a print-run versus making their book available POD?
The option to order a short print-run is a unique service SWP offers in the world of hybrid publishing. We talk through the choices and help our authors decide whether or not it makes sense to do a short print-run. As a general rule of thumb, authors who believe they can sell over 500 books in one year are good candidates for printing versus POD.
How much of each book sale (i.e. what %) do SWP authors receive? Does that differ by print-run, POD, and e-book editions? And why would a self-published author need or want SWP to manage their accounts?
SWP takes a distribution, management, and warehousing fee of 30% of net sales on all print books sold and 20% on all e-books sold. There is also a small fee added onto e-books (7.5% of net sales for all accounts except Apple, and 5.6% of retail for Apple). See the further breakdown of this below. We provide quarterly statements to all of our authors. We also make sure that the accounts are current. We liaison with all major accounts. We believe that authors will benefit from having SWP managing their POD and e-book accounts because, as any author braving the world of self-publishing alone knows, there are a lot of small details to figure out and stay on top of. One of the most complicated is metadata. In our experience, the big self-publishing companies don’t give authors much hand-holding. We strive to function like a traditional press in this sense. Our authors can contact us with problems and we will keep their accounts running smoothly.
Can you give me an example of what I can expect to earn off of a book priced at $16.95?
How much you make from a $16.95 book will depend on where and how it is sold.
FOR BOOKS SOLD DIRECTLY FROM YOUR WEBSITE OR AT LIVE EVENTS:
- The Net Sales Price will be the $16.95, or a little less if you discount it.
- The manufacturing cost will be $3 – $4 (depending on POD vs. print-run).
- If you hand-sell the books from among your own initial inventory, or ship them yourself, those are your only costs. If you need to replenish your own stock from IPS’s warehouse, you need to take those costs into consideration.
- So, if you sell your book directly, your Net Profit will be: $13.95 for short print-run books ($16.95 minus $3) and $12.95 for POD books ($16.95 minus $4 minus).
We recommend you pass along the cost of shipping and handling to your consumer. Sending via media mail throughout the U.S. is $2.58 and the cost of mailers is typically about $1-$1.50 per mailer, so you can generally charge back between $4-$5 for shipping and handling.
FOR PHYSICAL BOOKS SOLD DIRECTLY THROUGH AMAZON, B&N, OR OTHER RETAILERS (THE BOOK TRADE):
- The Net Sales Price will be $8.47 or 50% of the $16.95 (standard trade discount).
- The manufacturing cost will be about $3 – $4.
- For distribution, maintaining the trade relationships, warehousing, shipping, and accounting for book sales, SWP receives a 30% fee from the Net Sales Price.
- So, for books sold through the trade, your Net Profit will be: $1.93-$2.93 ($8.47 minus $3-$4 [manufacturing] minus $2.54 [30% of $8.47]).
FOR E-BOOK SALES:
- E-books are currently sold at the price set by SWP with author approval.
- For managing relationships and files, distribution to the trade partners, and for handling all customer service and accounting, SWP receives a 20% fee from the Net Sales Price.
- There are two ways in which e-book earnings are calculated, depending on where the e-books are sold. The pricing for these two models is broken out here. Note Ingram’s fees and commissions, which are 5.6% of retail cost for the agency model and 7.5% of net for the wholesale model.
E-BOOK Agency Model (e.g., Apple) She Writes Press Traditional Publisher List Price $9.99 $9.99 Retailer $3.00 $3.00 Fees/commissions $0.56 $0.76 Publisher $1.40 $4.74 Author $5.03 $1.49 E-BOOK Wholesale Model (e.g., Amazon) She Writes Press Traditional Publisher List Price $9.99 $9.99 Retailer $5.24 $3.00 Fees/commissions $0.36 $0.76 Publisher $0.95 $4.74 Author $3.44 $1.49
Does SWP pay out royalties?
Technically we do not pay royalties, because our hybrid model is a partnership and different from the traditional understanding of publishing, and therefore paying royalties. SWP pays authors their earnings, and those earnings are paid within sixty days of the close of the quarters that fall on March 31st, June 30, September 30, and December 31.
Self-publishing is a pretty easy and inexpensive endeavor when you look at doing everything yourself. What benefit does an author get from publishing on SWP?
It is relatively easy to self-publish. You don’t have to spend much money at all. That said, most authors don’t know how to publish, what’s involved, and what they’re missing. It’s the old adage: “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Most self-published books fail because they are editorially and aesthetically below par. We ensure that every book published on the SWP label is up to a certain industry standard, and no book put out on our imprint will suffer the feedback of being poorly published. Brooke Warner has made author education an integral part of the experience at She Writes Press. She holds a monthly call for authors in which she details all the steps of the publishing process and explains to authors what they need to be considering as they move forward toward publication. Also, self-publishing is a lonely endeavor, and many self-published authors don’t have the community or existing platform they need to be able to sell books. Although we can’t build an author’s platform for them, we do feel we are giving them a leg-up by featuring their books on She Writes and on our social media sites. Authors also take advantage of the collective experience of those authors who’ve come before them, many of whom are active on the SWP Secret group on Facebook, as well as on SheWrites.com. We give authors the benefit of publishing on a brand that already has a solid reputation in the industry, and the added benefit of traditional distribution.
What does SWP offer by way of marketing and publicity? Does SWP recommend hiring an outside publicist?
