Frequently Asked Questions

These questions are some of the core enquiries we receive. We hope you find them useful.

Why should I self-publish?

  • To protect the integrity of your work
  • To make your voice heard
    In the past it was very expensive to self-publish a book. This meant that a book had to be accepted by a publisher to make it to print. This prevented many authors’ work from ever being seen by a wider audience. Today, with the development of digital printing, the cost of self-publishing has fallen dramatically. This means you can order the exact number of copies to suit your budget, so self-publishing is truly viable.
  • To control all rights
    As a self-publisher you control all rights to your work. It’s your choice to assign rights to a third party such as a publishing house.
    Self-publishing allows you to control your publishing process.

Do I have to be an expert to self-publish?

Absolutely not. The members of PublishMe are as wide and varied as the work they publish. PublishMe has something to offer everyone.

I have a completed work ready for print. How can PublishMe help?

We can support you to print your work through our own PublishMe print facility. Please go to ‘Step 5 – Print’ for full details of our service.

What is the cost of printing a book?

This depends on book size, number of pages, black & white or colour printing, the binding you use and the quantity you wish to produce. Please see ‘Step 5 – Print’ to see what information we will need to give you an accurate quote or fill out the Quote Request form.

What are the benefits of print on demand?

Digital printing technology today allows us to print and bind books in the exact numbers you want. This gives you control of your cash-flow and minimises your financial risk. Furthermore, improvements and corrections can be made between each small print run.
Also, we can store your book as digital data, so it never need be out of print and you’ll know that your current version is always secure.

What is the cost of editing a book?

This will depend on the nature of your book; word count, genre, the markets you wish to sell to and the format in which you submit it. PublishMe offers a full in-house editing and proofreading service. Please contact us for a quote.

How much artistic freedom do I have regarding the layout of my book and cover design?

One hundred per cent freedom. Covers can be created by you, your own designer, or by PublishMe. Following our print specifications is necessary to ensure a quality print outcome (margins, crop marks etc.) so please enquire about these. We strongly recommend you thoroughly read Step 4 of the ‘5 steps to getting published‘ guide, as the design and layout of your book is of great importance to the success of your work.

Does control of my work become compromised if I use the services of PublishMe?

No. We offer a full self-publishing service, but the control and copyright remain with you. If a traditional publishing company shows interest in the rights to your book, then any agreement you make with that publisher would be to your mutual satisfaction. PublishMe’s services are offered to those wishing to achieve a high-quality finished product; you pay for the time we spend on the job but all rights to the work remain yours and any files produced by us for you are yours.

What should I do with the books after they’re printed?

If you wish to sell your book, you need to become a self-marketer. With the power of the Internet at your fingertips there are many, many different ways to spread the word about your book. Social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest can help with this, especially as accounts are free. There are also many books available that can give you guidance and ideas. A good place to start would be

Do I have to sell my book?

No. As self-published books are written for many reasons, it is entirely your choice whether to sell your work publicly, or retain it for private use only.

Can you explain copyright to me?

New Zealand is party to international copyright law that covers most Western nations as well as many others. Under this copyright law anything that is written on paper or recorded on a computer is automatically deemed to be the copyright of the author (unless you sell or assign it). There is no need to apply for this recognition as is the case with a patents or trademarks. In general, it is only the words that are protected in the order they were written, not the ideas contained within those words (though in some cases these are also protected).

If you are in doubt about your ability to prove that you wrote the words first, you may either lodge a copy with your lawyer or bank, getting it date stamped, or you can send yourself a registered letter containing a copy. Ensure that it is clearly date stamped at posting and don’t open it when you receive it.

It is not necessary to mark your work with a circled C and your name and date to copyright it, but it does help remind those who receive your work in any form thereafter that they do not own rights to replicate it. Your copyright lasts for 50 years after you die and can be left to family or friends in a will.

If you wish to quote from another person’s work in your own, it is normally wise to get their permission to do so. Copyright law does allow for brief quotes that are properly referenced to be used (in academic works, for example) but only for certain purposes and not if they reveal key material from the document that the author may not have wanted revealed in such a manner. If in doubt, always seek permission.

