- what is smart publishing?
There are some big differences between traditional publishing verses the supported self-publishing services we provide. Essentially, we get your book into production and make it available to buy. Since you then market it, you get to keep all the money from your own book sales.
"Getting published" traditionally meant pitching your book to publishers in the hope that they would buy the rights to it with a book deal. Over a number of months or years, the publisher would then handle the sales, distribution, launch and marketing in the hope of selling as many copies as possible. You would pay no upfront charges but after deducting their costs and profit share, a traditional publisher would only pay you 5-20% of the total royalties.
Wordzworth is not a traditional publisher. Our smart publishing package provides you with what is known as "supported self-publishing". This means the book remains entirely yours. You own it, you manage your project, you market your book and you receive 100% of your book royalties. We just provide an easy-to-use platform and an expert to hold your hand through the stages of design, upload, changes, submission, printing, distribution and sales, to get your book to market as smoothly as possible.
- what about the ISBN?
All books sold through retailers need an ISBN to identify them. This is placed on your copyright page, displayed as a barcode on your back cover and also pushed to retailers as part of the metadata for your title. For more information about ISBNs and why they are needed please read our article what is an ISBN.
The owner of the ISBN is the publisher of the book. So you have two choices:
publish with Wordzworth
In this case we would assign one of our ISBNs and add our logo and details to your copyright page and cover.
publish with your own imprint
To do this you will need your own registered publishing company and an ISBN from a national agency such as Bowker.
- how much will my book be to print?
Our print calculator shows the cost of printing any book. There are a few key factors that will influence the price.
All the trim sizes, paper choices, binding types and colors offered by Ingram are shown on the calculator. Try testing different combinations (e.g. color premium hardback vs. greyscale paperback) to see the impact these production choices can have on unit price.
The final page count of your book will obviously have an impact on price. It won't come as a surprise that a 100 page book will cost less to print than a 300 page one. However, the final page count of the book is something that won't be known for certain until your book typesetting is complete. So for now you will want to make a best guess in order to get an idea of the print price.
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 the number of books, binding type, trim size and shipping location. Discounts will be displayed to you automatically in our calculator once you have selected your options.
It is important to remember that these prices represent 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 things like stock, warehousing or packaging, they are all handled as part of the service.
We are able to offer a set of fantastic all-inclusive publishing packages thanks to our partnership with Ingram. These services will sometimes undergo changes - to print prices, shipping prices, service terms and product offerings. These changes may influence your pricing and royalties so as soon as we are aware of any major updates, these will be displayed on our publishing news page.
- what are the restrictions of POD?
In order to produce such large volumes of books on a daily basis, all Ingram plants follow a very specific manufacturing process which does impose a few restrictions:
fixed production choices
There are 25 possible book sizes for fiction, non-fiction and children's books in portrait, square or one landscape size. Paper choices are standard weight cream/white paper or a thicker, coated white paper for books with lots of images. Covers can be paperback, casebound, dustjacket or saddlestitch for very thin books. Ink is either black, standard color or premium color. Custom sizes, papers, inks or binding types are not offered.
Ingram provides the highest quality print-on-demand service but there can still be small variations between books. Books are produced one at a time on different machines, by different operators, in different locations on different paper rolls. A small shift of text on a spine or pages shifted up a fraction are both normal and unavoidable for POD. We have not seen any big issues with print quality but should one occur we would naturally take it up with the printer on your behalf.
Book interiors and covers are digitally printed on a commercial press in cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK) ink. Colors printed on paper will always appear a little different to RGB colors in an image on-screen. Cover finishing effects such as metallic foils, embossed text or spot-UV are not available.
Each book is printed on one paper type on one machine. This means techniques like including colored photo “plates” on different coated paper in the centre of a book are not available. Likewise it is not possible to stick in pull-out maps, pockets or any other custom feature.
glue binding only
All books are bound using EVA glue and for the vast majority of books this works well. However, it may not be ideal if you need pages to lie flat in a cookbook or to withstand frequent use, like a planner.
final page print details
All POD books include at least one extra page at the back. This page is required by the printer for manufacturing, it must be completely blank other than the barcode placed by the printer and it cannot be removed or altered. The printer may also add extra blank pages depending on the size of the book block.
white binding strip
Please note that a thin white strip is required on the binding edge of the file (this is due to the glue used not adhering to the paper when covered in ink). Strictly speaking the printer requests this to be 3mm but we will typically attempt to submit a strip of 1.5mm wherever acceptable as it improves the appearance across a double-spread.
no text on small spines
Spine text is not permitted for paperback books of less than 48 pages. Even a small amount of text cannot be placed accurately in such a limited space.
inclusion of a barcode
All POD covers must have a barcode on the back. This is automatically generated in a particular style and cannot be edited due to the risk that it becomes unscannable..
