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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a question kind of off topic in a way (off topic as in the Almighty Kindle rules all---Which it does- to a point- but sales are sluggish and I really want to get my little story out there and sell some copies as well as share it with people who love to read but have no plans to buy a Kindle)

What if I were to wish to sell hard copies right out of my home?
And not hardcovers.... but actual paper manuscripts of my work?
Say I went to Kinko's and printed up say.... 30 copies on my own- (giving it maybe a glued spine or even stapled)

Then.... I went on my webpage and offered them for sale so that if maybe 15 people wanted a copy they could pay me on pay pal (a button would be on my webpage- or they could pay with check or money order) and once the payment was processed, I would snail mail them the paper version?

I would of course keep good records for the annual sludge voyage through the tax adventures in April

If sales warrant, I could easily hurry back to Kinko's and run off more copies

Now I was thinking of the novella down there, Charlie's Corner
Sell it for 2.99 and shipping costs (some of which I would eat on my own to make the sale) so that the reader, in total, is paying no more than 5 bucks

And I'm also thinking a plain white cover- just text- which would keep costs down even more than going out and printing a full color cover

I guess I would just start with United States sales for now
The novella would run about 130 pages and ship in a standard envelope

Has anyone else done this kind of thing?

If you will recall, Richard Paul Evans did this very thing with A Christmas Box and now look where he is is today

I have no fantasy of getting quite that wealthy but I just want to share my story to a wider audience than thru Kindle (where sales average 1 or 2 units a month) and yet not have to suffer thru the struggles of submitting it to a "real" publisher, which could take years JUST getting a sale, if not the additional waiting period for it to get on their printing schedule etc etc etc

Thoughts or comments?
 

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Yes, Frank, you can.
You can also sell nuclear weapons from your home. But the challenge would be the same. How do you get your customers to find you?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
LOL  I do have a webpage which is dormant for now but as soon as i figure this out I'll be marketing it
(but without the nukes.... those are illegal    besides, I've no place to park more than a few of them anyway)
 

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Sure, but like Scott said, how will potential customers find you?

Also, simply going to Kinko's and printing your own copies isn't going to create the nice professional, finished look most readers look for in a paperback.

That being said, I do always keep a box of printed copies in my house for this very reason, but I use CreateSpace. I can buy copies of my own book for just $2.60 plus s/h (so it's advantageous to buy in bulk). The list price is $6.99.

I'd say the majority of my sales are probably either through Amazon directly to readers or through the library ordering method, but I do always keep some books to sell directly from home, since occasionally a reader will want an autographed copy, or I might set up a speaking engagement at a local library (and can bring copies to sell, etc).

Since I can buy them for $2.60 (plus s/h) and sell them directly for $6.99 (plus s/h if I have to send it somewhere or no s/h if I can conduct the transaction in person) then I can get a much bigger royalty than I would through Amazon (roughly $4, instead of $1.54). Or I can even sell them for less than I do on Amazon (say $5 or $6) and still make more than I would by selling through Amazon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Amanda I'll check them out

Still welcoming additional comments here not just for me but other writers out there who were thinking the same thing but may have been too shy to stick their question out here
 

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Going thru Createspace is FAR cheaper than getting copies at Kinko's! And you can get a nice cover, too. (I know, I got copies made for beta readers at Kinko's.) You always want to project a professional image, even if the book is inexpensive. Kinko's copies = unprofessional.
Best of luck!  :)
 
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Of course you can. I know large chunks of the RPG industry started out that way.

The problems? Photocopied books bound at Kinkos can be more expensive than going the POD route through Lightning Source or CPI Rowe. It also doesn't give you the finished look you may want. If you have any local print shops (the type that do magazines) they might be able to produce something better or even handle POD in-house. If you are planning to put an ISBN on the print book, that would also require a bit of extra cash.

Then you need to reach an audience and pursuade them to buy it, which is the tricky part.
 

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I agree with what others have said. If I were offered the opportunity to buy somebody's bound manuscript, I'd decline.

There is no market for bound manuscripts, and your copying costs are high. There is a big market for polished-looking books, and with "print on demand" through CreateSpace, there's absolutely no reason for you to deny yourself the opportunity of producing a good-looking "book," because the up-front costs to you are very small.

I don't know how many CreateSpace books you'll sell, but I will guarantee you that you'll sell more than you would of a Kinkos-bound manuscript.
 
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First, the technical/logistical problems:

1. Depending on where you live, you may be required to collect sales tax. This can become an enormous headache from an accounting standpoint. Some people would tell you to not worry about it until you start making money. That is sort of like saying it is OK to speed until you get caught. Yeah, you can get away with speeding for years, but the day you get caught you end up with thousands in fines and jacked up insurance rates.

2. Depending on where you live, selling out of your home may push you into a business entity. If you live in a strict residential district, you may need an actual license to sell from your home, or register a DBA/Trade Name, or get a waiver to run a business from home. This is not a problem in some parts of the country. It is a huge nightmare in others.

3. Shipping and packing cost to one-off ship can get extremely high. Amazon can ship cheap because they have a bulk shipper account (which is what most large retailers have) that gives them discounted rates on their shipping because they ship in high volume. Yes, you can ship a book media mail in the U.S. for $2. But what about shipping outside the U.S.? Yes, you still have media mail options for shipments overseas, but they can take WEEKS to reach a customer (assuming they reach the customer at all). I ship a lot of comp copies overseas to writers. Whenever I do a shipment, at least one of them will get lost in the mail. So then I have the expense of sending a second package.

Second, the practical problems:

If you can't convince people to spend $2.99 on your ebook via Amazon now, what makes you think you will be able to find a market that will mail you a check/send you money via paypal, and then wait a week for the Kinko copy to arrive? :eek: There is no market for mail order Xerox copies of indie author books.

If you want to sell more books, you need a marketing plan. Making Xerox copies to mail is not a marketing plan. If you are only selling one or two copies a month, you have no marketing plan in place. Xerox copies won't help you.
 

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The problems? Photocopied books bound at Kinkos can be more expensive than going the POD route through Lightning Source or CPI Rowe.
That's exactly what I was going to say. I had a 400 page manuscript bound for my Mom 2 years ago at Kinkos and it cost me $49. Yes, $49!

I had a 200 page manuscript have the little spiral binding and a plastic cover at OfficeMax and IT was $4.

You'll be losing money before you know it that way.

Good luck to you though!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks to everyone so far for then insightful comments
All good (and important) things to think over
Still going to look into it and see what flies (but with eyes open)
 
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