14 March 2013

Cover Girl

If you sign up for this blog I'll be letting you in on the closest guarded secrets of the publishing industry.
How much money can be made from publishing?
How much can be earned from my novel?

Watch this space for a day by day financial update!

This isn't the cover we decided on for Due Diligence, but I really like it myself. The picture evokes the contrast between the plush city centre offices and the gritty urban landscape that surrounds them. As soon as you get off the main streets, Manchester, like any other major city, seems derelict and threatening. A perfect setting for my crime thriller.

You can probably appreciate the artistic skill that has gone in to this design. The portentous darkening sky, the cityscape, the brighter ribbon of the River Irwell, reflections of the story and its setting. The cover artist, Emma, has actually read Due Diligence (and the sequel, Proceeds of Crime) and loved it. That helps a lot, I'm sure.

Following discussion with the experienced professionals that comprise Open Circle, it was agreed that there needed to be a figure in the landscape. A human being to help engage the reader. So Emma produced some more original artwork.

Covers are of paramount importance. Publishers know this. The big ones have large departments containing lots of artists and graphic designers, smaller ones use talented contractors. At Open Circle, we are lucky to have Emma so we get our covers designed in-house by someone who is not only a talented artist but also an avid reader.

But I digress. You're here for the money, aren't you? You're interested in the financial details, not the artistic nuances.

Let's get back to that, then.

Remember what we needed to earn from Due Diligence? I calculated it as £24,000 or 24,000 copies of the ebook. That's after the publisher takes half the royalty from Amazon and gives me the other half.

So why not just self-publish? Earn twice as much from each copy?

I could, in fact. As Open Circle is my business I effectively am self-publishing. The reason I'm doing it this way is to see if we can help other writers who aren't so fortunate. I've been able to afford the time and expense of producing a top class book. Without the professional cover art, the services of a brilliant editor and a lot of time and expense from others, Due Diligence would be a ragged piece of unevenness that didn't quite make complete sense. I'd still love it, of course, but I'm only the author so I'm very biased.

The other reason for splitting the proceeds with a publisher is marketing. If nobody knows about Due Diligence they won't buy it however good it might be.So Open Circle have to spend a big chunk of their half of the money on making sure the book sells and keeps on selling. In addition, Open Circle has already paid for the editing and cover design.

Open Circle, and any publisher of repute, has to invest in a book without any guarantee of return. The author risks that his time won't be fully recompensed, the publisher risks hard cash in the hope that they will both get paid. So, publishers like Open Circle are the good guys. There's plenty of bad guys out there who require payments from authors for upfront services and marketing. I'm hoping we can do much better if we all work together.

Next time, ebook publishing and what to expect.