- what sort of publishing is this?
Traditional publishing means pitching your manuscript in the hopes of selling the rights and securing a book deal. The publisher will then invest in a large offset print-run, store the books in a warehouse and in some cases market and advertise them as well. However, after deducting their share of the profits, you are typically left with around only 10% of the total royalties from your book sales.
Wordzworth is not a traditional publisher. But thanks to our relationship with Ingram, we are able to provide a service to take all the hassle out of self-publishing. Because it's the smart option, we've called it smart publishing. This type of publishing means your book remains entirely yours. We help you design it and make it available as a print-on-demand title to a global network of online retailers. But you own the book, you price the book and you market your book to sell it. You therefore get to keep the full 100% of your book royalties. And now we have the additon of smart publishing PLUS. For authors really focused on selling with Amazon this means all the advantages of smart publishing plus your book on Amazon Prime.
For these smart publishing services we do not have a written contract for you to sign. We simply 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.
- what about the ISBN?
If you intend to sell your book, it needs an ISBN or International Standard Book Number. This is a 13-digit code that uniquely identifies your book. There is a separate ISBN assigned to each format and these should all be printed on your copyright page, used to generate a scannable barcode on your back cover and form part of the title metadata that is pushed out to distributors. The owner of the ISBN will be listed as the publisher of record. So you have two choices:
publish with Wordzworth
In this case we assign one of our ISBNs to each book format. We will then place our details on your copyright page and our logo and web details on the back cover.
publish with your imprint
To do this you will need to register your details with your national ISBN agency such as Bowker or Nielsen. You may then purchase a block of ISBNs and tell us which you would like to use for each format you publish. For the same title, a paperback version would have one ISBN, a hardback version a second ISBN and an ebook version a third ISBN. You do not need to provide us with a barcode image, we will generate these for you as required from the ISBN you provide.
- what must I know about POD?
Wordzworth use Ingram to print books. They are regarded as the global leader in digital book printing with factories across the US, UK and Australia. When a book is ordered online it is printed at the nearest factory and shipped directly to the customer to fulfil the order. This is a brilliant all-in-one print and distribution solution known as print-on-demand. But as with any process, there are things to be aware of:
There are 25 book sizes to choose from. Most are portrait, 3 square and 1 landscape. Paper is either normal white/creme or thicker, coated stock. Covers are paperback, casebound, dustjacket or saddlestitch and use EVA glue for binding. Ink is black, standard color or premium color. Custom sizes, other paper types, lay flat books, photo plates, pullouts, foils, embossing or spot UV are not available options.
Ingram provide the highest quality print-on-demand service in the world. However, because these books are POD, the machines, conditions, operator and location for every book printed could potentially vary. Minor variations in print quality must be expected. These include a possible shift of up to 1/16” for elements on a page or a +/-0.1 variation in color density. It is important not to adjust design files in an attempt to counteract a print quality issue. POD books are printed one at a time, it is very unlikely you would see the same issue on the next copy.
Manufacturing defects can occur from time to time. When minor, these defects are not considered to make a product unsellable. Examples include hairline white void lines, mild waviness in pages, a folded page, cover scratches, lamination smudge, dents and ink spots. In the unlikely event of a more major issue we would ask for photographs in order to take this 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 darker and duller than RGB colors in an image on-screen. Shades like very bright blue may even be entirely 'out of gamut' for print.
Full bleed books must include a thin white strip on the binding edge to ensure glue can bond to the paper. Spine text is not permitted for books of under 48 pages.
All books must include at least one entirely empty blank white page for the printer to place their manufacturing information and barcode. In addition the printer will sometimes need to add additional blank pages to take the page count to the nearet signature print block. This can vary depending on the book size and printer used.
POD saves paper, energy, pulping and landfill by avoiding the need to destroy unsold books. There is no supply chain waste, no excess greenhouse emissions and no wasted natural resources. All paper is sourced from fully FSC®, SFI®, or PEFC™ certified mills. Nothing comes from endangered old growth forests, forests of exceptional conservation value, or the Amazon Basin.