- do I really need a proof?
Most authors underestimate the significance of a printed proof. This is your first 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.
The cost of printing and shipping one proof is included in our package. All proofs are done with express printing and shipping and should arrive within a week. It is so important to see a printed proof of your book before pushing it into distribution. Should you choose to skip your proof and proceed to make a “blindfold” book order, we will ask you to accept that you understand the risk you are taking and take full responsibility for this.
- how do changes work?
It’s not uncommon for an author to want to make changes after seeing a proof or even once a book has gone into distribution. The beauty of POD is that it makes such changes 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 the process worthwhile.
Each file that needs updating at this stage will cost a minimum of $96 USD. This represents $48 USD for the design updates and $48 USD for the file re-submission to the printer. If the changes are substantial we would also recommend getting another printed proof to review them, costing an additional $48 USD. It is advisable to allow time for all this. If you have other book formats (paperback, casebound, ebook) then you will probably want to update these as well in order to keep all versions in-step.
A big advantage of POD is that it is possible to update a book when it is already in publication. In contrast, if you had invested in a big print-run then either you couldn't make changes or else you would need to destroy all existing stock in order to effect them. Normal design change and re-submission fees apply so any change will cost a minimum of $48 USD. Even though your book is POD, Amazon will often elect to purchase a few books for their stock and will sell these off before replacing them with your new version. There is no way to replace stock that Amazon hold unless you buy it yourself.
The other type of change you may wish to make is an update to your book’s metadata, such as an alteration to the list price, author bio or wholesale discount. These updates are free but you will need to email us, clearly specifying the changes you require. Also, please note that not all metadata changes take effect immediately. In particular, a change in your list price takes 3-4 weeks to update with retailers.
- can I use more than one printer?
At some point in the future you may decide to print a batch of books with another printer. There are just a couple of things to be aware of.
your files will need adjustment
Each printer has specific setup requirements, so book and cover files that have been prepared for one printer cannot be submitted to another. If you have selected a second printer, please ask them for their specifications and forward them to us. Our designers will then assess what changes would be needed to prepare these additional files. 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.
you may require a new ISBN
Firstly, if Wordzworth has provided your ISBN number then that ISBN is assigned to our company and must not be used if the book is printed elsewhere. It must be removed from your file. Secondly, even if the book you have printed with us includes your own ISBN, if your new books are being printed at a different trim size (e.g. 5" x 8" vs. 6" x 9") or binding (e.g. hardback vs. paperback) then it will still require a new ISBN.
- how do I order books?
Once your printed proof is approved you may want to purchase a number of copies of your book. You can do this by placing a book order in your Authorzone on our website. As the author you can buy your book here at cost price, allowing 1-2 weeks for printing and shipping. We also offer express print and shipping speeds if you’re in a hurry.
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.
- what is your returns policy?
Print-on-demand books are printed to order. Once paid for, an order cannot be cancelled or refunded. However, in the unlikely event you believe there is an issue with the manufacture or shipping condition of any books you receive then there is a process for requesting their replacement. All claims must be submitted within 30 days of receipt.
Please take a clear photo of the books you believe to be faulty. If you also have a non-faulty copy for comparison then it can really help to photograph both books together to illustrate the difference. We will also need a photo of the back page of your book as this includes the batch number and manufacturing details which the printer requires in order to investigate.
If it is clear upon arrival that your shipment has been damaged in transit then it is very important to sign the freight receipt noting the damage and the number of books affected. Without this record it is almost impossible to have a claim accepted by the carrier. Please also take a clear photo of the books you believe to be damaged.
- is your printer environmentally friendly?
We only have one planet so it's important to protect it. There are a number of ways our printer play their part.
Unsold books from a traditional offset litho run will be destroyed, resulting in wasted paper, energy, pulping and landfill. In contrast, print-on-demand means no supply chain waste, no excess greenhouse emissions and no wasted natural resources.
Ingram expects their paper suppliers to be environmentally responsible and not use papers sourced from endangered old growth forests, forests of exceptional conservation value, or the Amazon Basin.
