Why should I consider SWP over other popular self-publishing options like LSI, CreateSpace, or even some of the 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 are vetting our submissions, and the impact will be that all SWP books will be high-quality and trusted for being well-edited, industry-standard books. 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. At SWP, you’ll have a direct relationship with the publisher, Brooke Warner, and your project manager. We will make 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 because we’re in your corner.
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 will be promoting your books on SheWrites.com, in our online store, 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.
Finally, we offer distribution, which is something other self-publishing companies do not offer. It can be a big headache to try to figure out how to get your books into the trade, but with SWP, your books will be available to any and all retail outlets that want to carry your book. We also provide warehousing 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 self-publishing. We will 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 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?
Print: SWP takes a distribution, management, and warehousing fee of 20% of net sales on all printed books sold.
POD: SWP takes a management fee of 15% of the compensation an author receives LSI (our POD partner).
E-books: SWP takes a management fee of 15% of the compensation an author receives from e-books. Most major accounts (Nook, Kindle, and iBook formats) offer authors 70% of the list price of their e-book, so the 15% comes out of that 70%.
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. And in our experience, the self-publishing biggies, like LSI, CreateSpace, and Lulu, don’t give authors much hand-holding. We strive to function like a traditional press in that 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?
How much you make from a $16 book will depend on how it is sold and how it is printed.
If you are selling physical books directly from your website or at live events:
- The Net Sales Price will be the $16, or a little less if you discount it.
- The manufacturing cost will be about $3 if you opt for a print runs, or $4.50 if you use Print-On-Demand (POD).
- If you hand-sell the books or ship them yourself, those are your only costs. If you have them shipped by us, the handling charge for shipping the order will be $1.75 for books from your short-run printing, or $2.50 from POD.
- So, if you use SWP to ship the order, your Net Profit will be:
- $11.25 for short print-run books ($16 minus $3 minus $1.75).
- $9 for POD books ($16 minus $4.50 minus $2.50).
If you are selling physical books directly through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or other retailers (the Book Trade):
- The Net Sales Price will be $7.20 or 45% of the $16, since almost all trade sales are at a 55% discount. In some cases, we may be able to sell books at a lower discount, i.e. higher Net Sales Price.
- The manufacturing cost will be about $3 if you opt for a short print-run, or $4.20 if you use POD.
- For maintaining the trade relationships, warehousing, shipping, and accounting for book sales, SWP receives a 20% fee from the Net Sales Price on short print-run books and 15% for POD books.
- So, for books sold through the trade, your Net Profit will be:
- $2.76 for books from short print-runs ($7.20 minus $3 minus $1.44 [20% of $7.20]).
- $1.62 for books from POD ($7.20 minus $4.20 minus $1.08 [15% of $7.20]).
For e-book sales:
- E-books are currently sold at the price set by the Publisher.
- In SWP’s case, we will urge you to set your price between $2.99 and $9.99. The Retailer (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Apple) takes 30% as their sales commission, which gives the Net Sales Price.
- SWP receives a 15% fee from Net Sales Price for managing relationships and files, and for handling all customer service and accounting.
- For an e-book selling at $5, which is the approximate price point at which the most sales occur, you would receive $2.97 ($5.00 minus $1.50 [retailer’s commission] minus $0.53 [15% of the Net Sales price of $3.50]).
Does SWP pay out royalties?
SWP does not pay royalties. Instead authors receive a percentage of profits from all sales of their book. We pay authors their net profits on a quarterly basis.
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 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 will 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. 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 in our SWP storefront (which will be up once our first round of authors goes through the pilot program). We will also be giving authors the benefit of publishing on a brand that already has a solid reputation in the industry.
What does SWP offer by way of marketing and publicity? Does SWP recommend hiring an outside publicist?
SWP offers basic marketing services, which you can read about here. The value of marketing and publicity cannot be denied, but we opted not to include it in our package because its results are, by and large, not quantifiable. We also know that authors’ understanding of marketing and publicity varies greatly. Some authors will opt to take a more DIY approach to marketing and publicity, and we encourage our authors to get started by offering a free webinar, Lauren Cerand’s “Innovative Publicity Now.” Other authors will want a much more comprehensive marketing and publicity campaign. We leave the decision about whether to hire a publicist to our authors. We will be including a list of publicists we know and trust on the site.
How does SWP handle warehousing and distribution, and what is the cost to SWP authors?
SWP offers distribution through Ingram, and all books will be listed in Ingram’s catalog. We will be storing books in Seattle, through the team that is handling the warehousing and distribution of the books. We will take a 20% fee off of net sales for warehousing and distribution.
How does SWP handle fulfillment?
SWP offers fulfillment services on direct sales from authors’ websites, and we will provide SWP authors with an embed link for their sites to facilitate this kind of sale. We will also make available all SWP books through the She Writes storefront, which is under construction. We charge a shipping and handling fee only for these services, which can be absorbed by the author or charged back to the consumer.
Can SWP authors get their books into bookstores?
Yes, any bookstore interested in carrying your book can order directly through Ingram, a major distributor with whom every bookstore in the country should have an account. Ingram can 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 book will be assigned to one of our designers, who will come up with at least three cover “comps” for the author to review. These will be conceptual, not completely polished. The author then weighs in on the direction and will consult with either the publisher, Brooke Warner, or 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?
If an SWP author is opting for a short print-run, they can opt for hardcover (case bound) or paperback (perfect bound). Our standard trim sizes are 5.5 x 8.5 or 6 x 9. We have the capacity to print mechanical and saddle stitched books as well. We anticipate that the vast majority of our authors will opt for a paperback run simply because the industry is less and less tolerant of hardcover pricing.
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. Because we’ve modeled our process off of a traditional press, we do the proofreading after the book has been laid out into designed pages. We welcome you to proofread your final designed pages yourself (and we hope you do!), and/or hiring your own proofreader, but we will not forego our own proofread. Included in our SWP author guidelines are instructions for how to handle any final changes you might have once the book has been laid out.
Does SWP offer advanced galleys?
Yes, authors can order advanced galleys as part of their marketing and publicity strategy at an additional cost of $295 for the custom design work entailed in making the cover and interior files galley-specific. This service is something we provide, but we will talk authors through its value, as many self-published authors are opting to use advanced copies rather than galley copies for publicity and promotion purposes.
Will SWP authors receive a discount for orders of their own book?
SWP authors may purchase books for their own use or resale (excluding trade sales) at the manufacturing cost, plus a production fee of 20% of the manufacturing cost. Shipping and handling charges will be added to the cost of the books.
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 Writes package. We have long-standing relationships with 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 upload them to Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBook), and Amazon (Kindle). We will also provide e-pub files for those SWP authors who request them, but we will not make the e-pub file available for sale in the SWP store.
Does SWP offer e-book only publishing solutions?
No, we do not. We are a full-service press that’s committed to e-book offerings, but our primary mission is to publish our authors in print. We believe in the value of e-books to grow your author platform, but we also believe that for a major work—memoir, fiction, prescriptive—you’re cutting out part of the market if you don’t offer a print version.
Does SWP handle international sales?
SWP will put its authors’ books up for international sales in England and Australia unless told otherwise. Amazon sell books anywhere in the world, and SWP reserves the right to make available the U.S. edition for international purchase. This does not give us the right to sell translation rights, which are rights our authors retain. Shipping costs will still be an issue for your customers, however. We approve UK retail outlets to sell the American version of the book. We do not have any kind of formal international distribution at this point in time.