For customers using our Smart Publishing Plus service your book will be printed by Amazon KDP directly in addition to Ingram to help ensure its availability on the Amazon retail platform. KDP provide a very similar printing service to Ingram but it is not identical. Certain trim size and finish options are not provided by KDP and we will advice you on choices for these accordingly so they can be supported across both platforms. When your book is printed color tones and finishes may just also be marginally different from the Ingram version due to production differences between the two processes.
Some customers may wish to do a print-run in addition to producing their books as POD. This is fine but please keep in mind the files we have prepared will require adjustment, particularly for the cover file, to work with an alternative printer. If your book includes a Wordzworth ISBN this must also be removed from your file in order to print this elsewhere.
- how do I provide metadata?
Once your book is complete you will be asked to enter metadata for it in your Authorzone. Metadata is the searchable information to tell your audience what your book is about, so if you want your book to sell then it's vital to get this right. Your metadata includes the book title, author and ISBN, a short description, author bio, subject codes and keywords.
Choosing a book title isn't easy. You also want something original and memorable, but not overly long. You may want a subtitle for extra detail. A useful acronym is that a great book title should be PINC - make a Promise, create Intrigue, identify a Need, state the Content. When entering yout title take care to be consistent and careful with the casing of the letters.
The names of those involved in your book. Many books just have one author. It sounds obvious but make sure you write the names in the same way. That means with or without middle initials, hyphens or dots - on the interior, the cover, the bio, the metadata, press releases, social profiles and online interviews. Consistency is key.
Keep it short. Promote yourself. You might mention where you live, your family life, your education. Try and include only relevant achievements. This can be purely factual or a bit witty, the tone is up to you. Include your keywords. Don't forget your contact info.
This is a 100-200 words synopsis of your book. Most authors choose text that is similar to that on their back cover. Start with a bold headline. Follow with an elevator pitch to sell your book to potential readers. Set the tone and avoid time-sensitive language. Break the text into clear paragraph blocks. Finish with a strong close or short peer review.
You can select a total of seven keyword terms to describe your book. Each must be separated by a semicolon. These do not have to be a single word, they can be phrases. Keywords might be about the genre, subject, the period, even a character. Think of terms readers might enter into a search engine and be specific. For example: utopian future, fantasy, space opera, italian cookbook, childrens book about animals.
These are categorizations used across the industry to help retailers and libraries group and shelve books based on a theme. One code is required but three are recommended. Be as specific and targeted as possible. Always avoid general codes where you can.
- how do I set my book price?
The price of your book is entirely up to you, but it can be a tough decision. Our suggestion - enter your list price, wholesale price and print costs into our royalties calculator. You'll be shown what your royalties would calculate as and can then tweak these numbers until you're happy. Here is an example.
This is the recommended price for a retailer to sell your book. Consider what your book is worth, the price of similar books (genre, size, page count, binding, author reputation), your production costs, royalties and currency conversions. Let's say we think the book is worth $10.
This is a discount you offer your book to retailers for. It should be at least 40% to persuade wholesalers that when they sell the book they will make a good profit. Any lower and you risk retailers deciding not to stock it and Amazon showing it as unavailable. In our example, this makes the wholesale price $6.
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 = $6 - $4 = $2 per copy
The list price needs to be set for each market you wish to sell in. So you might take the price set in your main currency, $10. Convert at the current exchange rate to say £7.80. Keep in mind that printing in some locations will be marginally more expensive than others so the royalties across each market will not be identical.
end in 99
Once you have your prices you want to round to the nearest .99. So in this case the list prices would be $9.99 and £7.99. Keep in mind that printing in some locations is marginally more expensive than others so the royalties across each market will not be identical.
- how long does it all take?
