About Me

My photo

Bruce Devereaux is one of the nicest people he knows. When not at work he enjoys reading, writing, hiding from his children and not changing nappies.

 

His career, and if we used the term any more loosely an e might fall out, has included a gardener, a personal lender, a console operator, a stop/go man (not as big a bludge as you might think but great if you’re into sunburn, abuse and varicose veins), a cleaner of banks and pubs and, for a very brief period, a door to door salesman (until the last door he knocked on was answered by a very scary woman with tremendously hairy legs).

 

Bruce Devereaux currently works as a forty-five-year-old award winning customer service officer (glass statuette available upon request) for the Bank of Queensland and as a very casual employee for Corrective Services. He likes to believe he excels at both but then he has always been prone to exaggeration.

 

His favourite colour is green, with a picture of Dame Nellie Melba on one side and General Sir John Monash on the other. His favourite flower is self-raising.

 If you see him around town, call his wife immediately - he's probably snuck out and left her alone with all the kids.


 

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Dreaded Re-Edit Monster

A fellow writer friend from Brisbane sent me an email today. She was supposed to send her manuscript to me so I could have a read. She's all studied and clever and has a beautiful 'voice'. I read the first three chapters a little while back and I've been itching to see where it goes ever since.

So anyway I've been wondering where this promised hard copy is (she couldn't send it over the net because her work's net filter took offence to some of the language).

It turns out she had it printed, in an envelope with our address on it and at the last minute balked, rushing back to her laptop to re-edit.

Sound familiar, anyone?

Self Publish Australia Quote

Got a quote back today from local (Aussie) printer - Self Publish Australia. My wife is going to have kittens when I put my latest idea to her.

Self Publish Australia wrote:


Title: Great Scott
Format supplied: Print-ready PDF from client (contact us for details if unsure)
Page Extent: Book of 288 pages text. (most economical page count, divisible by 48)
Trim Page Size: C Format (235mm x 155mm)
PRINTING: Black ink throughout. 
STOCK:  71gsm Bulky Paperback (specialty 'Publishers' Choice' book printing paper)
PRINTING: COVER - Full colour plus Gloss celloglaze  on one side only.
STOCK: 240gsm One sided Artboard (bulkier/thicker than standard 300gsm Matt Art)
Binding: Perfect bound, square back and trimmed flush.
Packing: In cartons of suitable size, bulk packed.
Delivery: Inclusive, Australian metro address
COST: 1,000 books         $  6,880  +GST  


Plus GST means $7568 by my reckoning. But I work in a bank, so for Pete's sake don't take my word for it. For 1000 copies, that makes it $7.57 a book. And this includes postage.

Compare this with Createspace at $15 +/- a book (postage is the killer at $9 plus). So about half price.

BUT (and it's a pretty big but, which is why I put it in capital), with Createspace I can order as I go, whereas with Self Publish Australia their minimum order is 1000, all upfront. 

I plan on selling 579 books, so I theoretically will be purchasing $7500 of books anyway - with Self Publish Australia they'll be half price, which is more for me.

Problem is, I am increasing my losses if I don't.

Actually, the real problem is that I have to convince my wife to fork out more money up front.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Self Publishing - The Ugly Truth



I was a bit worried when I saw the title of this Youtube vid. But I needn't have panicked. He's on our side.

My Net Worth

Made the ever so important purchase of domain names today. Purchased brucedevereaux.com thegreatseries.com  thegreatseries.info (cause it was less than a dollar and I needed to make up numbers to get the 25% discount) greatscottbook.com.  The book I'm trying to publish is Great Scott.

It's all very exciting. Unfortunately greatnessbook.com is gone, so I can't use that website name for the second book in the series, which is obviously to be called Great Ness.

Look at me, talking second books like publishing the first one won't send us broke.

Now all I have to do is work out what to do with these things.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Stacey Cochran - Marketing - BLOG Tours




Author of Claws, Stacey Cochran, gives us the rundown on his marketing campaign for the launch of his self published book.

I'm a bit excited by some of this. A blog tour? You mean I don't have to leave my laptop - I mean kids - and trace all over the countryside? I need to look into this.

