All about smart-publishing

Smart Publishing

Wordzworth is a team of expert book designers. For years we have created fabulous print-ready files for books and covers. Increasingly our customers asked for help with printing and distribution so we decided to partner with Ingram to offer these as add-ons to our design services.

What is smart publishing

We are not a traditional publisher, we provide supported self-publishing services. This means the book is still entirely yours. You own it, you market it and you receive all the book royalties. We just provide a simple way to help get self-published books that we have designed to market.

Purchase our smart-publishing package to have our experts manage your files from design layout through to upload, changes, submission, printing, distribution and sales. We make the process absolutely painless and you won’t have to become a design or print expert in the process – because we already are.

Publishing imprint

For most books we will provide an ISBN, publish under our Wordzworth Publishing imprint, and add our logo and details to your copyright and cover.

Alternatively you can white label our services to publish under your own imprint. To do this you will need your own registered publishing company and your own ISBNs. Simply provide us with these and we’ll handle the rest for you. The only other thing to keep in mind if you white label is that should any of the deposit libraries contact you later requesting a copy of your book, as the publisher of record, you will be obliged to print and send them a copy yourself.

Printing with Ingram

We do not print books ourselves, we use Ingram who have Lightning Source print factories in the US, UK and Australia.

Ingram is regarded as the global leader in digital book printing. When a book is ordered online it is typically printed at the nearest factory location and shipped directly to the customer to fulfil the order. This is known as print-on-demand and is a brilliant all-in-one print and distribution solution.

Our calculator shows the cost of printing a book. All the trim sizes, paper choices, binding types and colors offered by Ingram are shown here. It is important to remember these prices are not just the cost of printing a paper book but the cost per book of having access to the whole integrated printing, shipping and distribution solution. You don’t need to worry about stock, warehousing, packaging or anything like that, it all just gets handled as part of the process.

Ingram provides the highest quality print-on-demand but there can still be small variations between books. A small shift of text on a spine or pages shifted up a fraction are both normal and unavoidable for POD. But because books are printed one at a time, there is no reason why the same shift would occur on the next copy. We have not seen any big issues with print quality but should one occur we would obviously take it up with the printer on your behalf.

Print-on-demand books include a couple of extra pages at the back. These blanks are not shown in your digital review file as they are added afterwards by the printer to handle book blocks on their machines. The final page of your book interior will include the printer details and a barcode so the printer can match it to the cover during manufacture.

Pricing and metadata

Once you’re happy with your digital proof it’s time to login to your Authorzone and approve it. Here you will enter the key metadata like the title, summary and author bio. You will also make three sales decisions.

Your book price. This is the recommended retail price for your book.  There are a number of factors to consider including the price of other books in the genre, production costs, royalties and currency conversions. And as a tip most retailers recommend any price ends with .99. For a full discussion see our article on how to price your book. We can provide help but as the author you have total control over this decision.

Your wholesale discount. This determines the price you sell your books to retailers for. It is important to offer your book to retailers at a discount to incentivise them to buy a bunch and sell each for a profit. Industry standards suggest a minimum of 30%.

Your book classification. These BISAC or BIC codes are used to list your book and indicate to readers what it is about, so it’s important to select the right ones. You want at least two codes to best reflect the content and you want to make them as specific as possible, “general” codes are pretty useless. You should select the same codes for the book and ebook formats. And, as a tip, you cannot combine juvenile and adult codes for the same title. So, select your audience and then choose the most appropriate classification codes.

Proofs and changes

Getting a printed proof is something most authors underestimate. This is the big opportunity to flick through the real pages, appreciate your paper and color choices, look at the quality of printing and binding, and inevitably spot those last few edits.

But a proof does take time to print and ship, typically at least one week. When reviewing your printed proof you might then spot changes you want made so you will need to mark them up and email them to us. Once our designers have made the changes you may want to see them in print and order another proof copy. And so the cycle starts again. Just be sure to allow enough time for all of this.

Our normal changes fees will apply for each file that needs updating. Changes marked on a review pdf are easier for our designers, so we charge less to make them. Edits listed in an email or scribbled in pencil on scanned pages are harder, so we charge more.

The cost of one printed proof is included in your package, further proofs are charged at a fixed rate of $48 USD/£30 GBP/$60 AUD. But this is the final stage of your book project, so it really is worth making sure everything is just right. Changes are still possible once the title is in distribution but they are more expensive as file re-submission fees from Ingram will also apply.

Distribution with Ingram

We do not distribute books ourselves, we use Ingram, the world’s largest book distributor to distribute English language titles.

Once you have approved your title the data will be broadcast to a network of online retailers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapters, Book Depository and many more. It will typically then start to appear online in around 7 days.

The way each retailer displays data may then differ in a number of ways:

Pricing. The list price you set for your book is just a recommended sales price.  A retailer will buy your book for the wholesale price and they are then entitled to sell it for whatever they like. This can be a higher value or a lower value than the list price you set.

Availability. Your title is available to retailers on a print-on-demand basis which means it can be printed and shipped 4-5 days following an order. Despite this, every retailer will show book availability differently. B&N show a POD book as available in 5 days. In contrast, Amazon will often buy stock so they can ship with Prime in 24 hours. Until this stock is processed messages like temporarily out of stock or usually ships in 2-4 weeks will be shown. As a result, a new Amazon listing can take 4 weeks to fully settle down and appear in stock. For more information see this article.