We know you're keen to shout from the rooftops about your new book. But whether you're planning a media event, book signing, email campaign or social media announcement, you want to put your best foot forward. So let us help you ensure you have what you need before the big day. We can only offer estimates at this stage since the exact times depend on book complexity, page count, production choices, time of year and shipping location. With that in mind:
week 1 to 4 - design complete
First your book design files must be finished. The time for us to deliver these depends on the complexity of the book and will have been stated in your design quotations. However, creating am interior and cover file will typically take around four weeks total elapsed time. Once these have been paid for, we will ask you to approve these eproof files for print.
week 4 to 6 - get a proof
You then approve your eproof files on our Authorzone. At the same time you will be asked to complete your book metadata including book title and author bio as well as setting your book prices. You can then order a printed proof of your book to be shipped to any address. It's typically a couple of weeks elapsed time for all this but if you enter your details quickly, it may take closer to a week. We would always strongly encourage you to get a printed proof of your book. We do not recommend trying to speed things up by skipping this step. Viewing your files on screen really is no substitute to seeing what your book will look like in print on paper.
week 7 - approve proof
Once your proof copy arrives, you'll want to look through it carefully. Make sure you're happy with everything - the color, the paper, the alignment, the binding. If you happen to also notice a few typos or changes you want made, do think carefully about the extra time these might take versus getting your book to market quickly. Once you're happy, you approve your proof in the Authorzone. At the same time you can now place a book order for copies of your book as you like at cost price.
week 8 - book listed for sale
Within 24 hours of approving the proof, you will be sent a sales link with your book listed for sale on our site directly. This can be a good link to share with your customers who wish to buy copies immediately. Your book will then begin to appear with other retailers over the next week or so.
week 8 SP+ (week 11 SP) - book listed on Amazon
If you have purchased our Smart Publishing Plus (SP+) service then behind the scenes we now work on creating the KDP version of your title. This requires different files produced to different specifications and different metadata entries, but we just handle all that for you. Your book will typically show on Amazon as a Prime listing within 48 hours. If you have just purchased Smart Publishing (SP) then your Amazon listing may take an additional three weeks to show and will typically be sold via a third party seller like the Book Depository.
week 9 - book order delivered
If you placed a book order when approving your proof then this is when you might expect it to arrive. You will receive a confirmation email once your order has been printed and leaves the factory. You may be offered express shipping options but they are more expensive. Avoid last minute orders during peak seasonal periods in late November through January, as print times can be significantly extended. Check tracking information and ensure someone is available at the destination address to avoid books being taken to a local UPS access point.
- what about changes?
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 still costs involved so always try to collect your changes together and only submit them when you have enough to make the process worthwhile. Depending on the stage at which changes are required, sending the book back into the design stage will also extend any timescales given and may even require another printed proof.
Once you have seen your printed proof if you need to make a change, this will cost a minimum of $96 USD. That represents a $48 USD for design changes plus $48 USD for re-submission to the printer. For substantial changes we recommend another printed proof to review them, costing an additional $48 USD. If you have other book formats, like an ebook, you may want to update this to keep all versions in-step.
While best to avoid if you can, it is still possible to update a book in publication. In this case normal design changes and re-submission fees apply so any change is a minimum of $48 USD. Even though your book is POD, Amazon will sometimes purchase copies for their own stock. They will need to sell these off before replacing them with stock of your new version. The only way to deplete their old stock is to buy it.
You may decide you want to update your book's metadata, such as the list price, author bio or wholesale discount. These updates are free but you as your data has already been passed to the distributor you cannot make the change in your Authorzone directly. Please email us with a clear list of the changes and we will make these on your behalf. Metadata changes may not take effect immediately. A list price change can take up to 3 weeks to show with retailers.
- how will my book be sold?
Your book will be sold through all the big named online retailers. It will be given a dedicated sales page on our site and once your book is listed we will provide a link to this sales page that you can share. In addition you can sell your book through your own website, social media accounts or even at your local bookstore.
Your book data will be broadcast to a network of online retailers. In the US & Canada this includes Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Baker & Taylor, Ingram Wholesale. In the UK & Europe this includes Amazon.co.uk, Bertram Books, Blackwell’s Online, Gardners Books Ltd, The Book Depository Ltd, W & G Foyle Ltd, Waterstone’s Booksellers Ltd and in Australia this includes Booktopia, Fishpond Retail, Fullers Bookshop, Bookseller, Riverbend Books and The Bookhaven.