Local Quote For a Local Bloke

I've sent for a quote from a local printer. Minimum order is 1000. Should be able to scare my wife with the resulting quote.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Gorham Printing

I liked the name Gorham printing because it reminds me of the cuss word they use in Firefly - I thought it might be a sign. I sent an email to them to get an idea of postage, but they replied they don't deal internationally.

I feel like I'm in a maze and keep taking turns that lead to dead ends.

Commas, and how, to, use them.

Createspace Postage Answer At Last !


Finally managed to get some information out of the Createspace people after some consistent emailing. They wrote:

"I created a mock order to give you a very broad estimate of shipping costs to Australia, by choosing existing titles that have similar physical properties to the trim sizes and page counts you mentioned.

The first book is Black and White and has a trim size of 5.25" x 8" with 356 pages going Economy shipping to Sydney, Australia. The shipping cost only for this order of 100 books was $697.19, for 200 was $1,371.21, and for 300 was 2,045.24.

The second book is Black and White and has a trim size of 6" x 9" with 392 pages going Economy shipping to Sydney, Australia. The shipping cost only for this order for 100 books was $994.57, for 200 was $1,965.98, and for 300 was $2,937."

I gotta tell you, my first thought was "Gaawwwwdd!"  These prices increase the cost of each book by:

5.25" x 8"   (356 pages)
     100 book order     $6.97
     200 book order     $6.86
     300 book order     $6.81

Normal book cost for this size - $5.12. So that more than doubles the cost of the book.

6" x 9"   (392 pages)
     100 book order     $9.95
     200 book order     $9.83
     300 book order     $9.79

Normal book cost for this size - $5.55. That nearly triples the cost of the book.

I'm looking at a 300 page 6" x 9" book. That will likely put the cost of postage somewhere between these two amounts. Then taking the exchange rates into account and I'm now doubting I can use Createspace for the physical copies I will need to sell in Australia, particularly as I was looking at a AUD$19.95 RRP.

What's extremely disappointing is the lengths I had to go to in finding out how ridiculous the postage costs are. Imagine going to all the trouble of arranging a book, only to find I couldn't order any myself. Surely a simple graph based on size and weight is possible. I am really appreciative of the lengths this Createspace employee went to, however, to give me some information. Certainly her workmates have been less forthcoming (I received another email the same day from someone else giving me the standard fob-off).

Lipmag, from the community forum on Createspace, sent me the following information:

"I have a 214 page book at 5.5x8.5" which according to CS weighs 12oz

100 books shipped to Australia is USD $486.70 (Economy); 200 = $950.24; 300 = $1435.95  -- you don't want to know what Express and Priority shipping costs."

I'm really encouraged by the helpful 'all in this together' vibe from the forum.  :)

Meanwhile I have gone onto a postal site to work out postage to Australia from your average Joe in USA and it is still high, but considerably lower than Createspace: under $600 for 70lb. Maybe I should look at having the books sent to someone in USA and then they can on-forward the books to me. Or maybe it's time to get a quote from one of the other PODs. What do you think guys?

I think it's back to the drawing board!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"A Limp & An Eye Patch" Blake Snyder

While acknowledging there is absolutely no sane basis for me to lecture on writing, I have picked up the odd bit here and there which I've found helpful and, since the blog is up and running anyway, I thought I'd slip some of my favourites in every now and then.

A Limp & An Eye Patch is from Black Snyder's excellent book "Save the Cat!" (which everyone must go out and purchase immediately). It's about making the character pop and giving the audience something visual to hang the hero's character on. It might be a mustache, a hat, a scar or a, wait for it, eye patch. 

In James Bond movies they're really good at it. Think of the villains. Jaws. Scaramanga. Blofeld. Oddjob. Nick Nack. Do your villains pop? Does your hero?

Again, lots of good advice for writers in Save The Cat ! 

This Little Piggy

Got a price on a stall at a local market in Gympie - $12 for 4m by 6m (room enough for a car/gazebo/patio furniture). It does seem, however, that my pricings might be a little out regards other, more urban areas. A girl at work says she had a stall at an organic market in Brisbane and it cost her $80.

