Author Topic: Indie Authors Wanted  (Read 4588 times)  

Offline CynthiaClay

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Indie Authors Wanted
« on: November 27, 2017, 06:24:13 PM »
I run a boutique theater/art gallery/bookstore, and I need books. I specialize in selling Indie Author paperbacks. Basically you rent shelf space and send your books to me, and you keep 80% of your sales. For more information go to storycrafter studio dot org  Be sure to browse the site. We have photos and films up. I hope to hear from my fellow Indie authors!

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Offline Becca Mills

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2017, 07:16:07 PM »
Cynthia, you're welcome to promote your book store here in the Writers' Cafe.

Now that you have an official thread, you may want to add your listing to our Yellow Pages, found here: http://www.kboards.com/yp/. The listing is free to KB members and is completely self-service; you can add and edit your listing from the page. More information on our Yellow Pages listing can be found here.

In your thread here, we ask that the same basic rules be followed as we have for authors in the Book Bazaar: you may have this one thread about your service and must post to it rather than start a new thread each time. New threads about the service will be removed. Please bookmark this thread so that you can find it again when you want to post. You may not make back-to-back posts to the thread within seven days. If someone responds (as I'm doing with this post), you may reply to them, but otherwise you must wait seven days. Please note that very short or (one- or two-word) posts with no meaningful information are discouraged and may be deleted at the moderators' discretion. Lastly, your posts and images will need to meet our "forum decorum" guidelines, which is the case for every member.

Note that members are allowed to provide civil and honest feedback about your service in this thread. This feedback may include criticisms as well as kudos. You may respond in a civil manner. Members may also ask questions -- about how the service works, for example, or what they will get for their money, or whether your service adheres to Amazon's terms of service.

Disputes between you and the authors you work with should be handled off-site.

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Offline Martitalbott

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2017, 07:53:51 PM »
Let's see, with my author discount, I pay $3.34 per book plus shipping, which is $3.59 and tax $.34. So it costs me $7.27 for one book. My list price is $10.95, and you get 20% of the list price, which is $2.19. Therefore, my cost is $9.46.
Must be doing something wrong. Amazon marketplace has a 40/60 split, which is why Indies can't afford that program without making their prices too high.
       
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Offline Doglover

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2017, 01:44:29 AM »
Cynthia, this is a great idea but I think you'd do better to have the authors order and send direct to you. I can't see how it will be profitable otherwise and certainly not for non-US authors, like me. I can't even get author copies at a reasonable price by the time the postage is added.


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Offline Lars Blurnstad

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2017, 06:07:23 AM »
Let's see, with my author discount, I pay $3.34 per book plus shipping, which is $3.59 and tax $.34. So it costs me $7.27 for one book. My list price is $10.95, and you get 20% of the list price, which is $2.19. Therefore, my cost is $9.46.
Must be doing something wrong. Amazon marketplace has a 40/60 split, which is why Indies can't afford that program without making their prices too high.
This is the thing, isn't it? The shipping on PoD doubles our cost as soon as it hits the delivery truck, making the pocket change earned on consignment hardly worth the effort involved unless we can move large volumes of books. When consumers order paperbacks, they incur the delivery charge themselves, and our margin increases substantially as a result. Weighing effort vs revenue, it's difficult to justify the math to sell even in local bookstores, and that always makes me a bit sad.

Offline CynthiaClay

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2017, 08:45:51 AM »
These comments are very helpful. Yes, the authors would have their POD company send their books directly to me. Also Each author would send a min of 12 books with a max of three titles so that would make your POD charge go down. (The more copies the less each is.) Also this makes the postage go down. In the US, if your POD gives you the Media Mail option be sure to take it, it is often the cheapest shipping cost for books. (Historically speaking Media Mail used to be called Book Rate to ensure free speech by lowering the financial burden.)

Most importantly, I have increased the author percentage to 88%.  ;D

Because Borders tanked and Barnes & Noble closed their store in my area, there are no bookstores for miles around me despite the fact that there are very affluent areas  and three colleges within a mile of me.  My theater/art/book boutique is in North Miami on a street that leads to one of Miami's famous beaches.





