Desma Mitchell has been caring for her mother for more than six years. Her mother has Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Rather than seek out-of-home care, Desma decided to take care of her mum, in-home.
Having made that decision, Desma quickly realised that there are few guides out there to help you through such a life-changing experience, and one few of us are equipped to deal with. There are lots of resources available — if you know where to look. Knowing where to look is what this book is all about.
Books are special; use a specialist
We’ve been working in publishing for more than thirty years, and know the ins and outs of the book design, layout and production process.
While the growth in self-publishing has exploded in recent years through eBook, print-on-demand services and DIY options, a good book, a well-produced book, a well edited book, still takes a practiced hand. We are frequently approached by indie authors who have commissioned a cover design from a service-auction marketplace like 99designs: they have their cover but it does not suit Amazon’s or CreateSpace’s guidelines; it is the wrong size or dimensions; it is not of sufficient resolution for press; the author wants to do a version in German but the type is not editable. Can we help? Sometimes Yes, sometimes No. Best bet is to use a specialist in the first place.
Sales, printing, distribution
What most publishers know and what DIY services don’t tell you is that writing a book is only half the exercise. Printing, sales and distribution is the next hill to conquer.
We’re not always able to provide a service as globally reaching as someone like Amazon, but we’re happy to advise and in many circumstances a less-global model is a better option.
Print-on-demand services like CreateSpace have their merits: as the indie author, you don’t have to commit any money until someone orders your book, so you don’t hold stock and and you only pay for books that are effectively pre-sold. But at the time of writing, that is likely to cost you in the vicinity of $19/book — that doesn’t leave you, the author, a lot of profit.
In Desma’s case, we were able to use one of our book trade printers to print 500 copies — professionally printed (there is a difference), bound and delivered for less than $5/book. Yes, that takes an initial cash outlay and is something of a gamble, but it also makes you, the author, hungrier for sales. Back yourself.
A website can help
We always stress to customers that a website is a tool, not a solution. It can help you do business, but it should form just part of your marketing toolkit.
In this instance, we set up an eCommerce website sales channel that can take orders and bill customers who order Desma’s book. Our advice is to augment this sales channel with a blog and other marketing activities to increase your product’s visibility on the world wide web.