All paper is sourced from certified mills. However, since these mills are a mix of FSC®, SFI®, or PEFC™ certified, it is not possible to include any one of these logos or state that your book is printed on fully recycled paper. If you include either of these statements, it will be removed.
- how do I set my book price?
Pricing your book at the right level for customers to buy is not an exact science. Set the price too high and you won't sell many copies, too low and you won't cover your costs. So enter your list price, wholesale price and print costs, see what your royalties are and decide if you're happy. In this example below, the author needs to decide if $3 royalties are sufficient for his 200 page novel:
This is the recommended price for a retailer to sell your book. To choose this, consider what your book is worth to customers, the price of other books in the same genre, production costs, royalties and currency conversions. Let's say we think the book is worth $10.
This is the discounted price for retailers in order to encourage them to buy a bunch of books to sell on for profit. The price is set indirectly by choosing a wholesale discount between 25%-50%. A typical 30% discount makes the wholesale price $7 in our example.
Use our calculator to see what your book is going to cost to print. For this book it shows $4.
Royalties = Wholesale price - Print cost = $7 - $4 = $3 per copy
pricing in other currencies
You must provide a list price for your book in each market you wish to sell it in. If pricing is not submitted for a particular market, your title will be unavailable for sale in that market. As a quick suggestion, you can take your book price in your main currency e.g. $10, convert it at the current exchange rate to get prices in other currencies e.g. £7.80. Keep in mind that printing in some locations is marginally more expensive than others so the royalties from each market will not be identical. Finally, we would further suggest rounding the prices in each currency to end in a neat .49 or .99. So in our sample case, $9.99 and £7.99.
- how do I get paid for book sales?
A customer buys your book online at the retail price. The retailer takes a cut of this for selling the book and the printer takes a cut for printing the book. Any money remaining is your profit, known as the book royalties. You receive 100% of these royalties for each book you sell. We do not take any commission on your book sales.
Book sales data takes at least one month to filter through from the various retailers and be shown in your Authorzone. Major retailers such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble will be itemised other retailers are shown aggregated as sales via Ingram.
Your royalties are paid out 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, payment will be carried forward to the following month.
- where will my book be sold?
book sales page on our website
Book sales data takes at least one month to filter through from the various retailers and be shown in your Authorzone. Major retailers such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble will be itemised other retailers are shown aggregated as sales via Ingram.
Your book data will be broadcast to a network of online retailers including:
US & Canada: Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Barnes & Noble, Baker & Taylor, Ingram Wholesale.
UK & Europe: AdLibris AB, Agapea, Amazon.co.uk, American Book Center, Aphrohead, Limited, Bertram Books, Blackwell Library Supply, Blackwell Online, Blackwell’s Retail, Books and Periodicals Agency Ltd, Books etc. Ltd, Books Express Limited, CLC International (UK), Coutts ProQuest, Eden Ecommerce Ltd, Fishpond World Ltd, Gardners Books Ltd, Landabooks Ltd, Langham Partnership (UK & Ireland), Largeprintbookshop, Marka LDA, Mondadori Direct SPA, Paperbackshop.co.uk Ltd, SellerEngine Software Inc, Superbookdeals, The Book Depository Ltd, W & G Foyle Ltd, Waterstone’s Booksellers Ltd, Wrap Distribution.
Australia: Boffins Bookshop, Booked at North Ardelaide, Books for Cooks, Bookshop Darlinghurst, Booktopia, Campion, Campus Bookshop, Constant Reader, CO INFO Pty Ltd, David Pawsons Ministries, Devonport Bookshop, DLS, Australia PTY Ltd, Farrells Book Shop, Fishpond Retail, Four Rivers Bookshop, Fullers Bookshop, James Bennett Pty Ltd, Jeffreys Books, Julian Wood, Bookseller, Kinokuniya Book Stores, Koorong, Mary Who Bookshop, Matilda Bookshop, MDM Books, Medical Book Centre, Mercury Retail Pty Ltd, Peter Pal Library Supplier, Readings Pty Ltd, Riverbend Books, The Bookhaven, The Coop, The University Co-Op, Thesaurus Booksellers, University Books, UNSW Bookshop.
You can of course sell your own book in other ways as well, provided you can facilitate these. For example, customers often ask if they can sell their book on their own website. The answer is of course, but you will need some sort of order processing facility on your website and you will then need to submit those orders on our site. Our suggestion would be to simply include on your website a link to your book sales page and then we can facilitate the orders for you.
