Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Interview With My Print Book Creator Cheryl Perez

"Ebooks will replace print! Print is dead!"

Lots of people attribute that quote, and that perspective, to me.

They're mistaken. I've never said that, and don't believe it.

Print will always be around. It just won't be the dominant reading format anymore. Ebooks will.

That's not to be said there still isn't money to be made in print.

Now, I don't believe signing a legacy deal is a smart thing to do. They can certainly exploit your print rights better than you can on your own, but as print accounts for a smaller and smaller portion of the market, and as more readers gobble up ebooks, it makes no sense to sign a deal for what will ultimately become a subsidiary right.

But that doesn't mean you're ebooks shouldn't be in print. They should.

I use for this. So far this month (March 23 at 6:00am) I've made $2531 on my print versions of my ebooks. That averages out to over $41,000 a year.

I price these 9" x 6" trade paperbacks at $13.95, and on each Amazon sale I earn between $3 and $5.

On bookstore sales (these books can be ordered by bookstores and libraries) I earn between $1 and $2--which is about the same royalty rate I'd make on a trade paperback with a legacy publisher.

I believe anyone who has an ebook that is doing well should also offer a print version to fans.

The problem is, it's a huge pain in the neck. Even if you have the cover art and the manuscript formatted for Kindle, you need to re-format it as a print pdf, and create spine art and back cover art.

This isn't easy. Which is why I hire someone to do it.

Cheryl Perez has formatted and designed ten of my CreateSpace books. She just finished two more for me (Suckers and Banana Hammock) doing the interior formatting, spine art, and back cover art, for a very reasonable price. She took the cover art I already had (done by Carl Graves) and extended the design to make an entire book jacket.

So if you already have cover art and an ebook, Cheryl can do the rest.

If you've never used CreateSpace before, it is similar to Amazon's self-pubbing program for Kindle. You set up an account, add your book information, and can begin selling print copies through and other retail outlets as quickly as a few days later. CreateSpace is free to use, but I opt for the Pro Plan ($39 per book, which gives me higher royalties and lower costs if I buy copies to sell on my website.)

I asked Cheryl to do a quick Q & A, and she also said she'd hang around to answer extra questions in the comments section.

Joe: What is your design background?

Cheryl: I have been a graphic designer for more than 15 years. During that time I have created materials as vastly different as a ten-foot long trade show mural, festival posters, and full page magazine ads. I’ve designed books for smaI’ve also designed the print versions of Shot of Tequila, Jack Daniels Stories, Trapped, Origin, Endurance, as well as Shadow Walker by L.A. Banks, My Soul Fainted Within Me by Shonda, and Draculas, by Blake Crouch, Jack Kilborn, Jeff Strand, and F. Paul Wilson. I am also currently working on books for a number of other clients.

Joe: What things do authors need to be aware of if they want to use a print on demand service to publish their books?

Cheryl: There are a many book sizes available for POD, so look at trade paperbacks, and choose a size that works best for your manuscript. I don't do any editorial work. So make sure your text is ready for print, including checking your spelling, grammar, and punctuation, as well indicating obvious chapter breaks, before you submit it to be layed out.

Joe: What should writers be looking for in a book designer?

Cheryl: Someone with experience in layout and design, who understands how the final product should look. A general knowledge of publishing is also helpful. Over the past several years I've spent a great deal of time around publishing and have worked with authors is various capacities. As with any business, good communication is obviously a key. I work with the author to establish a clear sense of what they’re looking for, then keep them informed during the process of preparing their work for publication.

Joe: What are your predictions about the future of publishing?

Cheryl: I see publishing moving more and more into ebooks and print on demand. There will still be brick and mortar stores, but the retail model will shift away from the big box stores that have dominated the market for the past two decades. A majority of authors will be able to control their careers to a far greater extent than ever before. Authors who establish a presence now within the fast-expanding ebook market will have a significant advantage down the line.

Joe: How do interested authors get in touch with you?

Cheryl: You can email me through I’m pretty good about responding the same day.