So by those pricings I'll need to sell an extra 8 books each market just to cover the cost of the stall (then petrol, wear'n'tear).

It's still gotta be worth a try, right? I'm going to market. Oink! Oink!

Just As Lovi On The Inside.

In stark contrast to the Createspace people, Michelle Lovi has again responded quickly to my query about costings for having her set out the inside of my book.

Michelle says:

75,000 is approximately 200 pages at 6x9" using Minion Pro at 11pt as an example.
At 5.06 x 7.81" it would need about 260 pages.

My rate is $0.90 per page for standard pages, and $1.20 for non-standard pages (eg. decorated chapter headings). Pages with subheadings would be considered a standard page.

So, for the 6x9 book, as an estimate, it would be 17 x 1.2 = $20.4 + 183 x 0.9 = $164.70 = $185.10. And the smaller book would be approx $239.10.

Custom Book Interior, as you may recall, was US$499 on Createspace. For one book. So I'm looking at a further saving here of $335 for my Trade sized book (6" x 9"). Thats 26 less books I have to sell at $19.95!

Suddenly I'm down to 522 sales needed to recoup my costs.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Postage Hits a Wall.

Following Createspace's advice, I set up a dummy book (which took ages because I had to convert said dummy book to pdf, wait for them to approve it - twice because I sent the wrong size) and they approved it. Now I've gone to make a dummy order and I'm told there is a maximum 5 books I can order because it's at the proof stage.

One book would cost me US$14.72 in postage.

Five books it drops to US$58.47, which is a considerable saving but still doesn't answer my query for 100,200 and 300 book orders.

And I do NOT want to have to order a proof of my dummy book so I can move forward to the next stage.

Surely they don't expect me to pay US$25 to find out how much postage will be?

This frustration at my inability to find out postage costs was the last thing I thought I'd be stuck on.

Maybe it's time to strike up an e-conversation with the people at LightningSource.

Anthonomy - Is It Worth It ?

A good friend of mine, Sue-Bear, gave me a link to a site called Authonomy.
The idea behind this site is great. Authors and readers get to vote on work downloaded by wannabe authors. The top five works each month are read by HarperCollins reviewers, hopefully resulting in offers to publish.
I was initially excited when I learnt about this site. And daunted. It's one thing to think you've got something a little special, but to put it out there and have it judged openly against others' work is potentially fraught with public humiliation.
But the potential rewards!
Only, it doesn’t seem to work like that. I spent a couple of nights going through the site, and while I’m prepared to admit I could have missed it, I can’t see one book that the HarperCollins people have picked up.
I did see an author found an agent and was published but this was because the agent read a piece on the site and liked it. And I’m assuming he would have liked it if the author had sent it to him anyway.
But my point is that there doesn’t seem to be any joy given out by the people who set the site up.
And there was some seriously good stuff there.
Some of the reports from Users isn't glowing either. One thread I read was scathing in its criticism of a review of one work in which the reviewer spoke of the two female lead characters, when in fact one was a male. I mean, if that's the quality of the reviewers, you've got to wonder.
If you’re a budding author, check out the site for yourself and see what you think. Maybe you can see value in it.


And if you find I'm wrong about the HarperCollins people and that they have in fact picked someone up from the site, let me know.

What I did find at Authonomy was a book cover layout that I really liked. :)

What a Lovi Saving.

I received prompt word back from Michelle Lovi and was pleasantly surprised to find I may have finally over-estimated an area of my budget. Michelle says:

My cover design rates are $85 for the initial design at 6x9" and then $30 to resize it to the smaller trim size, given that the two sizes are not proportionate, and will require adjustments.

If you provide artwork of the right resolution, I can work with that. Or if you want to provide a brief, I can research stock images for you. which might incur additional fees if I cannot find suitable free stock art. If you want to commission a photoshoot or an illustrator, I can arrange this, but cannot provide a quote for these services until I receive a design brief.

So things are looking up. My Excel Spreadsheet tells me that if I go with Michelle I reduce the number of books I have to sell to break even by 31. Createspace wanted USD$499 for this service (and that's prior to the resizing Michelle mentions).