- when should I have my book launch?
You will likely have some sort of event to launch your new book. Whether this is a media event, a book signing or an announcement on social media, it's important to consider what you need to be in-place before that date. Do you need a book order to have arrived? Do you need your book available for customers to buy? Do you need Amazon to show your book as 'in-stock'? Having supported many authors through this period we have put together a list of pointers to help to avoid last minute tension to achieve a successful book launch.
take care when entering book data
Check your entries for typos, test your list prices to ensure you are happy with your royalties, select keywords carefully and make sure you enter prices for all the regional markets you wish to sell in (US, Canada, UK, Europe, Australia). All off this will ensure you avoid needing to resubmit metadata which can delay things by up to 4 weeks.
Once complete, your book is available for you or your customers to order from on our site within 24 hours. However, it will take another 7+ days for retail feeds to settle so you may want to wait before pushing customers to a link where the book is unavailable, has partial data missing or no book cover image in the meantime. Amazon can then take up to 4 weeks before showing a book as in stock, so you may want to allow for this.
books for events
If you intend to have physical books for an event then do allow sufficient time for the printing and shipping. It is very unusual for problems to occur during shipping but it's always advisable to allow some contingency. There are faster shipping options available in urgent situations but these are more expensive.
track your order
Tracking information is provided when your book order is confirmed. Do check for updates to the expected delivery time and ensure that someone is available at the destination address to check over and sign for the delivery.
be clear in emails
If you need to write to us about your book orders or your book data then please help us to action your requests by being as clear as possible. During the working week we aim to respond to emails within 24 hours but if you have requested changes of any kind please allow time after that for us to apply these updates carefully.
should you need a replacement
We will do our best to have the replacement order to your event on time. However, we cannot guarantee this. It depends on the minimum printing time and the expedited delivery options available to that area. If at all possible place a timely order for the books you require, so you receive them one to two weeks in advance of an event.
- how will each retailer show my book?
An online bookstore is just a shop. The way they determine whether to list a book, display stock, ship and advertise a book is down to their discretion and not something we can influence. However, if your book looks good, has the right metadata, is priced sensibly, and you have offered a reasonable wholesale discount, then you have given your book the best chance of being listed and stocked. The way each retailer displays data may then differ in a number of ways:
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.
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 in place, messages like “temporarily out of stock” or “usually ships in 2-4 weeks” will be shown. A new Amazon listing can take 4 weeks to fully settle down and appear in stock. Anecdotally, when your book is listed on Amazon it can be a good idea to buy a copy yourself, as we’ve observed that can sometimes encourage them to purchase stock in faster.
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 to be available in used format. This is obviously nonsense and just a sales tactic to create interest.
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 to us and we will have the feeds pushed out again.
- will you market my book?
Wordzworth provides a range of pay-as-you-go self-publishing services to help get your book for sale in the right places. We do not offer marketing or PR services. In truth, generic ”book marketing” services that send out mailshots, press releases to newspapers or run AdWords campaigns are known to provide very poor return on investment for self-publishing authors.
You, as the author, are by far the best placed to understand how to access your potential readers. An author book launch, blog and social media campaign from the author directly are widely considered to be most effective ways to raise the profile of a book. We are often asked to design marketing materials such as 3D book covers, Facebook headers, posters or flyers to support these publicity drives. If you are interested in any of these options, just let us know.
- can I sell at my local bookstore?
Your book will be made available online at global book retailers, like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. In theory, it is also possible for any bricks and mortar store to stock your book. If you do approach your local bookstore asking them to stock your title and they agree, there are then two main options for them actually getting the book onto their shelves.
order via their distributor
All a bookshop needs to know is the ISBN and they can simply order the book in via their normal book distribution channels. Sales made by bricks and mortar stores in this way will be shown in your author account along with those made through online retailers.
The no-return policy of Print on Demand can prove to be an obstacle for bookstores. So one alternative is that, as the author you can buy some books at cost price and offer these to the bookstore. You then set up a consignment agreement with them so they pay nothing for the books unless they sell. When they do sell a copy, they then pay you the wholesale price. Here you would see your initial order in your Authorzone but your resale to the bookstore would not be tracked.
- what are your terms?
We do not have a written contract for you to sign. Instead we ask that you have read this know what you're buying section and accept our general terms and conditions which we have tried to make short and readable.