What We Do
Questions About Our Services
Q. What services do you provide?
We’re a print-on-demand and ebook publishing services company. We help authors who want to self-publish get their book into the market quickly using print-on-demand and ebook technology.
Print-On-Demand (POD) – Using print-on-demand technology, we offer a package where authors can produce their manuscripts as print books, and have those print books sold directly to a customer via the Internet, as well as offered to bookstores who would then resell the books to customers.
We also can just act as a wholesale supplier for your book if you want to sell it through your own methods and channels and just need someone to print large quantities for you.
For more details about POD technology, see our FAQ: Questions About Print-On-Demand Publishing.
Ebooks – We offer a way for authors to sell their books in ebook format direct to the customer. Our ebooks are in PDF, MOBI (Kindle) and ePub (Nook, iPhone/iPad) format and our system lets customers instantly download the ebook after they purchase it.
For more details about Ebooks, see our FAQ: Questions About Ebook Publishing.
In both cases, BookLocker handles all the sales, fulfillment and customer service tasks associated with selling a book. We also distribute the print books through Ingram, the world’s largest distributor, and the ebooks through Amazon’s Kindle store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, Apple’s iBookstore, as well as our own store at BookLocker.com. All an author has to do is provide a finished manuscript and do the legwork to create buyers.
The author retains all rights to the book and you can terminate with us with 24-hours notice via email.
Q. I’ve read a lot of negative things about self-publishing. Why should I self-publish?
There are only two ways to get a book into the market so people can buy it – self-publishing and traditional publishing. Both operate on entirely different models.
A traditional publisher pays for all the costs involved in taking a book from unedited manuscript to finished product. In exchange for doing that, they will take all rights to the book and give you a small percentage of the sales (usually around 8%-10%). Submitting manuscripts to a traditional publisher is a highly competitive endeavor – as there are far more manuscripts submitted than publishing houses to publish them. It is especially difficult for authors with an unproven sales history.
If you are looking for a way to put your book up for sale and forget about it, then self-publishing will be a major disappointment for you. A self-published author is heavily involved with the creation, production, and marketing of the book. Nothing significant happens without that involvement. You have to be willing to roll up your sleeves and do much of the work yourself, otherwise you will never recoup your investment.
Unfortunately, even if you land a traditional publishing contract, you will likely be responsible for almost all of the marketing tasks anyway. Here is a recent article we wrote on our sister site WritersWeekly.com, about Authors Who Avoid Traditional Publishers.
Q. What POD book sizes do you publish?
Black and white interior POD books come in cut sizes of 5.5″x 8.5″ and 6″x9″ paperback or hardcover, as well as 8.25″x11″ paperback.
The covers are color. The insides are black and white.
Color-interior POD books come in cut sizes of 8.5″ x 8.5″ and 8.5″ x 11″ paperback.
The covers and interior are color.
Q. What will the list price of my POD book be?
For black and white-interior paperback POD books:
up to 108 pages – $12.95
109-150 pages – $13.95
151-200 pages – $14.95
201-250 pages – $15.95
Additional $1 per 50 pages for bigger POD books.
Because of the expense involved in manufacturing them, hardcover POD books have list prices approximately double that of the same-size paperback POD book. There are also extra shipping costs due to the fact that hardcover POD books much weigh more. We generally encourage authors to not do hardcover POD books unless there is a compelling reason to do so. If you do want to offer hardcover, you should consider offering paperback as well to give your readers the chance to purchase a less-expensive copy of your book. Additional versions of black-and-white-interior books receive half-price setup fees.
For ebooks, the minimum list price we allow is $2.99.
You can read about our color-interior pricing HERE.
Q. What royalty rate will I make on each sale of my book?
We pay you 35% of the list price for public sales of print books sold through the BookLocker website.
ON print books sold through third-party retailers, it’s a flat 15% of the list price. No ifs, ands or buts.
EBOOK SALES THROUGH THIRD-PARTY EBOOK RETAILERS: 65% OF THE NET AMOUNT Booklocker.com is paid for each ebook priced $10 or higher. 55% OF THE NET AMOUNT Booklocker.com is paid for each ebook priced under $10.