Pictures, photographs, and words delivered by interview, if quoted, are also the subject of copyright, and if you are using any in your book, be sure you have the rights fully established. Legal proceedings can be VERY costly. Keep copies of any agreements you have arranged to use work signed by the originator of the work (or their legal assignee). See to clarify any further questions.

Do I need a barcode and ISBN for my work?

If you want your book to go on general sale, it must have an ISBN (International Standard Book Number). This is a unique 13-digit number that identifies your book and is used by bookstores, wholesalers, distributors, and libraries for ordering, cataloging, billing and stock control. Every version of the book must have a separate ISBN. For example, hardback, paperback or e-versions of the same book will have different numbers.

Once you have obtained the ISBN, you will need a barcode to sell your book in a shop. PublishMe can create a barcode for you for a fee of $25 + GST. This is then printed on the back cover for retail sale. If you intend to sell your work privately, you will not require a barcode for retail purposes.

It’s easy to apply online for your ISBN at the National Library of New Zealand website.

Do I set my own price for my book?

Yes, absolutely, though we are happy to offer advice. Remember that you will have to take into account the printing and design costs and any commission or discounts you need to give in order to have your book sold through a shop.
For example: If you print 50 books at a print cost of $10 each and your design cost was $400, the total unit cost per book would be $18. Therefore, you would need to sell your books for more than $18 each to cover your costs and make a profit.

If you set your ‘recommended retail price’ (RRP) at $30 and sell direct to customers, your profit per book is $12, not taking into account any postage costs.

If you offered a wholesaler a discount of 30% on your RRP of $30, this would leave you with $3 profit per book.

Your RRP has to be at a level which is realistic, but which also means you make some money.

How much will it cost for my book to be printed?

PublishMe can give you a quote as soon as you know the exact number of pages, the dimensions of the finished book, and the number of colour and black and white pages.

If you’re not certain but need an indication, simply give us an estimate and we can give you a quote based on that. This should tell you if the project is viable. Once the specification of the book is confirmed we will amend the quote so you know exactly how much it will cost to print.

What sorts of paper can I use?

We normally print inside pages on 80 or 100gsm offset paper and the cover on a 300gsm card stock. We can offer alternatives for special purposes. Please ask when you get your quote.

Should I have my work proofread?

All publications should be proofread, even if your audience is just friends and family. It is very difficult to see all the errors in your own work. PublishMe offers a full in-house proofreading service. Please contact us for a quote.

Can I make changes to my work after the first print run?

One of the great advantages of digital print is that errors can be amended between print runs. If you require us to amend items in your work, there will be a small charge based on the time this takes. Generally, if you have provided us with a PDF file you will make the changes and send us the corrected file. If for any reason we have made an error, we will rectify this without charge.

Will I get a proof copy of my book?

Every book we print is proofed for the author before the main print run is printed. This gives you the chance to do a final check of your work. Once you have confirmed that you are happy with the proof copy we will print the full print run. We can print extra proofs for you at unit cost price if you need to make major amendments to the first proof.

What size should my book be?

In general, if you are intending to get the benefits of digital printing of short runs, we offer a standard range of cost-effective sizes, though custom sizes are also available at an increased cost. Go to ‘Step 5 – Print’ for full details.
Consider your audience when choosing a book size. If you are printing a children’s picture book or a family history that is liberally illustrated, you will need to allow for larger font sizes (for very young or old readers) and clear graphics. If you are at all in doubt please consult with your client manager, Giles.

How long will it take to produce my book?

PublishMe can generally complete the printing of your books within 15 working days. If other processes are involved, such as editing, proofreading, cover design, layout and so forth, time must be allowed for this. Most books are usually completed within 8–10 weeks.
If there is some greater urgency, there may be a way to achieve an even tighter schedule, but clear communication of your needs is vital. Please consult Giles about your specific needs.

Do I need to sign a contract with PublishMe?

No. Your work remains your own throughout the process. You retain ownership of your work and all files.

If you have a different question, please email your client manager, Giles Crosthwaite-Scott – click here to email Giles now