Saturday 20 August 2016


Last Tuesday, my publisher in Leicester - Matador/ Troubador - took delivery of 700 copies of 'The Road to Corbyn'. 300 copies were delivered the next day to my address in St Ives. My hunch is that readers of this blog may well be interested in the detail of the cost of such a self-publishing venture. Here are some of the key features:

The initial quotation for the services I opted for - almost the full range available at that stage - was around £4,500. For that sum, I got the maximum of marketing and media support, proof reading and copy editing (these last two together cost around £700 with VAT and are absolutely essential), and other key services, including e-book format - and a print-run of 500 copies. If you have the money to spare - and I did only because of my father-in-law's legacy - and you want to savour the experience of being published - and you believe you have something worthwhile to share with a wider audience - then this kind of project becomes, as they say these days, a no-brainer.

My name on the published spine - at last

That initial quotation came back at the end of January this year. Since then, I have opted for an embossed cover to increase the 'feel-good' factor for the customer in the bookshop. That added over £900 to the cost. And there have been other pre-publication marketing initiatives I've purchased. Finally I made the decision to go for a print-run of 1000 copies. The cost to me for this venture stands now at £6,700.

Let's call it £7,000. I need to make £7 from each copy sold to break even, to recover my costs. But

never forget this is legacy money - magic money - the once-in-a-lifetime world cruise opportunity used for another purpose - which means I go into this not minding that I am unlikely to break even.

So how much do I make when a copy of my book is sold? 'The Road to Corbyn' has a recommended retail price (RRP) of £8.99.

If you were to buy a copy from Amazon online, I receive 25% of the RRP - £2.25. Matador have taken their 15% commission and Amazon their discount of 60%.

If you were to buy a copy from a bookshop, I receive between 30-50% of the RRP - £2.70 to £4.50. Matador have taken their 15% commission and the retailers their discount of 35% -55%.

If you were to buy a copy from the Troubador website, I receive 85% of the RRP -  £7.64. Matador have taken their commission of 15%.

If you were to buy direct from my website, I receive 100% of the RRP.

I sense another example of a contemporary 'no-brainer'. I hope you do.

To be quite precise, I actually make £7.66. This is because my website purchase icon offers you a copy for £8.99 plus £1.00 p&p = £9.99. The packet costs 59p and the postage £1.20. And Paypal takes £0.54 in commission.

There you are - an introduction to the market economy of self-publishing! It was an eye-opener for me - especially the low returns on an Amazon sale. All these figures are direct from Matador/ Troubador whom I hold in the highest regard. They are fine professionals. They are honest. They act with integrity.

'Any Dream' - a textile art quilt by Louise Donovan

And I should also say that this exploration of the market economy of self-publishing would not be complete without considering the bigger picture of my life as an author for the foreseeable future - hopefully the best part of twenty years or more. 'The Road to Corbyn' is my first book; there are more in the pipe-line. The second book - the biography of the artist, Jago Stone - will be self-published in 2018 and is already in creative flow. Other titles, other subjects will emerge. TRC - The Road to Corbyn - is a trail-blazing, likely loss-leader that will introduce my name as an author.

Of course, if TRC did take off and another print-run was needed ...  a publishing fantasy for a political fantasy! But you never can tell, as George Bernard Shaw's play put it. Wouldn't it be marvellous if my socialist primer was taken up by the young as their zeitgeist text?

We may dream. Louise, my wife, has just sold her 'Any Dream' quilted piece of textile art and donated the £2,000 raised to the Kidz R Us youth theatre in St Ives who gave her the inspiration through their stunning production of  'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat'. Kidz R Us represent in their very being a panoply of dreams realised. Dreams are vital. We dream for our mental health and well-being. Louise's latest blog has something worthwhile to say on the subject of dreams. Here is the link.

Jeremy Corbyn and his like-minded supporters have a dream of what the fair and decent and civilised society looks like. Here is the link to the last of the three blogs I wrote on JC's vision for now and 2020.

Finally, here is the link to the page on my website that has the magic icon to press for ordering your copy of  'The Road to Corbyn'. It is a good and easy read. It does have something important and worthwhile to communicate. Don't be put off by any hostile reviews. There are vested interests out there that are threatened by JC and his ilk. But I'm sure you know that already.

A postscript: my website designer - Steve McIntosh - who is everything you would want a website designer to be (here's his link: Steve McIntosh - website designer) has just alerted me to the possibility of readers missing the links above. So just in case here's the magic ordering icon for 'The Road to Corbyn' again. And this is the link to the Troubador website where you can get a good deal.     

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