Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Novel Approach

Frustrated with his inability to sell an “inventive and funny” new novel called A Gonzo Noir through conventional publishing channels, Irish writer (and Rap Sheet contributor) Declan Burke proposes to get it into print another way: through “a variation on crowd-funding, in which a reader pledges a certain amount of money to see the book published, and in return receives a copy of the book when it sees the light of day.” As he explains in his blog:
So: how much am I asking readers to pledge? Well, I reckon that €7 lies somewhere between what you might pay for a conventionally published book brand new off the shelves, and what you might pay for a decent book in a second-hand store. €7 converts (as of today’s conversion rates, February 17th) to roughly $9.60 (U.S.), $10.60 (Aus.), $10 (Can.), and £6 (UK).

The cost of self-publishing, going the print-on-demand (POD) route, is roughly €1,500. At €7 per book, that means I need to sell 214 books to break even, which seems to me eminently do-able. Of course, if everyone who pledges is [to] receive a copy, then I need to build in post-and-packing at €5 per book, which bumps up the cost-per-book to me to €12. Were I to ask for a pledge of €12 per book, that would mean I’d need to sell 125 copies to break even. Sticking with the original pledge of €7, however, which I’d prefer to do, means I need to sell 367 books to break even, which still seems do-able to me. In total, then, I need to raise €2,570 to print, publish and post 367 books; if such can be done, I will receive a profit of almost exactly nil, but I’ll have a new book on the shelf, and--hopefully, if a tad optimistically--367 readers given good value for their €7 investment.
I have a birthday coming up next month, so will add a pre-release order for A Gonzo Noir to my list of gift possibilities. Although this route to publishing probably isn’t for everyone, if it brings me another good night’s read, then it’s worthwhile.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I take it you're a fan of Marillion, Declan, since that's how they've stayed in business for the past 12 years.