ROYALTIES FOR PUBLIC SALES THROUGH BOOKLOCKER.COM: 70% OF THE LIST PRICE for ebooks priced $8.95 or higher, 50% OF THE LIST PRICE for ebooks priced under $8.95
Sales of writing-related books may be offered on WritersWeekly.com. Royalties for those sales are 50% for ebooks and 30% for print books. BookLocker authors are NOT charged to have their writing-related books featured on WritersWeekly.com.
Q. What are the fees to get a book on your system?
Q. How many authors use your print-on-demand and ebook publishing service?
We have published books for more than 3,800 authors.
Q. Do you provide an ISBN?
Yes. We issue you an ISBN from our block of numbers. Please note: the ISBN is controlled by us and ISBNs are not transferable. If you decide to leave us, the ISBN will be decommissioned and you’ll have to get a new one. This is dictated by the rules put forth by the government-sanctioned issuer of ISBNs – R.R. Bowker.
Q. Do you provide copyright registration?
No, for two reasons.
First, the owner of the work must apply for it and second, we don’t like to charge you for stuff you can do yourself for free.
But you have to ask yourself: Is it worth the effort? Many authors think getting copyright registration means the government will sue anyone who violates it. Not so. All a copyright registration gives you is an official record with the government of the existence of your manuscript, and that you are are rightful author. But it is still up to you to take anyone violating your copyright to court.
Some advantages to having copyright registration are that it makes your case stronger if you have an official government document, and, if infringement is proven, you may be able to claim additional damages beyond your actual damages.
The forms are online here: http://www.copyright.gov/forms/
The LCCN (Library of Congress Catalog Number) is a unique identification number the Library of Congress assigns to the catalog record created for each book in its cataloged collections. Librarians often use it to locate a specific book (though they use other resources as well). You can find information on how to obtain a LCCN here: http://pcn.loc.gov/
Q. How quickly can you print my book?
Normal turnaround is four to six weeks from the time you submit the complete and formatted manuscript to us…often faster, but we like some breathing room.
Q. Other POD publishers offer marketing services I can buy. Why don’t you?
First, we do not believe in the common practice of upselling authors on extra services. Other companies encourage authors to buy marketing products and services that are questionable, at best, in their effectiveness.
Furthermore, those companies are “double-dipping” – essentially making money from selling the marketing services, then turning around and making money on any book sales the marketing services might generate. BookLocker doesn’t believe in that philosophy. We believe in making money primarily from book sales. This puts our business interests in line with the authors’ business interests. When books sell, we both make money.
Plus there is a practical business reason we don’t offer marketing services. First, we simply don’t have enough resources to do a full push with every book. To do so would mean expanding our staff, raising our prices, and losing the personal interaction we have with each author. Second, since we don’t own any rights and the author can walk away from us at any time, it doesn’t make sense to invest money out of our own pocket. Our success stories could simply get up and walk away from us before we made back our investment through the sales.
All that said, we do promote books when there is an opportunity (interviews, inquiries from the press about books on specific topics, etc.). And because of the quality of our inventory, we have a fairly loyal group of customers. Plus we do offer a free marketing area for authors, free one-on-one advice, and even help authors set up blogs on one of the many hosting services upon request. Angela recently published an 11-part series on online book marketing HERE.
Q. What marketing resources do you provide?
We give every BookLocker.com author a copy of 90 DAYS OF PROMOTING YOUR BOOK ONLINE Your Book’s Daily Marketing Plan. It steps you through the process of doing an online marketing campaign.
We do our own promotion of the site in general to keep traffic coming.
We offer the general public free excerpts in the form of PDFs.
We offer to help authors set up blogs on one of the many hosting services, and give them guidance on how to maximize their effectiveness.
And we offer a tracking service that allows you to see which advertising and promotion efforts you do lead to sales.
Q. What sort of sales can I expect?
That is a hard question to answer definitively because it is entirely dependent on the precision with which the author targets the book’s intended market, and then the intensity of the promotional effort to that market. We’ve had authors who earned thousands and we’ve had authors who earned nothing at all.
