This book publishing game is not for the weak-hearted!
After bending my hubby's ear for an hour on my quandary regarding the pending publication I went to speak to the manager at Westwood Cross's Waterstones. She is marvellous and completely understood my dilemma. After a reassuring chat I came home to formulate a new plan, as she suggested, based on the financial costings.
There are two routes I can go, either through Waterstones (WS) via one of their four, wholesale suppler/distributors or, go it alone via any independent bookshops (they are rarer than finding diamonds in your knickers.) and book signing deals I can wangle. It was clear I needed to work out my costs and how much I could afford to lose.
My maths IS NOT good and I finally arrived at an (incorrect) conclusion that the more books I sold the more in debt I'd become. Don't ask me how I came to that result but I did. Needless to say by the time my hubby arrived home later that evening I was in a right state. He looked at my figures, ignored them and started again. That was a relief! Tip - ask someone who is good with numbers to do your costings.
The long and short of it is, I need to sell 650 copies before a penny comes my way. Can I sell 350 copies let alone 650 on my own, whilst working full-time and setting up a new Soroptimist club in Thanet? To be honest, maybe in three years based on the number of folk commenting on my blog here. Could I afford to be short of money for a while? Well lets say the NHS, and one Trust in particular, are probably gnashing their teeth in angst. (that's a good word)
I've taken the plunge and jumped for Waterstones. The model they use is: you sell your book to their suppliers, who then sell it on to WS. The first distributors wasn't helpful (I won't name and shame). You'd think I was trying to locate the key to their chastity belts for all their avoidance tactics. I completed the Independent Traders form except for the part about money. There's a space, then it says %RRP. OK, I'm savvy enough to know RRP = Recommended Retail Price, but %? Was it the % I was to pay them or the % they would leave me.
For example; If I wrote in '20%' it might mean they want 20% so I keep 80%, or it might mean they get 80% (yeah right!) and I get the 20%. So I phoned them to ask. At first no one could answer the question. I had already Googled to check other writing forums and 65% had been bandied about, but the staff wouldn't confirm it. When the final person I spoke to told me to write " as per.............'s contracts" I was stunned. I asked him if he would complete and sign a form not knowing what money was exchanging hands. I can't deal with tight-lipped, ego-centric folk (apart from me) so I put the phone down.
I rang the second distributor and spoke to a lovely, "can do" man who advised me what to send and told me he'd send my application on to the correct department in his organisation on his return from leave. He even told me apologetically, their current rate is 55%. I'd budgeted for 50% (based on the earlier, haven't a clue method) This means I'd need to sell more copies than I planned, but with WS on board it might be doable.