Other sellers. Amazon may show your book as available from other sellers in the marketplace. These sellers such as the Book Depository will themselves show different pricing and availability. A brand new title might also appear available in used format which is obviously nonsense and just a sales tactic to create interest.

An online bookstore is just a shop. The way they determine whether to buy stock, display stock, ship and advertise a book is controlled automatically by their algorithms and is not something we can change. However, if your book looks good, has the right metadata, is priced sensibly, and you have offered a reasonable wholesale discount, then you give your book the best chance of being listed and stocked. Anecdotally, when your book is listed on Amazon it is always a good idea to buy a copy yourself, as we’ve seen that can sometimes encourage them to purchase stock in faster.

Finally, should you ever believe there is a genuine error with a listing, such as the book cover not showing with a particular retailer, take a screenshot, send it over and we will have the feeds pushed out again.

Book orders

Once your printed proof is approved you will have access to your own sales page where your book will be available to buy from our site within 24 hours. There are two places it can be bought.

From the Authorzone. As the author you can buy your book here at cost price. Books are typically printed and shipped in 1–2 weeks. We provide express print and shipping speeds if you’re in a hurry. All books ordered via our site are printed to order. Once paid for, an order therefore cannot be cancelled or refunded.

On your book sales page. Here customers can buy your book from us at RRP. If you have an event or book launch coming you can send customers to your book sales page to buy the book immediately immediately without worrying about any initial listing delay with other retailers. You will receive royalties on these sales just like any other book sale.

Increasing levels of discount will apply for volume orders of more than 100 books. The exact discount varies depending on a number of factors including number of books, binding type, trim size and shipping location. They will be displayed to you automatically in our calculator once you have selected your options.

Royalties and book sales

Royalties for each book sold are wholesale price – production costs

So if your list price is $10, wholesale price $7 (30% discount) and production costs are $4 then your royalties are $3 per copy. For books sold abroad, retailers will convert to your home currency using a fixed exhange rate.

Book sales data takes at least one month to filter through from the various retailers and be shown in your Authorzone. At this point the data is available for you to either view online or download in .csv or .pdf format for your own records. All sales information is aggregated. No details of an individual buyer will ever be shown for privacy reasons. Major retailers such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble will be itemised and sales with any smaller retailers are collectively referred to as sales via Ingram.

We pay you 100% of your royalties on the 15th of each month. However, there is an initial four month delay in receiving your first royalty payment. This is industry-standard for all book sales as it takes time to collect money from individual retailers. All royalties are paid via PayPal directly to your email address. Where the balance is less than $20 USD/£15 GBP/$30 AUD then payment will roll to the following month.

Resubmission and changes

It’s not uncommon that even once a book has gone into distribution you realise there are changes you want to make. The beauty of POD is that this is possible. However, there are costs and other considerations involved so our advice would be – collect your changes together and only submit them when you have enough to make it worthwhile.

Firstly, design fees. Where changes are minor this will typically be our minimum fee per file ($48 USD/£30 GBP/$60 AUD). If both your interior and cover need updated then the charge will apply for each. Major updates may also change the page count so the cover needs updating to a new spine width. Changes that are big enough to constitute a new edition of the book may require a new ISBN.

Secondly, print resubmission. A charge of $48 USD/£30 GBP/$60 AUD is levied by Ingram for each file replaced in distribution. So if you update your interior and cover then the charge will apply for each.

Thirdly, the impact on other formats. You may have a casebound version of your book in addition to your paperback. Or, you may have an ebook version in addition to the print version. When making changes it is important to think of the impact they may have on other formats. It is always best to keep all your formats in step and up-to-date.

Finally, any unsold stock. Even though your book is print-on-demand, some retailers, like Amazon, may choose to purchase a few books for their stock. Where they do this they will always choose to sell this stock off before purchasing any new versions of your title. There is no way to replace stock that they hold unless you buy it yourself.

You may also want to make a change to your book data such as the list price, author bio or wholesale discount. This is free to update but once your book is in distribution you will not be able to make the changes yourself in the Authorzone, just email us the changes you require and we will contact Ingram to make the adjustments. Please note that metadata changes will not update instantly, something like a change in list price will take 2-3 weeks to update with retailers.

Other printers

For whatever reason you may decide to print a batch of books with another printer in future. Perhaps you want to run-off a batch of promo copies or if your book is flying off the shelves you might decide to invest in a print run in China.  From our perspective if you have this organised then it is no problem. However, it is important to be aware of a couple of things.

The book and cover files prepared for one printer cannot be sent to another. Each printer has their own specific setup requirements so a different interior and cover file will need to be prepared for each. For most interiors this is typically a case of adjusting bleed and color settings. For covers it is most likely that the layout template and spine width will need adjustment where a slightly different paper thickness is used by each printer.

If you have selected a second printer, please ask them for their specifications and send them to us. We will then ask our designers to review what amendments would need to be made in order to prepare these additional files. Please also note that where we have provided an ISBN this is assigned to our company and must not be used if the book is then printed elsewhere.

Our contract

We have no old-fashioned printed contract for you to sign. We simply ask you to click to accept that you have read this page and our terms.

If for any reason you need to cancel, our agreement is not exclusive so that’s fine. We just need 90 days notice to sort out your royalties and any files that contain our details. Please note that where we have provided an ISBN this is assigned to our company and must not be used if the book is then published elsewhere.

In order to publish a title we incur a number of costs from purchasing ISBNs, to file submission fees as well as administration charges for completing registrations and providing copies of books to deposit libraries upon request. All publishing package fees are therefore non-refundable.