If you plan to just put your book up on our service and then sit back and do nothing, you will be disappointed. Some authors think having their book on Amazon means instant sales. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Any book needs an active marketing effort to be successful.
Authors who are serious about their marketing effort almost always make back the setup costs and more. That isn’t a coincidence. We intentionally designed our service around a low setup cost so earning a return on that investment is a reasonable expectation.
Some other points to consider:
An average traditionally published title sells between 5,000 and 10,000 copies a year. But because of the efficiency gained from selling direct and using the “inventory-less” models of POD and ebooks, we can pay more back to the author. So, selling 5000 copies traditionally at a 10% royalty is the financial equivalent of selling 725 ebooks at a 70% royalty, or selling 1450 POD books at a 35% royalty. Those numbers are definitely achievable through our service for authors who actively promote their books.
Here is an eye-opening essay from a traditionally published author who made it to #19 on the New York Times Best Seller list. She describes what that meant it terms of dollars in her pocket. After reading this story, we went through our records and discovered there are some BookLocker authors who have made this much money over the same timeframe – and our authors keep all their rights to boot.
Also, some authors use our service with the broader goal of getting a traditional publishing contract. When you have a book in the market that has proven sales, you have far more negotiating power with a traditional publisher than if you just presented them with a manuscript.
Q. What are some of your success stories?
Most authors who use us sell enough books to easily make back their investment.
At least 12 authors have moved on to traditional publishing contracts after proving the market for a book with our service. There may be others, but only these 12 have reported it to us.
We’ve had a number of authors build a business around selling their book, or enhance their current business through selling their books. Non-fiction authors who publish more than one book for their target audience tend to do better than authors who have only one book available. In addition, many authors who turn their books into an ongoing business prefer to self-publish so they can maintain 100% control over their book, and also so they can keep more of the profits.
A detailing of our success stories can be found here.
We also have an extensive list of press clippings.
Q. Where do you sell the books besides your web site?
Our books are available for special order through numerous online bookstores and through most brick and mortar bookstores. Online book stores include Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, booksamillion.com, chapters.ca and numerous others. You’ll undoubtedly find your book for sale on sites you’ve never heard of before. This simply means they have an account with Ingram, the book distributor.
Q. How do I get paid for book sales?
For sales through BookLocker, the money is credited instantly to your BookLocker account and paid out the fifth business day of the month, provided your unpaid royalties are $20 or more. Your readers’ sales numbers will match the numbers appearing on those transactions in your author account.
Some bookstores and other small retailers choose to order directly from BookLocker. Your account is credited when that store pays us…and we require prepayment on those orders.
For sales through the distributor, Ingram, it typically takes 90-120 days after the sale takes place for us to get paid. For example, if a sale occurs in February, we would get paid for that sale in May. When we’re paid, we credit the amount to your author account and it is paid to you the next time we send you a royalty check, which is the fifth business day of the month, provided your unpaid royalties are $20 or more.
Q. Should I refer buyers to Booklocker.com or to Amazon.com or another store?
It is always best to refer sales to Booklocker.com. You get paid a higher royalty, you get the royalty quicker, and we can actually deliver books faster to customers than Amazon.com.
Q. What do I tell stores that want to order directly from BookLocker instead of Ingram?
Tell them we can offer a better discount if they order direct from us. Send them to our wholesale book order page.
Q. I want to sell my book through my own methods and channels. Can I buy the books from you at a wholesale rate?
Yes. In fact, we have several authors who have their own web site or distribution arrangements and just use us as a supplier for their books.
Our author discounts charts are HERE (89K – PDF file).
Prices are subject to change, of course.
Q. Do you work with authors outside of the USA?
We’ve recently changed our policy on this regarding authors in Europe. We will now work with authors located in the U.S., Canada, and in Europe. (Note: Authors in Canada who order their books from Booklocker.com need to pay extra for trackable shipping, GST and brokerage fees.) We do not offer color-interior printing to authors in Europe. So if you are in Europe, and you only need black-and-white interior printing (with a color cover, of course), please submit your book to us.
Q. How can I terminate my contract with you?
With a simple email. We don’t tie authors to long-term contracts because you may get an offer from a traditional publisher some day. And, that publisher isn’t going to wait for you to get out of your old contract. We usually remove books within one day, depending on the time of day the termination arrives and if it arrives on the weekend.
