Hard Copy or eBook?

Jul 15 2011

Dear Graeme & Elsie,
Congratulations on your publication of Lover Husband Father Monster, it was compelling reading for me and a book I would certainly recommend. I wish you all the very best and hope the sale of the book will exceed =
your expectations. GOOD LUCK!
Apart from wanting to send my hearty congratulations there is also a query if you don't mind. I have just finalised a manuscript but have been doing some research on =
self-publishing and Bookpal caught my attention over two years. I was curious about the presentation of their books but could never find one published by them so imagine my surprise when I saw you used them.
Would you be kind enough to tell me what sort of experience you encountered. What package would you recommend and was there any hidden costs? Was the ISBN number supplied by them as stated in the package? I would really appreciate your assistance and advice regarding your
self-publishing experience.
Are you still in Western Australia promoting the book?
Hope I haven't been a pest to you, looking forward to hearing from you soon.
Best wishes to you both & thank-you for your time.
Helena Martin

Dear Helena,
Thanks for your kind words and feedback. Glad you enjoyed the book. We are certainly enjoying promoting it and meeting our readers.
In answer to your query about our experience with BookPal Australia. Most of it was positive. The packages they supply are tailored so that you can use all their services or some of them. For 'Lover Husband Father Monster' we chose the package that designed the cover, supplied the ISBN, provided an eBook and gave you something like 30 copies to distribute to reviewers. After that you had to order and pay for more. We did not take up the editing and layout options as we are professional writers and are able to do that ourselves.
It was a whole lot more satisfying than sending off scripts to a publisher and waiting for months for them to get back to you with a yea or nay. We wanted to get it out there and move forward and self publishing is the way to do that.
Having said this, you don't necessarily have to have a hard copy publisher. Consider putting your novel up as an eBook. Our son did that with his new novel on Smashwords.(www.smashwords.com) He will, however, have to have some hard copies printed for his launch at the Melbourne Aquarium and because a lot of people are just not ready to read an eBook.
Regarding the cover. At the time we were very happy with it and gave that feedback to BookPal, but since then we have seen better artwork at more reasonable prices. Our son Chris had the artwork done for his eBook 'Aquatic Grunge' by a specialist cover designer named Shelley Schadowsky (Go to www.goodlifeguide.com) . I am very impressed with her work; she has taken the story by the horns and made a statement. Great work! I love it.
BookPal guide you through the process step by step with a computerised program made by a very annoying virtual editor with a Chinese accent. This program needs lots of refinement and we often wondered out loud how a less experienced author would have fared considering that we sometimes found it ambiguous and we write for a living.
The books were delivered on time and are of good quality and the people we dealt with were pleasant.
Our one disappointment though was the after sales service and absolute lack of promotion. They do not seem to have any pull or connection with the Press or Book outlets and so, although they have a promotions package, they don't seem to have any credibility with Press outlets or Book Distributors or Stores, even in their hometown, Brisbane. So if you want to promote your book, you are pretty well on your own, even though you would think it was in their own interest to have some strongly selling books in their stable. We are devoting this year to promoting our title and they have been of no help whatever.
So, Helena, to summarise. Try an eBook first. It doesn't cost much and is a good start. I believe everyone will be reading eBooks in a year or two. That's what I am going to do with the book I am working on, Ma's Garden'. I am going to have the cover designed by Shelley because I think she did a brilliant job with Chris' book and I will publish on www.smashwords.com.
By all mean, if you want hard copies, take a BookPal package and buy the best one you can afford. We found them to be effective and reliable and they produced a good final product. Don't expect much after sales service. After all, they are really a printing outfit who specialise in printing books, once they have done that you are pretty well on your own.