Goes to show it pays to look around.

That last link doesn't seem to have worked real well. Which is a shame because there were some great examples of her work.

I've emailed Michelle back to ask a price for setting the interior. For anyone who would like to contact her, I'll throw her email address up.

michellelovi.design@gmail.com

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Lovi Book Cover Design.

I've sent an email to Michelle Lovi asking for a price on book design tonight. She offers a discount to Createspace people, so we'll see how it stands up.

The Cutting Room Floor.

Like work accepted for publication at a 'real' publisher, I have begun the difficult task of editing my book. Not true. I have friends who have begun the difficult work of editing my book. A teacher friend in Kingaroy is trawling through it, checking for spelling and grammar, and another friend, Karen, with some actual editing experience is making notes of everything I've done wrong (and there is lots, but that's normal, isn't it?).

Had a scary phone call last week from Karen. She wanted me to pop over and bring my shredder. Turns out she took a torch to the first half of my first chapter. It was great!! Being so close to a piece of work for so long can blind you. It's good to have a fresh set of eyes, particularly knowledgeable eyes, to help you see the light. Especially excited because it cut four pages from my work and that equates to a USD 5c saving on printing costs of each and every copy. :) That's money in bank people.


The Body Art Option.

Spoke to a tattooist about doing me up a design for my book - the silhouette I've decided I simply must have. Cost is minimum $70, and $130 an hour. I've seen the work they do on my friends, so I know they can do what I need. The owner was hesitant but interested. Or polite but uninterested. It's an option anyoldhow. And right now, that's what I need. Options. Ideas. Costings. Then I can whittle them done to what's going to work for me.

And, on a personal note, I have a tattoo on my back which my first wife did when I was young and stupid. Who knows, maybe if I really like the design I can get them to tattoo it over cupid. That'd be pretty cool.

Desperately Seeking Postage

Have sent off a fictitious book to createspace so they can process it and I can pretend to order it so I can find out postage costs to Australia. What a waste of everybody's time. :(

Monday, March 22, 2010

SAVE THE CAT !

Awesome friends of mine suggested I read Blake Snyder's 'Save The Cat!' a year or so ago and I've been singing its praises ever since. The late, great Blake Snyder spells out, in easy to remember catchy phrases, the beats of a well structured movie.

So why am I worried about movie nonsense when I'm writing a book?

Find me an author who doesn't want to see their book adapted for the silver screen. Anyway, my original idea, which came to me while I was lying in bed at 3 in the morning, played out like a movie in my head. I was keen to see if it would work.

And let's not be snobbish. It's all about good storytelling.

The 'beats' which Blake claims are essential to a well structured movie are as follows: Opening Image, Theme Stated, Set-up, Catalyst, Debate, Break into Two, B Story, Fun & Games, Midpoint, Bad Guys Close In, All Is Lost, Dark Night of the Soul, Break into Three, Finale and Final Image.

Writing up my 'scenes' and the beats and character arcs on cards I laid them out on my lounge room floor, and voila! IT FITS!

Very, very excited.


Recommend grabbing a copy of Save The Cat! and giving it a go. It will blow you away. My copy is dog-eared and grotty. It's absolutely packed with great advice for writers.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Graphic Artist - First Contact

I've just sent my first email away to a graphic artist recommended by a friend asking for an idea on price for designing my cover, sans artwork.

Here we go!

So that's about where I am regards getting my baby published and into the hands of unsuspecting readers across the globe (well, as far away as Brisbane). Stick with me and share my highs and lows and maybe together we can learn something about self-publishing.


My Cover - The Plan

A couple of things I seem to have left out.

The Cover - I've budgeted $1,500 for artwork and graphic design. It's a lot, and I don't have to make it too fancy, but I often pick up a book based on the cover. It's only after it's in my hands that I read the blurb on the back, flick a few pages and decide if I want to buy it.

I've allowed $500 for art. The Gympie Show is coming up in May and I'm heading to the show to check out the local talent. The last couple of years there's been some fantastic work, so I'm hopeful I can find someone to take the commission on and produce something tangible.

