Memoir Book Production FAQ
Are you publishers?
No, we are not publishers. We are book packagers. That is, we package your manuscript, your photos, and whatever else you want to include in the finished book into a file that goes to the book printer. The resulting hard-copy book looks just like you wanted it to when we worked together planning it.
We have done book production innumerable times—and given our clients the books they want and deserve!
Can you define what a publisher is? Is it a printer?
Random House is an example of a publisher. So is Doubleday. A publisher buys a manuscript from an author and pays for it through book sales. The publisher does all nine yards of preparing the book for publication (book packaging) and foots the bill to have the book printed. Subsequently, the publisher undertakes marketing—if it believes that it will make money off your title (otherwise your book is on its own!).
Commercial publishers buy a book and it becomes their property. The writer gets a royalty—usually 10%—if there is any income beyond costs. (Six out of ten commercially-published books simply break even, and two lose money.) The publisher—and not the writer—makes the decisions about packaging. Your book can turn out looking very different from what you had hoped it would look like.
No, publishers are not printers. Printers do the physical work of putting words on the page. Publishers and their book packaging departments prepare the book for the printer to print for them.
Can you go in more depth about what a book packager is?
Book packaging may be a term you are not familiar with but it is a useful distinction. As mentioned, a book packager can do all the work between the finished, edited manuscript you have produced and the attractive book you so much want to hold in hand.
The book packager creates the book design, undertakes the layout, interacts with the printer and more—as much or as little as you wish. You, the writer, remain the 100% owner of the book and do not relinquish any rights. You get 100% of the profits.
A book packager functions for you as various departments you would find at a commercial publisher—art department, lay-out desk, project manager and more.
Book packaging is work that The Memoir Network has done many times. We can get your book out into the world. We are ready to do this for you if you are interested in self-publication.
The Memoir Network is your book packager: you, the client, are the publisher.
Should I use print on demand or volume printing?
Both print on demand and volume printing can work for a writer. It depends on your goals, your experience, your energy level.
Print on demand is easier in many ways. We have used Kindle Direct Publishing, which is the Print on Demand (POD) arm of Amazon.com. There is a symbiosis between the two and using this POD company frees you from having to buy thousands of books and paying to mail them out from your office or home. Kindle Direct Publishing books are fairly inexpensive per unit, and there is no shipping charge to get books to you to mail out as the books are shipped from Kindle Direct Publishing (often via Amazon) to the book buyer.
Printing your book in volume—often several thousand copies—is cheaper per unit. Doing so will increase your overall profit as you make more on every book sold. But, you will have to deal with warehousing a large inventory, with consistent marketing to move several thousand copies, and with not being able to change the text once it is printed. (With POD, you can edit the text again whenever you want. It’s as accessible as the next printing.)
For some writers, printing in volume is not daunting. If this is your choice, it can work well. For most writers, POD works better.
The End Product
We have done book packaging and then turned the files over to a client for him/her send to Kindle Direct Publishing. Some clients have chosen this way.
We have also been asked to work with Kindle Direct Publishing. Some clients want to have a printed book in hand without all the work. These clients ask us to do every step of the book production process.
It’s your choice.
Be in Touch
If you would like to discuss how book packaging would work for your manuscript, be in touch. The learning curve for an independent publisher such as you would be can be steep. That’s where we can help you at any or all stages of independent publishing.
Call today at 207-353-5454 or email us.