Q. Do I need to purchase a cover from you?
Not necessarily. If you can do one per our specifications, there is no charge. But remember, a cover file consists of a front, back and spine as one file. Not just a front and back. The size of the spine is dictated by the thickness of the book, which is dictated by the final page count.
Also, the front cover will be shrunk down to a graphic the size of about 1″ x 2 ” when it gets displayed on BookLocker, as well as sites like Amazon.com and BN.com. You need to be sure you are using colors and fonts that make the words legible at that size.
If you are comfortable with all these issues, but all means send us a cover and save your money.
Q. Why should I pay you when I can just do everything myself?
Some authors do this, but fulfillment, credit card orders and customer service takes a lot of time, especially if you don’t have the automated resources to handle the load.
Q. Why should I use BookLocker instead of going directly to your printer?
Well, the big reason is they don’t work with individual authors anymore. You would need to form a publishing company and build all the infrastructure they require to interface with them. And while that might be a cost-effective strategy if you plan to publish many books, it isn’t cost-effective for publishing a few books.
The setup fees are cheaper if you use BookLocker instead of going directly to our printer. And it is a lot less work for you.
Your own block of 10 ISBNs – $249.95
Our ISBN – No additional charge
Setup for 300-page paperback book plus print galley:
Printer’s setup fee: $125 – Add $0.15 per page for each additional page above 300, and add $80/hour if you need help meeting their specs.
Our setup fee: $299 – Same price regardless of size and we help in formatting unformatted books at no charge. Angela formats books every day so she can do it fast, and to the printer’s specs.
Directly through printer: $374+
Through BookLocker: $299
Distribution: We provide automated order fulfillment. Each order placed through our site is fed directly, through a database we built, to the printer each night. If you worked with the printer directly, you would need to login to the printer’s system and manually enter the details of each order, line-by-line. Or, you could order your book in bulk and do your own shipping from home. Once orders are fed to the printer’s database from ours, they do all the drop-shipping directly to our customers. The BookLocker name and address, of course, appear on all packages.
Q. Why should I use BookLocker instead of submitting my book directly to Ingram / Amazon / B&N, etc. for distribution?
Ingram won’t work with individuals or companies that have less than 10 titles in print. Our relationship with Ingram enables us to send information on all books to their automated bookstore feed. Our books then appear on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Borders.com, chapters.ca, booksamillion.com and many other, smaller online bookstores, both domestic and foreign. Any bookstore with an Ingram account can pick up Ingram’s feed, so, if you use BookLocker, you’ll find your book listed in stores you’ve never heard of.
If you publish yourself and aren’t distributed by Ingram, you would need to manually submit your book to these stores…and would likely need to give them a bigger cut of each sale. For example, we offer a 30% discount to Ingram, which they share with bookstores. Our books appear on Amazon as “ships in 24 hours” or “ships in 2-3 days”, etc., depending on Ingram’s stock. If you went directly to Amazon and needed the same type of delivery promise to appear on their page for your customers, you would need to sign up for their Advantage program, which requires you give them 55% of each sale AND pay them $29.95 per year to keep your listing on their site.
Q. Do I need to buy a barcode for my cover?
No. We place barcodes on covers…for no additional charge, of course.
Q. I want my book to have a Library of Congress Catalog Card Number (LCCN). Where can I do that?
The LCCN is a unique identification number the Library of Congress assigns to the catalog record created for each book in its cataloged collections. Librarians often use it this locate a specific books (though they use other resources as well). You can find information on how to obtain a LCCN here:
Q. Where can I find copyright forms?
Q. How do I submit a manuscript for consideration?
The submission process is two steps.
First, you fill out a form. We’ll use this to create a log of your submission.
Second, after you submit this information, we give you an email address and an ID number. You use that email address to send in a file of your manuscript and you’ll put the ID number in the subject of the email.
We don’t require any special formatting to submit a book for consideration. We only ask that it be a text, PDF, rich text or MS Word document.
All we ask is that you don’t start the process until your manuscript is complete and ready for review.