It is up to each bookstore to decide whether to list a book, whether to list for the RRP and how to display stock or shipping options. These are not things we can influence. However, if a book looks good, has the right metadata, and is priced sensibly with a reasonable wholesale discount, there should be no issue.
While Amazon are just another online book retailer, they are so important to some authors that they warrant being mentioned here specifically. If you have chosen our Smart Publishing service then your title can initially show as "temporarily out of stock" on Amazon. It may then fluctuate to show as "available in 1-2 months" and eventually settle to show "available in 3 weeks" or similar. It will show on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.au. Other Amazon platforms throughout Europe and Canada may or may not list the title. Books will also typically be sold via a third party seller like the Book Depository. How Amazon stock or display a title is determined purely by their algorithms, it is not something anybody can influence. However, if you have purchased our Smart Publishing Plus service then your title is also listed via Amazon KDP directly, which makes it magically available on Prime within 48 hours.
on our website
As soon as your book is approved, we will send you a link to your sales page on our site. Here your book is immediately available, sold at RRP with a range of print and shipping speed options. Given other online retailers can take a few weeks to display new titles properly, this can be very helpful for you to use as an advertising link during your initial launch stages.
This is your book so you can sell it in any other way you like. For example, customers often ask if they can sell their book on their own website. Of course you can. But keep in mind you would need to be able to process orders and then fulfill those somehow by holding stock and shipping books. Our suggestion instead would be to include a link to your book sales page on our site instead so we can facilitate orders for you.
your local bookstore
There is nothing to stop you from approaching your local bookstore and asking them to stock your title. If they accept, most bookshops will order books in using your ISBN via their normal book distribution channels like Gardeners, Bertrams etc. In that case, any sales will appear in your author account as normal. Alternatively, you can set up a consignment agreement. This means you buy books at cost price, offer them to the bookstore and only when they sell does the bookshop pay you the wholesale price for that sale.
- how can I order copies of my book?
You can only place a book order once you have received and approved your printed proof. At this stage we know you have seen your book in print and are entirely happy with it, so you're ready to order more.
how to place an order
Login to your Authorzone. Select the title from your "bookshelf" and click the "order copies" button. You will be sent to an order page to enter your delivery address, print and shipping options. As the author you buy your books at cost price. You can place as many orders as you choose and ship each to any location you choose. Many authors choose to order copies for friends and family this way. You should typically allow 1-2 weeks for printing and shipping. We typically offer express print and shipping speeds if you’re in a hurry. Please note that these times will be seasonally extended from late November through to January.
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. Any discount will be displayed automatically in our calculator once you have selected your options.
A print-on-demand book order cannot be cancelled or refunded. In the unlikely event you find an issue with the books you receive, there is a process for requesting their replacement. For a manufacturing fault, please take a clear photo of the problem, if you have a non-faulty copy for comparison then this is very useful. We will also need a photo of the back page of your book containing the batch number and manufacturing details for the printer to investigate. All claims must be submitted within 30 days. For a shipping issue, it is important to take a photo and sign the freight noting the damage. Without this record it is almost impossible to have a claim accepted by the carrier.
- what about book sales and royalties?
When you sell a book that sale is displayed in your Authorzone. If this was a retail sale (as opposed to an author book order) then you will also receive royalties for the sale. But you won't see a sale instantly displayed in your sales data. Nothing is instant in the book industry. It takes time for both the sales data and the monies to be passed back down the chain so we want you to know what to expect.
New book sales data takes 1 month to filter through from the various retailers. So on 15th of each month the sales data from the previous month will be batched in. This means January sales will be shown on 15th February and so on. Please note that the sales date will typically be shown as the end of a month e.g. 31st January - for every sale made within that month. Major retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository and Waterstones will be fully itemised. All other retailers will be shown aggregated as sales via Ingram.
Royalties payments are made on the 15th of each month. However, there is a 4 month rolling delay on these payments. This is industry-standard for all book sales as it takes time to collect money from individual retailers. So January royalties would be recieved in May, February royalties in June. 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.