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WritersServices Self-publishing

How we operate WritersServices Self-publishing

This is the self-publishing model

The estimate

We will provide pages where you can work out an estimate of how much it will cost.  If you decide to go ahead, we will check the costs when we have looked at the material, and before we go ahead.

Once you have decided to go ahead, we need a 50% payment, based on the estimate of the cost. Most methods of payment are accepted. You can use our secure payment provider or send a cheque made out to WritersServices to our office. The balance is paid after you have accepted the proof copy of your book. (We also ask for payment if we have to pay any copyright fees for your cover.)

The estimate covers all the cost of designing the book and preparing it for the presses used for Print on Demand.

Sales of your book

WritersServices Self-publishing has arrangements with the major international book wholesalers and online booksellers through which your books will be sold. Unless you specifically exclude this arrangement, your book will be supplied through the normal book channels. If you intend your book exclusively for private distribution please make this clear in the contract.

You also agree in the contract the percentage that will be paid to the wholesalers, which they share with the retailers. This is typically around 45%.

WritersServices Self-publishing collects the money from retail sales, pays the cost of printing and distribution, allows the agreed margins to the distributors, takes an agent's fee of 15% of net, and sends the balance to you. The figures and margins are set out in the contract you have with us.

Sales to you

You can purchase books at any time. They will be delivered to the address given in the order, normally within 10 days. If the books are to be sent abroad, special arrangements have to be made for export carriage which are charged as an additional cost. The price at which you purchase the books is agreed in the contract and includes carriage within the UK. You have to pay for the books when you place your order.


It is illegal in many countries to fix a retail price for a book. The price you set for your book is the recommended price and all the percentages are based on this. You have the right to change the price you set for your book. But please remember that if you want to change the price of the book, it takes about two months to notify the supply chain before the change can come into effect.

Sales Tax

Books produced within the UK are currently zero-rated for Value Added Tax (VAT - a UK sales tax). A tax invoice is prepared but at the moment no tax is added. If you are outside the UK but normally resident in an EU country, we need your VAT number so that you are not charged the VAT. When books are printed outside the UK similar conditions currently apply, but please note that these can change. Tax is however charged on publishing services and is included in the price.

Our price revisions

Under our agreement with our printers, we will not normally have to revise prices quoted to you during the year. However, we have reserved the right to adjust them during the year under exceptional circumstances.

Cost of production

Costs are based on the page count which is not known precisely until the design is finished. We will not be able to tell you exactly what the unit cost of production for each book will be until the design work is complete, but you can use the estimator to get a rough idea.


Authors usually authorise us to make  international sales.  But you should check that there are no copyright, political or social obstacles before agreeing to make your book available for international sales. The wholesalers mark up to a higher price to cover the costs of overseas distribution. The publishing remuneration - the amount paid to you - remains the same.

Setting the price of your book

Setting the price is a job for you as the publisher. We strongly suggest that you consult us to discuss the pricing. We have a computer model which we can use to help you set your price, which looks at the yield to show you how much money you would make from sales.  We can also advise on the margins appropriate to your book.

The 3 key issues are the cost of production, the margin you will offer the trade and how many copies you expect to sell.

  • The cost of production is closely related to the number of pages in your book. Hardback books cost about £4 more to produce than paperbacks, and those with a dust-jacket cost another £1.50 more on top of that.
  • Margins for the trade vary from 60% to 25%. The cheaper the book, the higher the margin you usually have to offer. You can offer 25% on a £30 textbook, while 60% might be appropriate for a first novel that you wanted bookshops to stock. If you offer the trade a higher margin, it might encourage bookshops to hold stock or offer their own discount. BUT be realistic.  Remember that the book will not be offered sale or return and retailers are reluctant to risk stocking an unknown author. Most of your books will be sold to order, so a lower margin of around 35% is normally appropriate.
  • Your expectations for income play a part in the pricing equation. If you have produced a work of reference with a captive audience, you can set a price to cover the work you have put into the book. But most writers will have little idea of their potential sales, so the price will be set according to the 'normal' price for that type of book.

Even if you are intending to publish the work privately, we suggest that you set a recommended price, because the book can still be available for sale without any additional cost to you.

Your remuneration

It takes time to collect the money from the bookshop via the wholesaler as they all operate on credit. We have to allow 90 days from the date of the sale for the money to reach us. WritersServices Self-publishing pays the money due to writers a month after the end of each quarter.

The remuneration due to writers will be paid when the amount due is £50 or more. If less than £50 a month is due, this is carried over and there will be an annual settlement for any money due.


WritersServices Self-publishing has negotiated distribution agreements with several major book wholesalers, but this does not preclude you from making your own arrangements. You can purchase and distribute copies of your book which will obviously save you the agreed distribution margin as you will buy the books at the cost of production. (See Sales to you)

Renewal fee

Your book will be available on the Print on Demand system for the period of one year from the date of publication. Each year thereafter you will be billed for the annual renewal fee to keep your title in print. You will normally be billed for this at the end of each year. You may instruct us to withdraw a book from the list up to one calendar month before the renewal date. If you fail to pay the renewal fee, we reserve the right to deduct it from your royalty cheque or to remove your work form the publication list. If you opt to keep the book in print indefinitely in your contract with us, the renewal fee will be deducted from your next remuneration.

Changes to the book

It is very expensive to make corrections to a book at the printing stage, which is why it is so important to have the book copy edited and checked beforehand. This is entirely your responsibility as the self-publisher.

The stages

First you work out an estimate.  Next send us the book brief and the cover design brief, together with the rest of the material as specified, and the first half of the payment.

You will receive design ideas along with a quote for the work.

Once you have accepted the design, given us the go-ahead and paid the fee to prepare the book for printing, the designer will complete the work.

The next stage is for you to receive copies of the artwork for the cover and some sample text pages. You will be asked to sign to accept these before the book is sent to the printers.

Finally, you will receive a proof copy of the book as it comes off the press, which provides a final check on its look and feel.

If you want to make changes at any production stage, we regret that we will have to charge the full cost of making these, which can be significant. A spelling mistake spotted in the early stages of design can be changed. But the design computers do not operate as word processors. If you want to make any changes at a later stage we can quote for the costs but they are typically about £100. Please note that the charge bears little relation to the number of changes, as even one simple change is likely to require a remake of all the pages.


Once the project has been assessed and the quote provided, it is normally possible to predict the time it will take to prepare the book. If there are any deadlines, such as those for a course book or memorial edition, you should let us know as early as possible. Writers Services Self-publishing is not responsible for any consequential loss if deadlines are not met unless a date has been specifically agreed, in writing.

What is included

The estimate will include the following:

  • The design of the book and cover
  • Any preparation work for illustrations
  • ISBN registration
  • Print set-up
  • Legal deposit in UK copyright libraries
  • The initial copies ordered by the writer
  • Setting-up your web pages if you need them
  • Annual administrative charge for collecting remuneration

We offer a number of other services such as copyright clearance, which are quoted for and charged separately.

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Glossary & Acronyms

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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

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