I've allowed $500 for graphic design. If I can't find someone to do this for this price out here in the real world I'll simply use Createspace for this too. Although I'd rather have control over this.

So this leaves me a $500 contingency fund.

I'm also having silhouette's of two boys done for the cover and internal. My wife thinks she may be able to do this on photoshop. She's very smarts with a camera, so I'm hopeful. Otherwise my contingency fund is going to shrink some more.

I've been searching Amazon and my local bookstore looking for ideas and I think I've hit on the kind of thing I like, although it's still a bit vague.

For colours I'm thinking black background with vibrant oranges and yellows. But when I've got a paintbrush in my hand I have difficulty drawing breath, so we'll see how it goes.

Self Promotion - The Plan

Okay, so now we get to it. How is some dodgy little banker (with a B) from Gympie supposed to whip up enough interest in his first book to pay his wife back the readies she's reluctantly siphoned off the family budget?

I've calculated, in my nifty little Excel spreadsheet, that I will need to sell 579 books at $19.95 each to break even (as there are exchange rates involved, this figure is rougher than a bikie's bitch). At $21.95 that figure shrinks to 498. If I can weasel $24.95 it's only 411.

And while it is likely at this point that I will be selling 6" x 9" (trade) size books because they cost no extra to produce (but the ever elusive postage will no doubt be higher), I don't want the price to put people off purchase. The question, and one that I'll be asking closer to the publishing date, is how much will people pay for a teen (young adult) urban fantasy novel? Even a really, really good one (shameless, unsubstantiated plug). Particularly if it's self published.

I should also mention that although my book will be available to US libraries and on Amazon, I am not including potential sales from these sources because I can't control them. Sure, I can have Createspace send out those promotional press releases, and I can send some books out to reviewers, but at the end of the day it's out of my hands. Also, to break even on Amazon sales I would have to sell 1387 books. Well, it could happen. In a perfect world.

So for now I'll focus on what I can do with my good looks and charm (scare small children perhaps). And for arguments sake, let's work with $19.95 RRP and 579 physical sales required. If it turns out I think I can charge more, I'll redo the figures later.

So what do I do?

Everywhere I look (well, everywhere on the net when I punch in advice for self publishing a book into a search engine) I'm told book signings are the way to go.

Ghostauthor, on the Createspace community forum, says he has had great success advertising in local rags prior to signings. I guess I can do that to (gonna have to sell more books to cover it though).

Okay. I live in Gympie. We have two bookstores. I approached one yesterday and it looks like I'll be right to set up shop there. And it's in a shopping center (yeehaa!).

The local library in Gympie has book signings, and they love a local author. A friend of mine published a while back and I went along to offer my support. I think she sold about 35 books (could be more, I'll have to ask). The locals in Gympie are very supportive. 579 minus 35, gives me 544 to go.

My internet surfing has revealed 10 to 20 books at a book signing to be about right, although a few have said they didn't get any. 30 up is considered a huge success. Well, my book is great (if I don't believe that, who will) and I don't have two heads or scales, so I'll assume 10 sales a book signing. That means I'll need 55 more events.

Hmmm....it's all a bit daunting when you crunch the numbers.

And I have, let me see, one tentative book signing penciled in. 54 to go.

Fortunately I have a very large city only two hours away: Brisbane has numerous bookstores and a libraries. Then there's the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.

My plan is to take two weeks off work, bunk at my brother's and cram as many in as I can. At 3 a day, for six days a week that'll give me 18 book signings. 54 less 18. 36 to go!

So whereto now? This little piggy's going to market. Every Saturday and Sunday there are markets all over the shop in South East Queensland. For $10 a stall I can set up a table and chair under a marquee, put up some posters and a blackboard with a 'meet the author' spiel, and Bob's my monkey's uncle. And the beauty of a market (assuming it works sales-wise) is that I can go back time after time.

Plus I have a further 4 weeks of holidays up my sleeve. If the book signings in Brisbane work maybe I can take the family to Sydney or Melbourne.

And if this doesn't work?

Well, I guess there'll be no surprises under the Christmas tree for any of our friends or family for the next ten years or so.

But I'm confident. Wouldn't do it otherwise.