« Last Edit: November 28, 2017, 09:13:21 AM by CynthiaClay »

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Offline Lars Blurnstad

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2017, 09:04:54 AM »
Basically you rent shelf space and send your books to me, and you keep 80% of your sales.
Just to confirm, there is also a flat-fee for the 90-day shelf rental in addition to the revenue share, correct? So it's $75 for 3 months of shelf space + 12% of book sales?

Offline CynthiaClay

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2017, 04:32:04 PM »
We are getting close to opening...

There are no book stores near us for about 15 miles, so Indie authors rent shelf space so I can sell your books.




Edited. Photos this large need a size tag in with the img tag. I used "height=300" in downsizing this one (no quote marks). Looks like this: [img height=300]http://www.cyn...[/img] Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca
« Last Edit: December 27, 2017, 09:55:58 AM by Becca Mills »

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Offline Tizzy

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2017, 04:56:46 PM »
Honestly, with a $75 price for shelf space I can't see how any authors could ever break even, let alone make a profit with your proposition. Sure you sell those items and there are no other book stores around, but most authors make less than $5 a sale for physical books whose price is more often than not above $10.

With this proposition, the author has to pay for the shipping to your store and give you a 12% of the book price, which means most authors might perhaps if they have a good POD distributor and shipping isn't too expensive end up making $3/sale. Which means we'd have to sell 25 copies of our books over a three-month period to just break even. Wanna make at least $100 to offset the risk? That's over 50 copies you have to move, and while many authors here move way more than 50 copies a month they aren't print copies on a single city.

This proposal sounds good at first, but when you look into it it's terribly risky and I doubt any of us would make money with this. Good luck with your center, as I love places dedicated to teaching arts and spreading the word around about new or interesting movements, but this is a risk I can't see myself taking anytime soon, or ever at all.

Offline Puddleduck

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2017, 05:15:37 PM »
I'm not really understanding (from the author's perspective, not yours) why you're charging for shelf space and taking a cut of the sale price. Its a slim margin for the author even without the shelf rental charge. With it, and it's kind of ... well, silly. Just seems like throwing money away.

Do you have any stats you can share of specific authors doing this and making a certain amount of money (meaning profit, after all these costs)?

I mean, this isn't how retail businesses really run, is it? You're kind of asking the author to take all the risk, aren't you? You get the guaranteed money from the shelf space rental, so you don't actually have to sell any of those books, and the author just eats the cost of you running your business. Especially when it sounds like you're only allowing authors to stock 3 of their books at a time with you, but they have to send you at least 12 copies of each? What if someone has a 4 or more book series? Unless you can prove to us that this has resulted in non-negligible profit for a fair number of authors, I just don't understand why you think anyone would go for this? It's just not adding up for me, so much so that I wonder why you think this would appeal to any authors.

Three titles maximum for $75. So, that's roughly one inch of shelf space for $25 (x3), plus a cut of the already slim margin on the actual sale of the book. Nope, I just don't get it. I mean, from your perspective, yes, it allows you to run a store by renting out shelf space instead of actually having to make decisions about what to stock based on what you think you can sell, so it gives you some security there if you can get enough authors to buy into it. But ... yeah, no. For all of us authors, I don't see how that's in the least bit a good deal.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2017, 05:20:18 PM by Puddleduck »

Offline Doglover

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2017, 10:24:13 PM »
For $75 I'd want a whole shelf to myself.


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Offline CynthiaClay

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2017, 01:30:03 AM »
I'm not really understanding (from the author's perspective, not yours) why you're charging for shelf space and taking a cut of the sale price. Its a slim margin for the author even without the shelf rental charge.
I mean, this isn't how retail businesses really run, is it?
Three titles maximum for $75.

You may not be aware of it, but in the US, at least, all grocery stores charge for shelf space as well as requiring a profit on the sale of the product sold. So, yes, this is how some retail works and has for a very long time.

Next, there is a store in Ft. Myers, FL called PJ Boox that charges $100 for about the same amount of shelf space for four months. They take a smaller percentage on each book than I am, but costs in Miami for retail space are high. Also, quite a bit of that percentage goes to the store clerk as a commission since salespeople do work harder at selling when they get a base pay and a commission. PJ Boox has 500 Indie authors renting shelves in their stores. PJ Boox started by renting some space in a gift shop; then opened their own shop; and now have added a second store. They seem to be doing very well with growth like that.

