self-publishing services a la carte

We have often wondered if we really provide value to our customers. With so many other firms offering services similar to ours, it would be foolish to still stay around if we did not make a difference. We have therefore asked ourselves: Why should people do business with us? What should be their rationale for choosing us over the others? What is it we provide differently and why should that matter? These questions are best answered by those who have shopped at CinnamonTeal and returned satisfied. However, based on their testimonials, we have gathered some insights into their reasons for doing business with us. We hope we are right.

  • Your book is important to us. It is not another statistic we can trumpet out loud or a milestone we have to cross. We have never approached two books in the same way – you would be hard pressed to find two identical book designs. And the more you tell us about your vision for your book, the harder we strive to fulfill that vision. At the end of the day, the services we provide should ensure that your book comes out trumps.
  • You know what you are paying for and there are no hidden costs. And you get what you pay for. We endeavour to be always transparent in our dealings.
  • You will choose your course of action. We will not force you to do things you do not wish to do or go down an uncomfortable path. You will be informed on what is needed to arrive at a beautifully published book and be given the freedom to decide how to proceed. This is why we have chosen not to offer packages, because we believe that there are many components in the packages our competitors offer that are either of no use to the author or should simply not be charged for.
  • You have a vision for you book and we strive hard to manage your expectations. We will tell you, for instance, that books do not sell unless the author is involved in promoting them. If you ask us, we will also tell you not to depend too much on just a store presence (rather, to try all available channels) simply because there are too many books out there and books that are not promoted will not sell. You will know, going in, what to expect at the end of the process.
  • You will not end up with a shabby book. We are die-hard traditionalists who are not willing to tamper with the idea of the book. We believe that a customer buying your book should get value for her money and therefore a book should be well edited and properly presented. CinnamonTeal Publishing has been in the business since 2007, having introduced self-publishing in India, and we know what aspects of the book need particular attention. Having worked with almost all genres, we bring that experience to bear while designing your book.
  • Your satisfaction is important to us. For that reason, we are constantly looking for ways to improve our services, both in range and in depth. This is because we would like to be a one-stop shop for our customers, many of who have unique needs. For the same reason, we do not have constraints – like that on the dimensions of the book or on the number of images you can insert into your book. On that note, expect to see us improve our services even more. Owing to the Publishing Next conference we organize each year, we are attuned to the changes happening in the publishing world and bring that knowledge to the table while working on your book.
  • You can always communicate with us. We are easily accessible. While we prefer that you first email us describing your book and your vision for it, we are open to talking to you after that email so we know what it is you wish to discuss. In addition, many of our authors have come and met us at our office in Goa, simply because it assures them to know that there are people at the end of the line.

But perhaps, most importantly, you should work with us before we give it straight to you. We do not shy away from letting you know where your book needs improvement, we enumerate all costs and do not have any hidden charges and we do not promise to deliver a book overnight. There are certain things that are simply not possible and it is always good that the author knows what to expect while working with us. We can confidently say that we work in your interest, in order to put a book out there that’s the best we can produce.

These are still our thoughts. If you feel differently, we’d like to hear from you.

Image: epsos.de

Those familiar with the way4772680734_3ab815e07a_z CinnamonTeal Publishing operates know that it is loathe to offer self-publishing packages. We have always believed that packages skew the transaction in favour of the seller often leaving the buyer with products or services that he or she has no need for. With menu-based services, there is more transparency as the buyer knows what he or she is paying for.

We therefore offer services a la carte, or off the menu. And we believe that we are still cheaper.

Let me illustrate this with a true example. We recently received a manuscript of 74 pages (of text with no images or graphical elements such as tables) in the A4 format.

a. Since we insist on a round of copy-editing, for which we charge Rs. 120 per page, the cost of editing to the customer = 120 x 74 = Rs. 8,880/-

b. The cover for the book is then designed at a cost of Rs. 6500/-

c. The text in a 5.83 x 8.27″ (A5) format filled in 160 pages. Page design at the rate of Rs. 35 per page cost = 160 x 35 = Rs. 5,600/-

d. Printing one copy cost Rs. 147.10. Five copies for submission to the National Libraries (as required by ISBN allocation guidelines) cost Rs. 735.50.

