Main Content

Setting a price for your print book

When you set your book’s list price, you have to make it high enough to cover the cost of printing and the retailer’s discount. Let’s assume you’re printing a 200-page book at CreateSpace. The discount is 20% for sales through CreateSpace, 40% for sales through Amazon, and 60% for Expanded Distribution.*

For B&W books of 110-828 pages printed in the U.S.:

printing cost = (.012 × [# of pages]) + .85

The cost of printing a 200-page book would be

printing cost = (.012 × 200) + .85

printing cost = ( 2.4 ) + .85

printing cost = 3.25

printing cost = $3.25

Now, let’s say you set the list price at $19.95. Here’s what you would receive for sales through expanded distribution:

net = 19.95 – (19.95 × 60%) – 3.25

net = 19.95 – ( 11.97 ) – 3.25

net = 19.95 – 15.22

net = $4.73 Expanded Distribution

The net is what you get paid.

Here’s what you would get for sales through Amazon’s main site:

net = 19.95 – (19.95 × 40%) – 3.25

net = 19.95 – ( 7.98 ) – 3.25

net = 19.95 – 11.23

net = $8.72

Here’s what you would get for sales through CreateSpace (not Amazon):

net = 19.95 – (19.95 × 20%) – 3.25

net = 19.95 – ( 3.99 ) – 3.25

net = 19.95 – 7.24

net = $12.71

*CreateSpace’s book costs formula is here:

Selecting an editor based on the books they’ve edited

It’s difficult to judge the quality of editing without seeing the original manuscript.

If the writing is really clean, it’s easier to catch nearly all the errors. (No one can reasonably claim 100% error-free results.)

If the manuscript is a mess, the editor may be so busy fixing the major problems that smaller errors near the major problems are overlooked. (Literally overlooked — the eye skims over them and focuses on the bigger problem.)

These other factors may also affect the quality of editing in a published book: The writer was willing to pay only for a quick read-through; the writer specified that only certain kinds of errors were to be fixed; the writer rejected the editor’s changes; the writer revised after editing and introduced more errors.

Choosing a book size

What trim size should I select for my book? This question comes up all the time.

How many words does your manuscript have? Let’s assume for planning purposes that the manuscript is regular text only (no bullet points, footnotes, etc.) and each book page will have 300 words.

(This number only a rough estimate! The actual number of words will vary with the page size, margins, typeface, font size, and leading [space between lines], and depending on whether new chapters are run-in [continue on the same page] or start on the next page or the next odd page.)

The numbers below include 10 pages for front matter; new chapters are run-in.

40,000-60,000 words 143-210 book pages
60,000-80,000 words 210-277 book pages
80,000-100,000 words 277-343 book pages

The printed book should be proportionately thick and tall. Books of 100 pages in a 6×9 trim size look skimply and feel flimsy. Books of 500 pages in a 5×8 trim size are a little thick and could be printed more economically with a larger trim size.

Below are some rough guidelines. Follow them with care and consider your particular situation. If you’re planning a series of books, look at the expected number of pages for each one individually. If the first book will be 650 pages and the third book will be 200 pages, a midrange size of 5.5×8.5 might be best.

40-250 pages 5×8 inches
200-600 pages 5.5×8.5 inches
300-800 pages 6×9 inches