If you consider that some of the more famous book advertising venues charge $70  and up (into the hundreds) for a single day of advertising, $75 for three months of visibility with events, advertising, and salespeople to champion your books in an area that has several well-to-do neighborhoods within a mile and no other non-religious bookstore for ten miles or more, then which makes more sense, one day to advertise your book on sale for $0 or three months with your book pushed at full price? Look up realtor.com housing prices of Miami Shores, Belle Harbor, Aventura, and Sans Souci in Miami-Dade County of Florida.










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Offline Doglover

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2017, 01:37:28 AM »
You may not be aware of it, but in the US, at least, all grocery stores charge for shelf space as well as requiring a profit on the sale of the product sold. So, yes, this is how some retail works and has for a very long time.

Next, there is a store in Ft. Myers, FL called PJ Boox that charges $100 for about the same amount of shelf space for four months. They take a smaller percentage on each book than I am, but costs in Miami for retail space are high. Also, quite a bit of that percentage goes to the store clerk as a commission since salespeople do work harder at selling when they get a base pay and a commission. PJ Boox has 500 Indie authors renting shelves in their stores. PJ Boox started by renting some space in a gift shop; then opened their own shop; and now have added a second store. They seem to be doing very well with growth like that.

If you consider that some of the more famous book advertising venues charge $70  and up (into the hundreds) for a single day of advertising, $75 for three months of visibility with events, advertising, and salespeople to champion your books in an area that has several well-to-do neighborhoods within a mile and no other non-religious bookstore for ten miles or more, then which makes more sense, one day to advertise your book on sale for $0 or three months with your book pushed at full price? Look up realtor.com housing prices of Miami Shores, Belle Harbor, Aventura, and Sans Souci in Miami-Dade County of Florida.










If Harrods were offering, or one of our bigger book shops, it might be worth it. What you are failing to understand is that you are comparing your prices with those of larger organisations who command a much bigger name and many thousands of customers. It's like comparing an ad on Facebook with an ad on my website, which gets minimal traffic.

You are, in fact, asking us to pay for our books, the postage, and shelf space. Anyone outside the USA would never be able to do this, and even those within the USA will find themselves with little, if any profit.

The cost of housing the area has absolutely nothing to do with it. Many people who live in big, expensive houses do so because they scrimp everywhere else.


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Offline anikad

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2017, 03:09:18 AM »
Quote
PJ Boox has 500 Indie authors renting shelves in their stores. PJ Boox started by renting some space in a gift shop; then opened their own shop; and now have added a second store. They seem to be doing very well with growth like that.

I'm not surprised. I suspect like Publish America/ America Star Books they make the bulk of their money by charging authors, rather than selling direct to the public. Unfortunately there are always authors desperate for validation that they don't make proper business decisions.

Offline PamelaKelley

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2017, 04:21:29 AM »
You may not be aware of it, but in the US, at least, all grocery stores charge for shelf space as well as requiring a profit on the sale of the product sold. So, yes, this is how some retail works and has for a very long time.

Next, there is a store in Ft. Myers, FL called PJ Boox that charges $100 for about the same amount of shelf space for four months. They take a smaller percentage on each book than I am, but costs in Miami for retail space are high. Also, quite a bit of that percentage goes to the store clerk as a commission since salespeople do work harder at selling when they get a base pay and a commission. PJ Boox has 500 Indie authors renting shelves in their stores. PJ Boox started by renting some space in a gift shop; then opened their own shop; and now have added a second store. They seem to be doing very well with growth like that.

If you consider that some of the more famous book advertising venues charge $70  and up (into the hundreds) for a single day of advertising, $75 for three months of visibility with events, advertising, and salespeople to champion your books in an area that has several well-to-do neighborhoods within a mile and no other non-religious bookstore for ten miles or more, then which makes more sense, one day to advertise your book on sale for $0 or three months with your book pushed at full price? Look up realtor.com housing prices of Miami Shores, Belle Harbor, Aventura, and Sans Souci in Miami-Dade County of Florida.



