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Frequently Asked Questions - WSSp

WritersServices Self-publishing

  1. Can I have just one book printed?
  2. Can I include photos and diagrams?
  3. Are there size limits?
  4. Do the print on demand books look different?
  5. How do I get an estimate?
  6. How do I order?
  7. What royalty can I expect?
  8. How long does the process take?
  9. Who sets the price?
  10. Is there a minimum price?
  11. How will my book reach readers?
  12. Do full-colour covers cost more?
  13. Can you order hardbacks as well as paperbacks?
  14. Do I need an ISBN?
  15. Can I publish under my own imprint?
  16. Can I order books for myself?
  17. How can people buy my book?
  18. How does my book get into the shops?
  19. Why can't I find my book in the shops?
  20. Does the book have to be published in every country?
  21. Can I revise my book?
  22. What's the catch with POD?
  23. What is digital publication?
  24. Does the writer get some free copies?

Can I have just one book printed?

Yes, and no. Once the book is published you or any bookshop can order single or multiple copies. Orders from wholesalers, bookshops and online sellers such as Amazon are passed electronically to the print works. If you are ordering copies for yourself you can still order a single copy but when you add the cost of delivery it works out almost as cheap to buy it through a bookshop. We cost our sales price to you, the writer, based on orders of 25 copies.

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Can I include photos & diagrams?

Yes. These reproduce well but there are some limits. At present the technology is only suitable for black & white material. Diagrams and line drawings work very well. Our designers can work on old photographs to improve the contrast so they print well on normal, book paper. Colour is also now available.

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Are there size limits?

Books come in many sizes and all the standard book sizes are available. The decision about size is normally left to the designer but if your book has to fit into a series we can probably accommodate it. There is also a maximum and minimum number of pages – at present these are 900 and 48 respectively.

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Do the print on demand books look different?

They look exactly the same as books produced using regular batch production processes. If anything, they are of slightly higher quality, which is one reason that this new technology is so popular for academic books.

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How do I estimate the costs?

Visit our pages about the cost of publishing your book. If you decide to go ahead, just send half the estimated amount and the material. We will send a detailed quote with the preliminary sketches. You pay the balance when the proof is approved.

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How do I order?

Work out an estimate first then use the form provided which will tell us about your bookif you think you want to go ahead. If you want to go ahead, you send us all the material and half the estimated cost. We will then send the preliminary designs, along with a confirmed quote to complete the book. You will be asked to approve the design at each stage. We then talk, or email, to confirm details such as the price and send you a contract.  Every book is different so the process does vary.

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What royalty can I expect?

You need to make an allowance of 30-40% to the retail chain and we agree this with you in your contract. Royalty payments traditionally are a bit slow arriving - we have to wait up to 90 days for payment through the retail chain - We  process the figures each quarter. This is better than most publishers who pay annually based on figures that are months old. In practice you will receive roughly 50% of the cover price and the good news is that any sales discounts come out of the retailers share, not yours.

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How long does the process take?

We normally go through 3 stages of consultation over the designs, which is likely to stretch over a month or more depending on your response time and workload in the studio. It can easily take a month to get your text in order and the extra pages sorted out. We also prefer to leave another 4 weeks before formal publication as it takes this long for the bookshops to receive notification about your book. This adds up to about 3 months. More

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Who sets the price?

You do, but we will advise you. The price you charge should depend on the market you are aiming at. A novel would be cheaper than an academic book.

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Is there a minimum price?

There is a £7.99 minimum for books entering the UK retail system. If the price is lower, there is not enough margin after the production costs have been paid to make it worth distributing to bookshops.

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How will my book reach readers?

There are three channels:

  1. We distribute through a top UK and world distributor. They cover 90%+ of bookshops and provide on-line ordering for the shops.
  2. Our books are in the Amazon bookshops
  3. But you can also buy copies and supply them to the public at events such as signings.
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Do colour covers cost more?

No.  All covers are printed on a colour printer.

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Can you order hardbacks?

Yes, two styles of hardback are offered. The traditional cloth and jacket combination is available and there is also the 'board hardback', the card and laminated cover which is suitable for study or reference works.