For these specifications, the cost of printing 100 copies will be 101.90 x 100 = 10190/-

The total cost of publishing and printing 100 copies will therefore be 31,170/-. We charge for shipping the printed books too, so assume a final cost of Rs. 32,000/-

At this point, your book is published. In addition, if the service is requested, we charge Rs. 3000/- for pan-India online distribution and Rs. 9000/- for international distribution. That would total to Rs. 12,000/- for both. Add it to the earlier costs and the total cost adds up to Rs. 44,000/-

To see how these costs compared with the competition, almost all of who offer packages, we compared it to the prices of various packages on offer. Because many self-publishing service providers in India offer packages that offer some services and do not offer some others, we compared this final cost to packages that provided the following features (our goal here was to compare the package-based model with the a la carte model we offer:

a. Copy-editing
b. Cover design
c. Page design
d. ISBN allocation
e. Free copies (at least 5 so the author can submit the copies mandated by the ISBN guidelines if the service provider didn’t)
f. Pan-India online distribution
g. International online-distribution

Since these services were alone enough to get the book out the door and in the hands of people, we ignored the packages that did not include these services, even if they were cheaper and included other bells and whistles.

So here is what we found:

Provider Package Name Cost
Notion Press Silver (since no package included editing, we chose the cheapest one) 24,990 + Rs.0.60 per word x 40000 (for editing) + Rs. 6000 (for international distribution)
= Rs. 54,990.00
Partridge Publishing Topaz (since no package included editing, we chose the one that offered 5 free copies) 50,000 + Rs.1.11 per word x 40000 (for editing)
= Rs. 94,400/-
Become Shakespeare Basic (since no package included editing, we chose the cheapest one) 24,990 + Rs.1 per word x 40000 (for editing)
= Rs. 64,990/-

As indicated above, it became rather difficult to compare packages especially since most service providers do not place much emphasis on the need to have an edited book. However, we do and we feel that the buyer deserves value for money and an edited book provides such value. Nonetheless, we remain committed to providing services a la carte and let the customer choose.

Update:

Since we are on the topic of costs, we thought we would provide you with a few more examples. These are based on actual manuscripts that we have published as books. Before comparing with other service providers, please note that the services provided also match.

A) Manuscript Submitted: A4, 160 pages

Costs:

Copy Editing @ Rs. 85 per page = 19,200.00

The text corresponded to 208 pages in the A5 format. Hence:

Typesetting @ Rs. 35 per page: 7,280.00

Cover Design: Rs. 6,500.00

Ebook conversion into 3 formats (@ 25 per page for the 1st format + Rs. 2000 for each subsequent format):  Rs. 9,200.00

Printing of 100 books @ Rs. 127.82 per book: Rs. 12782.00

Online distribution of printed copies (within India): Rs. 3000.00

The total cost of publishing (including copy editing and printing 100 copies), developing Ebooks in the PDF, MOBI and EPUB formats, with distribution of printed copies in India: Rs. 57,962.00

 

B) Manuscript Submitted: A4, 144 pages

Costs:

Substantive Editing @ Rs. 165 per page = 23,760.00

Due to the presence of illustrations in the book, the total page count of the book was 312 pages in the A5 format. Hence:

Typesetting @ Rs. 50 per page (for books with illustrations and other graphic elements): 15,600.00

Cover Design: Rs. 6,500.00

Ebook conversion into 3 formats (@ 50 per page for the 1st format + Rs. 2000 for each subsequent format):  Rs. 19,600.00

11 illustrations @ Rs. 600.00 per illustration (this charge varies with the type of illustration needed): Rs. 6,600.00

Printing of 100 books @ Rs. 183.98 per book: Rs. 18,398.00

Online distribution of printed copies (within India): Rs. 3000.00

The total cost of publishing, printing 100 copies, and developing Ebooks in the PDF, MOBI and EPUB formats (with substantive editing and illustrations), with distribution of printed copies in India: Rs. 86,858.00

 

C) Manuscript Submitted: A4, 50 pages

Costs:

Substantive Editing @ Rs. 165 per page = 8,250.00

Due to the presence of illustrations in the book, the total page count of the book was 118 pages in the A5 format. Hence:

Typesetting @ Rs. 50 per page (for books with illustrations and other graphic elements): 5,900.00

Cover Design: Rs. 6,500.00

Ebook conversion into 3 formats (@ 50 per page for the 1st format + Rs. 2000 for each subsequent format):  Rs. 9,900.00

7 illustrations @ Rs. 1200.00 per illustration (this charge varies with the type of illustration needed): Rs. 8400.00

Printing of 100 books @ Rs. 101.46 per book: Rs. 10,146.00

Online distribution of printed copies (within India): Rs. 3000.00

The total cost of publishing, printing 100 copies, and developing Ebooks in the PDF, MOBI and EPUB formats (with substantive editing and illustrations), with distribution of printed copies in India: Rs. 43,696.00

The low costs aside, when compared to other service providers,

 

 

Image: Marc Falardeau

My home state, of Goa, has a rich history of printing and publishing. The first printing press arrived here in 1556, although unintentionally, when the ship carrying it stopped at Goa en route to Abyssinia but couldn’t move forward because the weather won’t permit it to. So, quite unwittingly, Goa had the distinction of having the first printing press in Asia. It was attached to the Jesuit training centre for aspiring priests, the St Paul’s College.