It seems like the author is taking all the risk. What would make more sense would be for you to not charge shelf space rent. Bookstores don't normally do that, except for coop space, which is the best real estate in the store, the tables and end caps. The actual shelves, not so much. Especially for a brand new store with no guaranteed foot traffic. Once you build that traffic, then you could make a case for charging for some of the shelf space--front tables, end caps, or more. Right now, when you need books on the shelves for a reason to bring that traffic in? I'd say not so much. The ROI isn't likely to be there.

Offline Marty South

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2017, 05:45:21 AM »
Amazon has 244 million customers, 80 million of which are US Prime members. That's how many shoppers it took to sell however many print books each of us sold this month. Even the most generous guess I can muster as to the foot traffic for a small storefront theater book shop like this makes the proportional sales forecast dismal. Practically speaking, the only one who makes money on this deal is the shelf owner. This is not a viable business model for authors.

Offline Dean Kutzler

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2017, 06:59:43 AM »
Cynthia, thank you for the offer. This is a great thing for people that just want to get into a "real" brick/mortar bookstore. But, as the rest have stated, it isn't worth our dollars. The exposure isn't high enough. We're here to sell a lot of books and hopefully make a living from our writing.

I think you have a great opportunity there, since there are no bookstores in the area. Although, the business part of my mind that I've suppressed since switching careers to full-time writing in 2012 is whispering in my ear that there's a reason for that. Have you done any market research to see where the demand for a physical bookstore sits?

If I were you, I would reorganize that storefront and dedicate a good amount of space to a separate walk-in area for the books. Then I'd hit all the local and nonlocal libraries when they have their book sales. There are many hardcover-only readers that read books and donate them to the library. Before I turned completely digital in my collections (except for cookbooks - gotta have those in print) I used to get CURRENT titles being sold in those named bookstores dirt cheap. They often do sales for $5 or $10 a bag!! (May just be my area, not sure, but worth looking in to.) I'd walk away with a ton of new books for a fraction of the price.

Stock that bookstore with these titles and revamp your Indie Author program to make it more affordable. This way...you'll have a bigger attraction for readers and more chance for profit. You can also funnel that foot traffic into the art galley. Worst-case-scenario is that the gallery will get word-of-mouth exposure. I think separating the two is essential.

That's just my opinion... Best of luck!
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Offline Laura Rae Amos

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2017, 07:01:22 AM »
What plans do you have to draw readers into the store? Based on your website, it looks like your business leans heavily toward the theater groups, so what percentage of those people would even be interested in purchasing books?

How are the books arranged? By genre? Randomly?

How long have you been selling books? How many books does your shop sell on an average day? $75 is a lot of money to risk without seeing any previous authors to vouch for sales rates. Do you have any testimonials? How many books do your authors tend to sell in a 3-month period? (Average sales rates by genre would be good, like the breakdown that BookBub gives on their ad rates page.)

If you don't have any testimonials yet, you might consider offering some authors a reduced introductory rate so you can gain those testimonials and sales figures.

I have heard of PJ Boox before, who are doing a similar thing, and I am half-interested in this retail model, but I'm just not seeing any authors speaking up to say that they've tried it and it works. Last time I checked, PJ Boox didn't have those kind of testimonials available, either.

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2017, 07:18:35 AM »
Nope!


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Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2017, 08:24:12 AM »
You may not be aware of it, but in the US, at least, all grocery stores charge for shelf space as well as requiring a profit on the sale of the product sold. So, yes, this is how some retail works and has for a very long time.

I work in contract packaging. This is not entirely accurate.

Premium shelf space placement may incur a fee depending on the retailer, but only premium shelf placement (such as endcaps, displays, aisle interruptors, etc). But there is never a fee placement PLUS a commission. Retailers buy the product at wholesale rates and are then responsible for it. If they don't sell it after the premium placement deal expires, they just move the product to a regular shelf. If toothpaste costs $2.99 retail, they pay wholesale to the manufacturer (for example purposes, $1.49, or 50% off). The normal process is usually number of products in display/placement x wholesale cost - premium placement fee. So if a PDQ tray holds 20 boxes of toothpaste, the retailer would pay (20 x $1.49) - premium placement fee if there is one. The premium placement tends to be short (a week or two at most). Any leftover product in the display, after the placement is over, is moved to the general shelves.

