Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
How much does self-publishing cost?
If you have all the necessary literary and computing skills and are prepared to publicise your book yourself then, theoretically, self-publishing could cost you very little. Apart, that is, from the sales commission charged by your chosen publishing platform and the cost of any printed copies you may order for proofing purposes or resale. You will however incur costs if you engage professional help with say, cover design, page layout or typography; or with managing your chosen self-publishing platform.
How much do you charge authors for typesetting?
Print-on-demand paperbacks and hardbacks: My typesetting and page layout prices start at £2.75 per finished page*. Very roughly (and as a guide only) a 100,000-word manuscript typeset in 10pt type, with minimal allowable margins and gutters, is likely to result in a 200-plus page 5"x8" paperback when all the front-matter pages are included. Increasing type size, margins and gutters will increase the page total. My print-on-demand typesetting prices include one PDF proof and one upload to the publishing platform of your choice.
E-books: My prices for formatting e-books with an interactive table-of-contents start at £275*. My e-book prices include one digital proof (suitable for viewing in the Kindle app) and one upload to the publishing platform of your choice. E-book cover image extra (it may be possible to use a print-on-demand edition cover design with slight modifications).
*The above prices are for guidance only and apply to plain text, simple layouts with no more than 10 images/illustrations; they also assume working from a fully-edited Microsoft Word manuscript. Higher rates may apply for creative or complex page layouts, 11 or more photos/illustrations, mathematical or scientific content and complex footnotes/endnotes; all due to the time involved.
How much do you charge authors for designing book covers?
My prices for covers and jackets for printed books start at £150, e-book cover images from £75. Prices include up to two concepts, one PDF proof and upload to the publishing platform of your choice.
If you commission both a print-on-demand and an e-book edition from a single manuscript I can usually create the e-book's cover file from the print-on-demand edition's origination for about £35.
What other charges might I incur?
Books featuring more than 10 images/illustrations may involve higher rates than those suggested above.
Processing, enhancing, converting, editing and scanning photos and/or illustrations may be a consideration when I work out a price for you. I'll only be able to advise you whether this type of work will be required, and what costs will be incurred, when I view the files you want to include. My hourly rate for this type of work is £35 per hour*.
Author's revisions, additional proofs and reloads to a publishing platform are all chargeable extras at £35 per hour.
* Please note: Images for both print-on-demand and e-books must be capable of being reproduced at 300dpi without loss of quality – this is a print industry and the publishing platform standard.
Do you charge VAT?
No, I don't currently charge VAT and it's unlikely that I will have to in the foreseeable future.
Would you work on a percentage of sales?
I'm afraid not. A traditional publishing company is more likely to be able to help you if you're looking for a deal which works on a percentage basis.
Do I need to buy an ISBN number for my paperback or eBook?
A free ISBN from Kindle Direct Publishing is perfectly acceptable if you’re only planning to make your paperback available via Amazon (Kindle e-books don’t actually need an ISBN, they're automatically assigned an ISIN number by Amazon). If however your aspirations include other distribution channels or platforms (e.g. Ingram), ‘in parallel with Amazon’, I recommend that self-publishing authors acquire and register their own ISBNs before starting the publishing process. Whilst some find the process of acquiring an ISBN quite straight-forward others may not and, unfortunately, it’s not something that a third-party should engage in on an author's behalf. That said, I'll happily guide you in the direction of an 'official' ISBN agency; but you will have to undertake purchase, registration, etc., yourself. In the UK, Ireland or a British Overseas Territory the 'official' ISBN agents are Neilsen Book (nielsenisbnstore.com); other countries have their own agencies which are listed at isbn-international.org.
Are there any downsides to a free Amazon ISBN?
The main consideration are that you won't be able to publish your book to another platform, or via another channel, using a free Amazon ISBN (see above). Free Amazon ISBNs are not registered in the name of the author/publisher either, so you'll see your book listed on Amazon as 'Independently Published' even if you enter your own name as publisher in the relevant KDP detail field.
How do I ensure that wholesalers, libraries and independent bookstores buy and stock my paperback book?
If you enrol your paperback in their free Expanded Distribution programme, Amazon will make your book available to distributors so booksellers and libraries can find your book and order it. However, not everyone in the book trade likes the Amazon way of doing things. If you feel that your book has the potential to sell more copies through the traditional book trade than direct-to-the-public via Amazon’s website, I'd recommend that you publish via Ingram. Ingram's process is slightly more complex than KDPs and involves (modest) costs whereas publishing on Amazon is free. To achieve substantial book trade sales you should also be prepared to substantially discount your book's cover price (50% is considered to be ‘standard’); and you ‘will’ need your own ISBN number(s).
I've self-published my book as a Kindle eBook from a Word document but I'm not happy with the formatting – can you help?
Yes, I almost certainly can. Advanced though it is, Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform has known issues when it comes to converting Word documents to eBook format. The consequences of these can sometimes be minimised by the application of advanced formatting techniques. However, Word itself has limitations, it is after all word-processing software not a professional typesetting or page make-up application.
I've self-published my book to Kindle from a Word document but I'm having problems with the index (or 'table of contents') – can you help?
Again, I almost certainly can. The techniques involved in creating an e-reader-friendly table of contents tend to be more advanced than most people would come across in their day-to-day use of word-processing software, plus there are limitations imposed by the HTML code used to generate Kindle pages.
I've been told that there are issues with the index (or 'table of contents') of my book on a minority of hand-held devices – can you help?
Sometimes I can, but unfortunately not always. With so many devices and operating systems out there and only limited standardisation some compromises are inevitable.
Do you offer 'editing' and 'proof reading' services?
I can offer a modest level of editing advice based on experience. However, I don't have the literary or grammatical skills of a professional editor or proof reader. I do however have established contacts who provide both services.
David Siddall Multimedia is a deliberately small freelance business which I've allowed to develop organically over 20 years. My aim is to understand my clients' aspirations, to deliver on time and to a high standard and to always calculate prices on an individual basis. If geographical location is important to you, I'm based in Monmouth at the head of the Wye Valley in south-east Wales.
You can find out about some of the other design work I undertake on my davidsiddall.com website.