Budget - Non-Createspace

Now here's where we get to the fun stuff - giving away perfectly good, sell-able books in the hope that someone, somewhere will read it and write something nice.

I have budgeted to send out 100 books to magazines, papers, book clubs, mum, librarians, independent bookstores, anyone who I think might help me to move some stock and recoup enough money to put beef back on our dinner table.

Since I'll be upgrading to Pro, I'll be able to purchase my own book for USD$4.40 each, plus postage (guessing $3 each book because the good people at Createspace have apparently never posted anything to Australia), so USD$7.60 a book, or roughly AUD$8.50. Then I'll need to post them out, so add AUD$5.00. And suddenly I'm down AUD$13.50 a book, or AUD$1,350 all up for this one marketing ploy alone.

Now I know someone who worked for a magazine, so I know that most of the books they receive end up weighing the bins down, but what choice do I have. If I'm going to get the sales I need to get my book noticed. With 100 actual physical books out there surely someone will read it.

And what I'll tell myself is that 100 people are enjoying my book. I just got a warm fuzzy. :)

The following costs aren't in my budget yet, but I think I'll work them in.

Paper Bags - I've budgeted $300 to buy small brown bags with a one colour print (I'm working on a silhouette image) that will hopefully be walked around the shopping center or market and attract, if not attention, then recognition when they pass my table and posters. Anyway, they're not expensive - $300 will give me 500 bags. I'll decide on a second order after I work out if the idea works.

Assuming I run out of bags, which would be nice because it would mean I've sold 500 books. :)

For book signings:

Collapsible Gazebo - $200 on Ebay.

Camping Table & Chairs - $160 on Ebay.

Posters - $500

I might even have a few t-shirts made :) That would be pretty cool.

Budget - Createspace

If I go Createspace -

To give you an idea of where I'll be spending my wife's money, I'll break it down. But before I do I want to make it quite clear that I am not running an ad for these Createspace people. They are simply the company I intend using at this point. Certainly by the end of November I should be able to give a very personal view about their service and quality of product. If it turns out they're living up to their end of the bargain, I'll sing their praises, but if it all turns to mud then I'll scream it from the heavens.

So, I intend for Createspace to do the following services for me:

Prior to printing, or submitting for printing, I want an evaluation of my work and confirmation that I'm aiming at the correct market and genre.

Editorial Evaluation $399

Then I want someone with smarts to check for spelling, grammar and sentence structure, because I ain't real gut at me words.

Comprehensive Editing Plus $2400

This is perhaps my single greatest expense and the one I toss up cutting out to cut costs. But also the one I can least afford to do without.

Then I'm having them do up a custom book interior, so that the insides are nice to look at, with Fleurons and stuff. It's all smoke and mirrors, but if I'm going to do this thing, I'm going to do it right.

Custom Book Interior $499

Next I'll be ordering a LCCN. What is that? I have no rightly idea. All I know is that I need it if I'm to sell to libraries in America. Well I think I know that. It's more possible sales and it's cheap compared to everything else, so I'll take it.

LCCN Assignment $75

Once my book is printed Createspace send out information to 1000 media outlets. Now I'm not stupid. I know most of these will be ignored. But I figure if just 1 out of the 1000 does something with the information, besides wipe their bums, then it's worth it. Remember, I'm working without a public relations department and established distributors. Plus Australia isn't a quick skip across the border - it's 23 hours to get from Brisbane to Seattle, and Brisbane is two hours from where I live. I need all the help I can get.

Press Release With Distribution $598

Next, I'll be having Kirkus Discoveries & Forword Clarion Reviews done on my work. Apparently, despite the money they're asking, there is no guarantee they'll write anything nice, but again, if they do it'll be worth its weight in sales.

Kirkus Discoveries Review $399
Forword Clarion Review $399

You may have noticed that a good chunk of my cash is going into these 'dubious' marketing services. I think it goes to show the good people at Createspace know how desperate us self-publish authors are to have our work seen by someone. And we are. We really, really are.

Then there's a nifty little way to increase royalties on all those sales, and lower the cost of books I order myself to sell. More on that later, but I will definitely be taking the Pro option.