That said, it is not unusual for a consignment deal to have a placement fee plus a commission. But it is inaccurate to imply that this is a normal retail set-up. It isn't. This is my day job. I have more knowledge than most of how retail really works.

I am confused about what I actually get for "shelf space." For $75, I only get to place three books? That makes NO financial sense for an author. None. There is no way for an author to recover their expenses. And you can't compare this to renting table space at a convention for one day, because at a convention I have an entire table to myself and can actually recover my expenses. Plus, I get the benefit of interacting directly with potential readers, so I can get them signed up for my mailing list.

I am not opposed to consignment deals. In fact, I HAVE consignment deals with a couple of hobby shops. I pay monthly for a shelf...an entire shelf that holds about 30-35 books. The bookstore gets 15% of the sale. I send them 50 books at a time and they restock as they make sales. They let me know when they are getting low and cut me a check monthly for the books sold minus the shelf fee.

The only difference for me in this case is that I front the cost of the books and they take 15%, instead of them buying directly from the distributor where they only get a 25-30% discount off the book but then the distributor takes an additional 10-15% for their fees so it works out all the same to me.  And honestly I would never take a consignment deal unless I could negotiate the terms. The one presented is very one-sided and doesn't really benefit the author other than bragging rights to say they have a book in a physical store.



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Offline Herefortheride

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2017, 08:44:52 AM »
Hi, I'm wondering if the numbers ($75 per month +12% of sales) was a calculation based on how many books you expect to move or a price that made you feel comfortable.

As authors, we would have to consider how many books we have to sell in that 90 day period to make up for your costs PLUS our postage, and wholesale book price.

It seems it would take a lot of sales to break even.
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Offline veinglory

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #21 on: December 27, 2017, 08:46:09 AM »
To me a consignment deal is: the author provides the book, royalty is paid upon sale.  Anything else sounds like a good way to lose money.  Even standard consignment only really makes sense if you can avoid shipping costs or expect a lot of sales.
 

Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #22 on: December 27, 2017, 09:03:10 AM »
To me a consignment deal is: the author provides the book, royalty is paid upon sale.  Anything else sounds like a good way to lose money.  Even standard consignment only really makes sense if you can avoid shipping costs or expect a lot of sales.

True. Consignment makes NO sense if you are only sending two or three books. For it to be profitable, you need to work in bulk and the store needs to be able to turn over that inventory (and have a good way of tracking it.) And a good consignment agreement should include verbiage regarding shrinkage and damages that protects the author. if I am fronting the books, I expect the store to maintain accurate inventory and not lose my books and expect me to eat the cost. I don't see any mention of this.

Again, consignment is a legitimate distribution tool if it is a real partnership between the vendor and publisher. I wouldn't rule out any consignment deal ever. But it needs to benefit both sides.

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Offline Herefortheride

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #23 on: December 27, 2017, 09:14:42 AM »
True. Consignment makes NO sense if you are only sending two or three books. For it to be profitable, you need to work in bulk and the store needs to be able to turn over that inventory (and have a good way of tracking it.) And a good consignment agreement should include verbiage regarding shrinkage and damages that protects the author. if I am fronting the books, I expect the store to maintain accurate inventory and not lose my books and expect me to eat the cost. I don't see any mention of this.

Again, consignment is a legitimate distribution tool if it is a real partnership between the vendor and publisher. I wouldn't rule out any consignment deal ever. But it needs to benefit both sides.

@Julie-Considering we are paying for the wholesale price, shipping it, paying the shelf fee, and the commission how many copies on average do we need to turn around in that time span to break even?
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Offline Tizzy

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Re: Indie Authors Wanted
« Reply #24 on: December 27, 2017, 09:34:40 AM »
@Julie-Considering we are paying for the wholesale price, shipping it, paying the shelf fee, and the commission how many copies on average do we need to turn around in that time span to break even?

For my novel I calculated about 25 copies in that time span, selling each copy at $15 and assuming shipping costs are $2/copy, but I hear they might be higher. It's very risky to expect to sell 25 copies of a novel in the same place in three months, tho.