A big step forward for A Feast of Serendib

So, this was a big and scary step. I’ve just signed a contract with Mascot Books to publish Feast. Now, I’m still essentially self-publishing it. Mascot is what’s called a hybrid publisher, combining editorial, marketing, and printing services for indie authors. I’ve already done most of the editorial work and I have excellent proofreaders, so I won’t be taking advantage of that part.

What I do get out of this is a dramatically lower price point per unit than POD printing, a marketing team that will try to place the book in places like Costco, etc. (fingers crossed), and distribution services.

What will it cost me? Well, all the money from the Kickstarter and then some. Eep. Close to $20,000, to print 2000 hardcover copies, which is yes, very unnerving. I’m betting about $10K on being able to sell those books. I am not really a betting person!

A few hundred of those will go to Kickstarter fulfillment, leaving me with about 1750 copies (I’m being super-vague here, but Heather has the actual numbers, and I did go over them with Kevin before signing off on this) to sell. The cover price on the hardcover is $40. So selling them at full price, I need to sell 45 cookbooks to break even. I think I can do that. (Hopefully, we won’t end up with very many sad and dusty books in storage.)

Of course, that doesn’t take into account the other production costs (layout, cover design, original illustrations, indexing, advertising, book tour, etc.), and there will be sales and discounts for Amazon, etc., so the actual sale price will often be lower. So more realistically, maybe sell a few hundred to break even?

I’ll have at least a few hundred shipped to me (paying the shipping cost) for me to sell direct, keeping all the money from those, and Mascot will try to sell the rest, sending me the bulk of the money (I think 85%, if I’m remembering right, which is a big difference from a traditional publisher; I’m taking the main financial risk here, so my potential reward is commensurate). They’ll take care of shipping those out, which will make my life infinitely easier.

I know a lot of indie authors are doing this kind of thing these days, but I’m still enough of a traditional publishing person that I find it all kind of unnerving. But for this cookbook, at least, I think this is a pretty good approach.

My only hesitation is that I wish I’d spend a little more time talking to my publishing friends about other printer options; I’m still not sure I really understand that. But Mascot came highly recommended, and so far, our interactions have been very promising. Fingers crossed.

Again, huge thanks to the Kickstarter supporters. I don’t think there’s any way I would’ve bet the close to $30K it will take, in the end, to produce this book. So if the Kickstarter hadn’t funded, and funded well, I still might have created Feast, but it would have been a much simpler end result, and would likely have reached far fewer people.

Since my main hope with this is to share my love of Sri Lankan food with as many people as possible, I’m particularly grateful for your help.

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