Upgrade to Pro $39

All this is before I even get one stinking book into a reader's hands.

Now Createspace do give a nice discount for bulk buying of services and I was excited when it seemed I'd save 15%. My joy was shortlived, however, when I realized the exchange rate to Aussie dollars snatched most of that back.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Getting the Finance Approved.

Here's the thing - for the last two years I've been exclusively using Word and I've completely ignored Excel. Not anymore.

Before approaching my wife with my plan to postpone our holidays and renovations and seriously reduce our weekly grocery budget I thought it might be prudent to cost things out.

Initially with pen and paper I worked out, from surfing the net, what I might expect to spend on this project. With the calculators on Createspace I was able to confirm these figures (except, as I've mentioned before, with regards to postage).

Being a master of both time wasting and building mountains out of molehills, I then began a day and a half of cussing at Excel. In the end I found out something which amazed me - my original pen and paper calculations were right. It WAS going to cost me an arm and a leg!

To bring this little project to life I was going to need a lot of money. AUD $8,705.40 to be exact. And by exact I'm excluding many of the marketing ideas I have, which I think will require an additional $1000 (only I haven't priced them yet so I'll go into that later). So I had my figures.

Now the tough part - convincing the family banker.

I doubled the figure to $17,500 and casually mentioned it to my wife.

There was a pause while she tried to decide if I was serious or not. Finally she decided I was serious, but not to be taken seriously. She told me to go away and work out a way to halve the amount and then we'd talk.

:) He shoots. He scores!

Createspace Option.

A good friend of mine sent me a link a week ago to a site called Createspace. Wasn't it an eyeopener!

Suddenly publishing my book is a real possibility.

For a week I've trawled the site, punching in numbers and trying to cost things. I've come a cropper on postage though - there isn't anywhere on the site to get a quote.

So on Friday night I sent off an email asking for some idea. They emailed me back saying they had no idea. I emailed them Saturday suggesting they perhaps should. They emailed me back confirming that they don't, but that when I order the book the postage will calculate prior to any payment being charged to my credit card. I emailed them back, mentioning that while I won't be charged for that particular book until I agree to the postage charge I will have spent 5 grand on their site to get things to the point where I could order the blasted book, and I'd like to know, prior to forking out all those readies, how much the postage will be, thank you very much.

Still waiting for an answer, but I'm not expecting much joy.

I did find a comment in the forums that an Australian author pays $2 to $3 for postage on each book he orders, so I guess in the end I'll just have to allow $3 and consider it a bonus if it's less.

I must admit that if I'm having trouble with Createspace at the enquiry stage I do worry about what lies in stall for me down the track.

Why self publish?

You may be wondering why I've chosen to self publish my book. I know I am.

If I go with an established publishing company I would have the benefit of their distribution network, their art department, their editors, their experience and their money. Why wouldn't I send my book off to have them at least consider it before I fund and try piecemeal things together myself?

Well I could waffle on about having creative control or other such nonsense. But the truth is two-fold.

Firstly, I don't like rejection, and everything I've read on the net about publishing a book says there is a lot of it to share around. I'm more than happy for someone to read my work and tell me a chapter sucks or a character needs work. That's constructive. But a flat, soulless, reasonless rejection letter doesn't interest me. I know, I've got four from publishers already for some short stories of mine.

Secondly, I'm impatient, and all that rejection takes time. If I can only send my work to one publisher at a time (which is what they want) and it can take six months for them to reject it, I could be five years down the road with only a handful of publishers having their shot at ripping out my heart and stomping on it.

And to make up for all this lack of distribution channels and experience, I will receive higher royalties on the books I sell. If I sell for US$14.95 on Amazon I can expect US$5.08 a book. That's head, shoulders and armpits above the usual royalty an author can expect, which would be a piddly $.74c for the same priced book (according to calculations I've seen on the net). So straight away I only have to sell 1/6th the number of books (Without experience. Without a marketing department. Without sales staff). So things are really looking up.

No, I'll put my money where my mouth is and go it alone.

You see, I have a plan. Mainly it involves hoping like hell I sell enough books to strangers to cover costs, but there you go.

More on that soon.