Optimus: Praetorian Guard was published in Nov. of 2006. I contacted Publish America in August of that year, submitted my manuscript and gave suggestions for the cover, a picture of the author, bio and description in September. In October they sent a pdf galley to proof and got my approval for the cover, which was exactly as I described it. I found a number of changes which I documented and they corrected. It was published in November and I had the first two books in hand to be submitted to the Copyright office with a check for $35. I received a congratulatory letter with a dollar bill on it.
They set the price at $21.95 per book. In five years I bought 126 books from them costing me around $12 per book. I paid $70 to have them convert it to e-book on Amazon, Google Books and their site. They upped the price of the book to $27.95 even for the e-book. I bought 6 copies in hard back at $32.00 each which they priced at $35. This was for vanity to actually sell.
Most of the books I sold were to my mother. She either gave them to friends or sold them to members of her Sunday school class, pastors and anyone she could brag to for having a son who's an author.
I donated two books to the West Mesa High School library getting my picture in the school newspaper. A few of my teaching friends bought books, even the principle. I gave a lot of them as gifts for birthdays and Christmas. For everyone I sold, most at $15 since no one would buy them for over 20 I gave away at least three. I did a number of book signings at Hastings, Bibles Plus, B Dalton in Cottonwood while it was there. I seemed to sell four books in four hours each time.
The summer of 2007 I spent in Canton Tx helping Mom with Dad while in hospice. I set up book signings before the diagnoses giving him six to eight weeks to live. Mom paid for my flights back to Albuquerque to keep those book signings. While back home I did have a few family things to take care of and get my classroom ready for the coming year. For a book that sold for twenty dollars my cut after the book store's take was three dollars. Let's see $12/4=$3 per hour. They would order ten books and I purchased at retail the remaining so they didn't get sent back. Those book signings proved very expensive.
Fred Aiken teaches a class through Southwest Writers on the business side of writing and he walks his students through how to claim expenses on your income tax. That year I had lots of deductions.
I continued to do book signings whenever a good friend like Dave Corwell invited me join him at a flea market in Tijeras Canyon or Tesuque Pueblo, even did eight hours at the State Fair. Sold books everywhere, but the fair. That's when I gave up on book signings. I started checking Amazon.com for used copies of my book and started rebuying them for around eight dollars including 3.99 shipping and handling, cheaper than getting them from PA.
All told there is about 140 copies out there. Total spent at PA was over $1300. Add the ones purchased from Bible's Plus, three different Hastings, B Dalton's and the used ones from Amazon it's still under the three thousand up front cost to self publish from a college friend who quoted me this price a little over a year ago.
Back to PA. I paid 70 dollars to get the book converted to e-book, but six months later it still wasn't converted. There was no one to contact to complain. I submitted Human Sacrifices and when the editor e-mailed me back concerning it I sent word to her that I wouldn't publish until they did what I already paid for. It was promptly converted and available at Amazon, Google books didn't get it for a year. I never published HS through them.
In 2011 they contacted me since I hadn't bought a book from them in a year letting me know they would sell publishing rights back for $200. I only needed to wait two more years until they were mine for free, but I had some inheritance money and got them out of my life. It took six months to edit and revise it to my liking. It is now available for $.99 at Amazon as an e-book and at Smashwords which sends it out to Pubit, Nook, I-books and other places.
The one real plus from Optimus was the pastor of the house church we started attending read it giving me a glowing review on Amazon. He's also an attorney and when I retired he had a case ready for trial. The first day of my retirement he called me asking if I'd like to work for him. I was retired one whole day. Needless to say P.M. Prescott Enterprises reports more earnings from legal assistance than book sales.
The next post will relate my experience in e-publishing.