Hi Cindy and others,
I've been "on vacation" for the last couple of weeks, guiding my
sister and her husband during their first visit to Costa Rica (more about
that trip in another note).
While catching up on list-serv notes, I came across your recent
notes, Cindy, on self-publishing. I've had a mostly positive experience
with publishing our cloud forest tree book. I think self-publishing small,
locally-focused guides is very doable and would recommend it. I liked
having lots of control and decision-making power in the process. While the
guys printing the book made a number of goofs, the woman who I dealt with
at the service bureau was great and that made a big diference - having a
good, helpful, responsive contact.
My list-serv note of February explains "how" I put the book
together. To pay for printing of 2000 books, we worked with the non-profit
organization, the Tropical Science Center; they own and manage the near-by
cloud forest preserve. They loaned us the money to print the book. We
paid them back in books (640), sold to them at a slightly lower cost than
the price per book for retailers. We were left with the remaining books to
sell/distribute. We stored 300 at a book store in the capital city, San
Jose. Then we cleared out closet and cabinet space in our home and stored
the rest of them. We distribute to three local outlets and just recently
hired a distributor in San Jose. Two U.S. natural history booksellers are
buying them, and my sister processes individual orders (that's how some of
you on the list-serv bought the book).
We've sold around 700 books from our stash. I think that's doing
pretty well considering a limited distribution. Sales for the rest of the
year may be steady as while tourism goes down in Sept. and Oct., we've
broadened our distribution.
I like your idea of forming a publishing group... in any case I
would encourage you to consider self-publishing. If I could do it here in
Costa Rica with limited resources, I would think it would be much easier to
do in the U.S.
Bye for now,
Monteverde, Costa Rica