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Do I need an ISBN?

If your book is going to be sold through bookshops it must have an ISBN. Only if you intend to publish your book solely for private circulation should you do without an ISBN. We provide this and arrange for the various legal deposits as part of our services which is included in the estimate.

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Can I publish under my own imprint?

About a third of our writers publish under an imprint name of their own so it has their logo etc on the cover. However, if anybody trawls the ISBN catalogue, it will show that it is published by WritersServices Self-publishing. This allows us to link your book into the distribution network we have set up. 

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What is digital publication?

We use the term to mean that your book is published and a copy or copies can be printed whenever orders are received. We use print-on-demand technology so there is no stock of books sitting around. Digital publication means that we can print your book in all countries with suitable printers saving on transport and delivery time. Most of the big publishers are now employing digital publication for their back-list.

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Can I order books for myself?

You can order copies of your book at any stage. There is no minimum order. In your contract we will agree the purchase price (based on the purchase of 25 copies at a time. You can order fewer, but the delivery costs mean this will cost more). The price includes an allowance for delivery but this will obviously vary a little depending where you want the copies sent. You are the only person we will supply. All other orders must go through the book retailers.

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How can people buy my book?

Once published, the details of your book are notified to the book trade. Bookshops use an online index, often updated by CD, to look up books that they want to buy. The other way to obtain your book is through Amazon.

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How does my book get into the shops?

Once your book has been published, the various wholesalers are notified. The bookshops use these wholesalers' catalogues to prepare their orders. It can take some weeks for the catalogue to reach the bookshops. If your book has been well promoted, bookshops might order it for stock. However, it is more realistic to expect your early readers to order copies through their favourite bookshop.

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Why can't I find my book in the shops?

There are a number of reasons why you can't find your book.

  1. Bookshops only order books they think they can sell, or they have specific orders for.  They may not have heard about your book if it has not had any publicity and you have not sold it to them.
  2. It might still be going through the digital publication system. This can often be done in a few days but can take a week or more if there are special issues.
  3. It might not have been listed in the book trade databases. Some work on a weekly cycle but others take longer to update the information.
  4. The shop you are in might be waiting to assemble a minimum order value to keep the cost of delivery low.
  5. It can take a few days for books to be unpacked, entered into the shop's stock system and placed on the shelves.
  6. If your book is being revised, it might drop out of the book data for a few weeks.
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Does the book have to be published in every country?

The books are published in the UK. However, they are made available for sale around the world. We can print in the UK and US at present and hope to extend local printing round the world eventually. London is still the place of publication.

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Can I revise my book?

Yes. It is one of the joys of print on demand that you don't have to pulp the existing stock of books if you want to change the text. This should not provide an excuse to avoid the discipline of copy editing and careful checking. But it does mean that you can update your book if you need to, although the book has to be digitised again and a new file made, which involves some cost to you.

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What's the catch with POD?

There really isn't one. The individual copies are slightly more expensive but to offset this extra cost there are no storage and handling costs. Best of all, there is no need to guess the number of books you will need and lay out your capital in advance.

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What is digital publication?

We use the term to mean that your book is published and a copy or copies can be printed whenever orders are received. We use print-on-demand technology so there is no stock of books sitting around. Digital publication means that we can print your book in all countries with suitable printers saving on transport and delivery time. Most of the big publishers are now employing digital publication for their back-list.

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Does the writer get some free copies?

We used to include some copies for the writer but as the marketplace has become more price sensitive we have taken this out of the costings. However, you buy the books at cost and can order them whenever you like.

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Ordering


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Glossary & Acronyms

Home   Newsletter   What's involved? Glossary & Acronyms Some WPS titles Worldwide distribution

Main topic index

  1. Work out the design and set up cost
  2. Unit cost business & marketing plans
  3. Book order form and payment page

You are off to a very good marketing start with WPS as we link all our titles into Amazon and several of the biggest book distributors so your book can be ordered, delivered and the money collected worldwide.

Choose WPS as your publishing partner.

We operate from the UK and under the financial rules and regulations of the UK



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