In here and at the Rachol Seminary several works were published, mostly spiritual books that catered to the needs of the newly converted indigenous population. These books also alluded to the circumstances of the times and became a commentary of the socio-political environment present then. Following the expulsion of Jesuits from Goa in 1759, and a general disinterest in protecting cultural documents like these, many of these precious works were lost either to ransacking crowds or to interested bibliophiles who added these books to their collections.

Gradually these books and manuscripts are beginning to resurface, in far away places. Many of them are now available in public or college libraries in Paris, London and Lisbon or among private libraries in India. Many of them are in a dilapidated state, close to ruin. These books represent an important part of the cultural landscape of the state and must be preserved for future research and scholarship.

Credit must be given to the Central Library, Goa and its curator, Carlos Fernandes, who is doing his best to make these texts available once again to readers in Goa. We at CinnamonTeal Publishing have been working closely with him, and have thus been able to develop an expertise in book restoration and printing and thus add another service to our repertoire.

The books we have restored so far include a volume of the Jesuit Miguel de Almeida’s Jardim de pastores, which was printed in Goa in five volumes in 1658-9 and an account of the life of Jivbadada Kerkar, a senapati (commander) in the Maratha army in the Peshwa era. We are currently working on a reprint of “Arte da Lingoa Canarim” (A Grammer of Konkani), published in 1640. The text of this book was available only at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, which graciously allowed us to work on a reprint.

The book was originally in a very bad condition before we painstakingly “restored” it.

With each book, we carefully scan the pages using a specially constructed book scanner, “clean out” the embellishments on each page and carefully layout the book to closely resemble the original. The book is then printed in required quantities. It has usually been just a couple of copies each time so that these copies can be circulated or loaned to members of the library while the original book is carefully preserved.

We are very excited about this new line of business because it allows us the excitement of discovery of new worlds, quite removed from modern times, one we could only imagine without the guidance of these texts.

Each month, starting this November, we will offer discounts on classics penned by authors celebrating their birthdays that month.

        

The classics are offered in 6×9 sizes with textured covers that are specially designed to make your book a sure conversation starter. What’s more, you can gift these and have a dedication page inserted in the book.

The covers shown here are just a sample of what can be ordered. The entire catalogue is listed here.

We have been often asked why we do not offer packages like many other POD publishers do. It has been common practice about POD providers to offer publishing packages that bundle together services for an all-inclusive fee. At CinnamonTeal Print and Publishing, we have consciously chosen to stay away from packages. There are reasons for this:

a. Many of the packages available on offer bundle services that might not be needed by the author. But because no alternative is available, the service has to be bought, and paid for, as part of the package. For example, in package-based offerings, a person may have to pay for cover design even if she could have done it herself

b. Some services ought to be there for free. Like the non-exclusive contract which many publishers offer as part of their basic package but which, we believe, is central to the concept of POD publishing and must be offered without any strings attached. Similarly, in India, ISBN must be issued without any charge.

c. The concept of packages flies in the face of the spirit of POD i.e. helping authors get around budgetary constraints in the process of publishing their book. At CinnamonTeal, we first encourage authors to check and see if their friends or acquaintances can provide services like cover design or editing for free or for a reduced rate.

d. Many times, authors who have bought package-based services are left out of the loop when those services are provided. Consultation is not provided for as part of these services. Hence, during crucial stages like the editing of the book, the author is not allowed to weigh in on the edited draft. Inputs are incorporated but charged as another round of editing.

e. Most of the packages offer marketing services that promise the moon but require the author to be an inherent part of the process. Nothing wrong with that except that the author is led to believe that she can stay out of the process and the marketing package she has paid for will generate sales on its own.

f. Quality isn’t assured. This follows from an earlier point made which illustrates the dangers of leaving the author out of the process. If the author is not allowed to provide her inputs to the edited manuscript, for instance, various nuances of the plot may be altered and the narrative may be lost in translation

CinnamonTeal Print and Publishing Services provides editorial, design and POD services to customers around the globe. It provides services a la carte – you pay only what you ask for.