She Writes Press is now part of the SparkPoint Studio family, which means that we have a an in-house publicity solution for authors through BookSparks—and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Working with BookSparks for your publicity is not required, but we encourage all of our authors to have a conversation with our CEO Crystal Patriarche to get a sense of what kind of publicity solutions we might be able to provide. If authors want to get other bids and/or to interview other publicists, we provide a list of publicists we recommend in our author handbook, which authors receive upon signing with She Writes Press. At the end of the day, we strongly recommend that our authors work with an outside publicist, whether that be with BookSparks or another firm, as our experience has shown us that books without a publicity plan tend not to go very far—and our goal for our authors is that they will earn out their expenses —icing on the cake—turn a profit. Short of a miracle or a streak of good timing and good luck, the only way to sell books is to have a solid publicity campaign.
How does SWP handle warehousing and distribution, and what is the cost to SWP authors?
SWP is distributed by IPS, and all books will benefit from their internal sales process. They will also be listed in Ingram’s online catalog through Edelweis. We will warehouse books in Tennessee for no additional cost to the author for up to one year. After one year, books may become subject to storage fees. Brooke will notify authors at the one year mark about how much inventory is in the warehouse, and at that point we discuss options with the authors on an individual basis.
How does SWP handle fulfillment?
SWP does not offer fulfillment services on direct sales from authors’ websites. The only option for direct fulfillment from SWP is to place orders of a case or more. If you so choose, you can fulfill your own single orders directly from your site, making sure to factor in the cost of shipping and handling (we recommend a flat fee of $5 for your mailer and the media mail option via USPS).
Can SWP authors get their books into bookstores?
Yes, any bookstore interested in carrying your book can order directly through Ingram, the wholesaler and affiliate company of our distributor, IPS. We will fulfill bookstore orders whether you’ve opted to make your book available through a print-run or POD.
How does SWP’s cover design process work?
When an author decides to publish with She Writes, their cover is managed and/or designed by our Creative Director Julie Metz. Authors are asked to fill out a cover memo to give us direction, and from there they are given at least three cover “comps” to review. These will be conceptual, not completely polished. The author then weighs in on the direction and will consult with their project manager about what’s working and not working. In an ideal scenario, one of the three directions will be on track and the designer will polish that cover with feedback from the author. If all three concepts are off-track, SWP will offer one more additional round. We will work with our authors to create the best possible cover for their book, but we will also request from our authors that this be a collaborative process. We take our covers very seriously, and strive to produce covers we can all be proud of.
What are the standard formatting options for SWP authors?
SWP has, to date, only published paperback (perfect bound) books. If an author wants a hardcover (case bound), they must consider the print costs, and we would like to have a conversation with you about the pros and cons of this option. Our standard trim sizes are 5.5 x 8.5 and 6 x 9. We have the capacity to print mechanical and saddle stitched books, and well as nontraditional trim sizes. However, if you’re opting for POD, you must choose options that are standard for LSI (our POD printer).
What if SWP authors want special design elements in their books?
The following additional services are a la carte, and their inclusion in any given book is at any given author’s sole discretion.
|Additional Images||Use of more than 10 author supplied images in the interior of the book||$3 per image|
|Tables||Uses of tables, charts, or other graphics that require sizing or other manipulation||$20 per table|
|Image Enhancement & Manipulation||Any work done on an image to improve its appearance and presentation, beyond the re-sizing included in the base fee||$20 per image|
|Footnote or Endnotes||Insertion or editing of citations or references||$1.00 per item|
|Index||Insertion or editing of citations or references||$30/hour|
Why does SWP require proofreading? What if I have my own proofreader?
For SWP, proofreading is a nonnegotiable step, and having our own stable of proofreaders sign off on a final manuscript is part of our quality control. However, we do the proofreading before the book has been laid out into designed pages. Therefore we urge you to review your final laid-out pages VERY carefully, and perhaps even hire an outside proofreader to do a final pass. We have a thorough checklist of things to watch out for when you receive your first designed pages, but it’s never going to hurt to enlist more help and get another final set of eyes on your final product.
Does SWP offer ARCs (Advance Reader Copies)?
Yes, ARCs are a standard part of our process and built into our production process. Having ARCs goes hand-in-hand with having a publicity plan. Some books will not need ARCs, but most books do. If you’re working with a publicist, we will encourage you to get ARCs made. We print these through our printing partner, Lightning Source, and the cost ranges from about $3 – $4 per ARC.
Will SWP authors receive a discount for orders of their own book?
SWP authors who get a print run will own their own books outright. You may order your books at any point directly from She Writes Press and pay only the shipping cost for those copies. For authors who opt for POD, you may purchase your books for your own use or resale (excluding trade sales) at the manufacturing cost, plus shipping and handling.
What can SWP authors anticipate for printing costs if they choose the short print-run option?
The cost of printing falls to SWP authors, and is on top of the cost of the She Publishes package. We have long-standing relationships with our printers. As a result, our prices are lower, due to economies of scale, than what most authors will find if they go out and solicit a printing bid on their own. We recommend a print-run of at least 500 copies to make it worth your while and to keep the costs manageable, and we will talk through sales expectations with you to help you determine whether a short print-run makes sense for you, or whether your book should be a candidate for POD only.
Does the cost of the She Publishes package price include conversion and uploading? Where will they be available for purchase?
Yes. We will convert your files and make them available to the following online retailers:
Baker & Taylor
Barnes & Noble Nook
Gardners (United Kingdom)
Blinkbox Books (United Kingdom)
Sainsbury’s (United Kingdom)
Does SWP offer e-book only publishing solutions, or distribution-only solutions?
We do have these options available and will discuss them on an individual basis with interested authors. Contact Brooke directly.
Does SWP handle international sales?
Ingram distributes SWP books through their international distribution outlets in England and Australia unless we specify otherwise. Please let us know at the point of negotiation if you do not want your book released for international sales. Amazon sells across the world, and SWP will make available the U.S. edition for international purchase. While books are made available in these markets, we do not have an active sales team in any territory beyond the U.S. and Canada. This does not give us the right to sell translation rights, which are rights our authors retain.