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Writing Books/Doing It All Myself


I wrote a children's book that will be printed on the hard, cardboard-type paper for the littlest consumers.  It will come with a talking 8" plush animal that goes with the story.  I wrote it myself (20 pages total), hired a professional illustrator, researched, priced, and selected a printer; I also found a doll manufacturer, figured out my marketing strategy, created a website to launch, and determined the price of the book.  Am in the process of getting my copyright & ISBN.  Basically I have been researching like crazy all the things I need to do to go to market and being a project manager for my day job, I am pretty well organized.

The one thing I can't find much on is pricing and profit margin.  Part of my marketing strategy is to provide copies to small local bookstores, as well as schools, and offer to do signings.  If I am planning on charging $24.99 for the doll/book package, is $19.99 an acceptable profit margin to sell my books to the bookstores so they can make $5 per package they sell?  Do I charge them upfront or do they pay me when they actually sell the books/kits?  Thank you for any information!

Hi Wendy,

CONGRATULATIONS on creating your children's book!  As far as pricing, I'd look at what books similar to yours are selling for.  I've also heard to price a book at 4-5 times what it cost to print the book.  But I encourage you to see what the market is accepting right now (e.g. prices of similar books that are selling).  

You can set up arrangements with bookstores so that you are paid within 30 days of their selling your books.  These are called consignments.  Or you can ask them to pay you up front.  If you get paid up front, you might give bookstores a 55% discount.  Distributors generally receive a 55% discount on books that publishers sell to them, that they then, in turn, sell to bookstores.

If you create arrangements where bookstores sell the books first, then pay you, I'd put everything in writing in a contract and state the date each month when the bookstores will pay you (e.g. 15th of each month).  I'd also start out working with maybe 2-3 bookstores on such an arrangement so you don't ship a lot of books to stores only to have slow sells or have them drag their feet to pay you.

All the best!  I can tell you've done your homework!  Good job!  

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Rhonda Campbell


I can answer questions on how to get published in magazines and newspapers; how to market your own books; how to earn a living writing; how to write press releases; how to find a good editor; how to edit your own books; finding a good printer; finding a good book illustrator; doing your taxes as a freelance writer. Questions I can't answer include specifics around working with a print on demand publisher


I have 36 years of experience as a writer (fiction and non-fiction). I am a book reviewer with Nielsen Media. I am a newspaper columnist and a reporter. I am a former radio station host and I am the editor of a literary newsletter, The Book Lover's Haven. I am also the author of more than 10 books.

Writer's Critique Group

The Trenton Times Philadelphia Trend Sisters in Style Essence Magazine The Pittsburgh Quarterly Obsidian II, etc.

I have taken numerous writing courses on book, proposal and grant writing as well as marketing and promotion

Awards and Honors
100 Most Admired African American Women Who's Who

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