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Rob R


Does anyone have any experience of self publishing small books?

I have been consulted on an 85-page illustrated guide on called 'British Sheep', and wondered if anyone had any experience they could offer as to how best it might be published/marketed?

You would need to look at something like

Most of my books were self published, you can go any route from photocopied and stapled (not recommended with a book that large) to right up to barcoded and listed in the big online shops. Any idea where within that spectrum you might be aiming for?

Have you contacted the Smallholder Bookshop or Farming Press?

(I think that's what they're called - I've put the brochures in Howard's work bag, open on specific pages)
Rob R

I think he's tried a few publishers who weren't really interested. One suggested breaking it down into 16-page regional books, but I think it looks good as a 'british' book. He was thinking of a
outer covers be 250g laminated gloss card with 130g gloss pages, and be ‘perfect bound’

Lulu might well be worth a look then, saves him having to have boxfulls sitting around whilst he sees what sells so takes a lot of teh risk out of it. I hear good things about them, havent used them myself yet though


My partner recently self-published a book via
It was very easy and the books are professional looking.

Basically you get a template off them and put your work onto to it save it, send it to them. You get to choose binding, colours, pictures, layout etc. You can order as many as you like. We ordered 1 copy to check it's look and it arrived quickly and as I say did look good. We then placed a larger order which admittedly took a lot longer (4 weeks) so just plan that in.

It's also a shop window for you and people can order a book or download it from the site. See my partner's below for an example.

(if the link doesn't work go to lulu and put 450018 in the search engine)
Rob R

Thanks for all the answers...

What's the difference cost for one book v 1000?

Is 130gsm a bit heavy for text paper ? You could save a bit by going for 110gsm. Also, do you really want gloss for the text pages ? The pictures will still come out well if you go for matt coated (which is more substantial). What size is the book ? A5 ?

One way to find out what the difference in price is between 1 copy and 1000 copies is to ask for a price for '1000 and 500 run-on' (or '500 and 500 run-on') : and divide the difference in cost by 500.

Publishing : have you tried some of the smaller agricultural publishers like Old Pond ?
If self-publishing, who are you aiming the book at ?
Try selling through breed associations ? At agri shows ? Stock sales ? Smallholders associations ?

Or is it a glossy coffee table book about sheep ? Laughing
Rob R

I don't know, it's not mine, just a project I provided a photograph for (the same one that was published in that Welsh Borders magazine last year) & received a draft copy of yesterday. There are breed photographs on one side & text on the facing page, so every other page is a photo.

You can often bring the price down with a bit of cunning layout planning, when a book is printed commercially often its done as a big sheet folded up, sewn then cut (repeat to make book of whatever size), so, if the colour goes on only the one side of the big sheet, its cheaper, You have to fiddle with bits of paper folded up to really see how this works, but we had it with my big shiny book, some pictures had to be black and white rather than colour to get the layout to work, but once we knew which pages had to be plain text, which could have pictures and which ones colour we just rearranged things to suit.
Rob R

So like instead of having text, photo, text; you could have; text, photo, photo, text?

Rob R wrote:
So like instead of having text, photo, text; you could have; text, photo, photo, text?

Yup, in which case he should be able to get way with something like 90-100 gsm for the text pages
Rob R

Isn't DS just fantastic?

Thanks Cool

tahir wrote:
Rob R wrote:
So like instead of having text, photo, text; you could have; text, photo, photo, text?

Yup, in which case he should be able to get way with something like 90-100 gsm for the text pages

You'd have to check with whichever printer you chose to find out how it will actually work, but its fairly simple to work out when you know how they will assemble the book. Might be worth him asking a local printer for quotes just to get familiar with the options.

Re : arranging the pages so you get at least some sheets with text only (as Sally mentioned) to bring down the cost : what you will need to know is

1. What size press will it be printd on ? (e.g. A3, A2 or larger)
2. What size is the finished book (when closed) ? A5 or A4 ? etc
3. Terefore how many pages can be got out of each big sheet (done by folding)
4. The way this is worked out is (used to be) using a mock-up called an 'imposition'
eg. fold a sheet of A4 in four so you have someting booklet-like te size of a postcard. start at the front with the open corners at the bottom right hand, and number each 'page' in succession (you won't be able to open it right out to do this). The back 'page' will be p.16. Now open out your sheet of A4. You get the idea : successive pages in the finished book are not necessarily next to each oter when they are getting printed. It is easier if you get the printer to show you with a 3-D version. A book is made up of several of these 'sections' bound together.

If you need more info, just ask - looks as though quite a few of us here know about getting books etc printed.

Hi, not sure if this thread is current with you any more, but l've actually produced a few dozen books in electronic format.

The world of hard copy publishing was too much hassle to me at the time, seeing as though l published all my books as part of one long project. I looked briefly into DIY book construction and Print On Demand deals, but it just seemed too complex.

I went into eBook production. The disadvantage was that l couldn't get a deal with Amazon - who weren't taking any eBooks or CDROMs at the time. The advantage was that it was so easy.

I used Adobe Acrobat. I passworded the finished documents. I then uploaded them to .

The problem with eBookMall is that it is very USA-centered, so your eBook will be competing against really cheap eBooks (£ versus $ - $ is way more competitive at the moment). Mind you, your market sounds like it will be a British crowd so that won't matter.

I think that's the only problem l can think about eBookMall.

You don't even need an ISBN number. Mind you, ISBN numbers give you a huge potential worldwide market - they will make your books compatible with every bookseller's and distributor's cataloguing system. Also, CDROMs and eBooks will never be more popular than hard copy.

But consider that: eBooks can be OCRed (and they usually are already text-recognisable when created from a word-processed document) and thus they are fully searchable, and they can be bookmarked. Searchability and bookmarks give a huge advantage over hard copy, especially to researchers.

The possibilities increase when you get your eBook onto Google Booksearch, but you will need an ISBN number for that.

By the way, ISBNs come across as a necessary rip-off. They are extremely expensive when bought singly (and not many people offer that option), and the marketting line is "if you're serious, then you will buy 10" - they are often brokered in lots of 10 for a couple of 100 £.

Apparently, some ISBNs are actually the property of the publisher who sells it to you, which has ramifications that i forget because l quickly went off the idea of getting ISBNs.

Here's some data l got ages ago, summarised from a piechart jpg image:

Hardcopy publishing - slices of the pie

Author - 5-10%
Publisher - 10-15%
Printer - 15-20%
Distributor - 20-25%
Bookshop - 40%

Print on Demand deals change the percentages but l think the author's slice tragically remains more or less the same. It's a shame really, because books are VAT-free.[/img]

By the way, there is VAT to be paid on eBooks - as they are classed as software - they have functionality that hard copy books do not. Not sure what the rate is as i've never been VAT-registered.
Barefoot Andrew

I have 14 publications to my name now - 13 of which were funded by advertising (marketed and sold by me), and one which was funded from other sources. I can certainly offer advice on the technical and production side when and if you're ready.

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