G B Ralph, Author

Paperbacks – Arthur and Gabriel’s future (Part 1)

Arthur and Gabriel have been the unwitting victims of my various experiments. They’ve guinea pigged everything from drafting to editing, publishing, marketing, promotion, and the rest. And now it’s time – while I’m working on my new novel which is unrelated to these boys – to throw more their way.

But what more could I possibly do them? Plenty, I assure you. Over the next few posts I’m going to cover each potential future development, and today we’re looking into…

Paperbacks! Oooh ahhh…

These are just the 3D mockups I already use to make it instantly obvious that we’re talking about books, but soon they could be more than mere mockups!

You could touch them, hold them, flip them over, read the back, open them up… Ahem. We’re talking about books, that’s all. Real physical books made with trees.

I’ve already put all this to the wonderful people on my mailing list and asked for their feedback. Their thoughts are really useful and will steer what I focus on and what I don’t worry about.

If you, dear blog post reader, have some thoughts or suggestions about my paperback pursuits, please drop me a message. And if you want to get involved in future developments, join my mailing list!

Why haven’t I printed paperbacks before now?

I’m fairly fresh to this whole publishing thing – everything I’ve done with these books has been the first time for me – so I’ve been too busy learning and trying out all the other things. To avoid getting overwhelmed by doing everything a publishing house does on Day 1, I focused on the essentials first and have been slowly adding on each new thing as the months go by.

Printing paperbacks was pushed out because it involves some more work, and I wasn’t in such a hurry because the stories are already available to read in ebook format.

What’s changed? Why sort out paperbacks now?

The time of the paperback has come! I do love the convenience of my Kindle, but I also love a physical book. And most of the people I know who don’t have a reading pile hundreds of books tall tend to prefer physical books – it’s just easier for them.

Offering only ebooks is quite restrictive, and making paperbacks available gives readers choice. And, if I’m being selfish about it, of course I want to have my own books sitting on my bookshelf!

What’s involved? What are the next steps?

Well! I need to check the text document is suitable for printing; create graphics for the spine and the back of the book; get ISBNs (the unique book number and barcode); and probably a bunch of other things I don’t know about yet. Then I’ll order myself proof copies to make sure the cover is right (no misaligned margins, washed out colours, etc); the text is formatted correctly (no weird gaps, single word pages hanging at the end of chapters, etc); and overall they look like professional products! Only then will I flick the switch to make them available to the masses.

Where can you buy the paperbacks?

I expect to make them available to order from Amazon and Book Depository (for free delivery worldwide!).

They’ll be print-on-demand, which means that when you click the ‘Order’ button a printing press rumbles to life in an Amazon mega-factory to churn out a single copy which is then packaged up and fired your way – that’s what happens in my imagination anyway. You can rest assured that I won’t be storing bulk orders in the bottom of my wardrobe and running copies down to my local post office whenever a new order comes through.

How much will they cost?

I don’t know yet, but as little as possible I hope! Amazon maintains help topic pages with all the details, if you’re interested: Paperback Printing Cost and Paperback Royalty.

It’s all very convoluted, but the key details are that Amazon charge a fixed price to print each single book + an additional cost per page (depending on book length). Amazon sets a minimum list price and from that they take their cut. The remaining amount needs to cover printing costs, and what’s leftover after that is the author’s royalties (hopefully more than a few pennies!).

When are the paperbacks going to be ready?

That, my friend, is a very good question. It depends on how quickly I get my act together, and how many rounds of amendments and re-ordering of proof copies I’ll need to do before I’m happy with the product. I’m fully expecting I won’t nail it on the first or second attempts as I’m new to all this! And, as I expect they’ll be printed in the US or UK then snail mailed to NZ, this could stretch things out. But I want to have it all up and running before the end of the year, which I think is a realistic and achievable timeline. Dearest family and friends, guess what you’re getting for Christmas…

How can I be kept up to date on progress?

If you want to be the first to know when paperbacks are available, join my mailing list (you’ll get a couple of exclusive short stories right away too as a thank you!). You’ll also hear about future developments, and have a chance to let me know what you think. But if you’ve got something you want to say right now, please drop me a message – I’d love to hear from you!

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