In our opinion, Wordclay is great for a graphic designer who only needs a couple books. The biggest obstacle is that to get complete services, you'll pay quite a bit more. Your book profit and printing costs are so high as to be prohibitive when compared to Dog Ear.
Dog Ear: Yes
Dog Ear: $4.16
Dog Ear: $2.99
Dog Ear: $1,723
How does Wordclay compare to Dog Ear Publishing?
Every day we find publishers who say they offer low pricing on publishing services, but in the case of Wordclay, it’s the infamous claim of "Free Self Publishing" that deserves further investigation. We would like to let you know what this really means. Now, in the interest of fair disclosure, please keep in mind that Wordclay is one of our competitors; please conduct your own research and check out our statistics. Certain types of authors (and certain products) may be better suited to Wordclay (though we hate to admit it). This is particularly true if your book can't sell more than 150 units.
Here's the short version. In our opinion, Wordclay is great for a graphic designer who only needs a couple books. The biggest obstacle is that to get complete services, you'll pay quite a bit more. Your book profit and printing costs are so high as to be prohibitive when compared to Dog Ear. Even if you only take into account book printing prices, you'll pay more in the long run with Wordclay’s 'free self publishing' services than you will purchasing complete, professional services from Dog Ear Publishing. Read on to find out why...
What Wordclay is:
Wordclay is a secondary competitor to Lulu. Both Wordclay and other 'online printer companies' provide just about the exact same services at the same price. Wordclay is primarily a book printer. To take advantage of the value WordClay offers, you'll need to perform ALL the tasks needed to produce a real book. You will be the copyeditor, book designer, cover designer, production house, fulfillment and distribution resource, and set up all your retail and wholesale relationships through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ingram, etc. Once you completely understand the ultimate costs of publishing a book with Wordclay (a salable book that has a competitive wholesale discount and strong profit for the author), we’re guessing that what you believed was a great deal, actually costs you more than you bargained for.
How Wordclay works:
If you take full advantage of Wordclay's system you will be responsible for these steps:
1 - Determine your book format and design particulars. This is not typically a big deal, but there are certain aspects to choosing a trim size, paper stock, and other aspects of publishing that are good to have personal feedback on. Not a big deal, however. This is the easier part.
2 - "Prepare and upload your manuscript." This is quoted from the Wordclay site, and this is one of the hard parts. If you are an accomplished graphic designer, then we’re guessing you've got this covered. If you aren't [a trained designer], ask yourself this: How much do you know about book design and setting up a file that is prepped for production and printing? It normally isn't as easy as anyone may think, and along with editing, this is one of the main areas where self-published products fall short of traditionally published books. Take a look at many offerings from Wordclay, Lulu, and many other 'free self publishing' sites. All too often they don't look like professional, traditionally published books. Dog Ear Publishing produces books every day, and we produce many titles for the traditional publishing houses such as Harper Collins & Simon and Schuster. Our design team knows exactly what it takes to design a great book.
3 - "Design the cover for your book." Again, quoted from the Wordclay site. This step comes with all the same arguments as #2. If you are a graphic designer, then this works fine. Most authors are not. Take another look at many of the products offered on sites such as Wordclay and Lulu. Then compare the book covers to those published in the traditional industry. Now, there are certainly great looking covers at both Wordclay and Lulu, just make sure you are comfortable doing this yourself. You won't get help from Wordclay without paying quite a bit for it.
4 - Calculate the selling price for your new book. Here the differences between Dog Ear Publishing and Wordclay become more pronounced. Do you notice how difficult it is to find out how much a book costs on the Wordclay site? Matter of fact, until we created an account, set up a project, and uploaded files, we couldn't find it... Why is it so deeply hidden? Because the costs of printing a book (and your ultimate profit) are so out of skew with how Dog Ear Publishing does business that it might turn you away without ever spending time to discover the advantages of Wordclay. Even if you are a professional design guru, the costs of printing your book and the ultimate drop in profit should make you consider your options very carefully. We uploaded a 144 page book, set its retail price at $11.95, chose a 5x8 trim size, paperback - all very standard stuff. The cost to print a book was astronomical - $7.31 per unit at Wordclay ($4.16 at Dog Ear Publishing) and the profit for a sale through Amazon was $0.34. That's right, only 34 cents at Wordclay. A Dog Ear author on the same project would see an average of $3.01 per sale in profit. All we can say is "Wow!"
5 - Compose book marketing information. No big deal. Tell Wordclay what you want your book page to say and they'll make it happen. Same thing is the case at all self-publishers.
6 - Approve and publish your book. This was the beautiful and easy part of the process. As soon as we hit the button we could order the book. That was very nice...
(We have more in-depth information about what we consider important when choosing a publisher - it's on our main comparison page. If you've read it there, skip to the company detail section.)
What Wordclay really costs
Now we'll get more in-depth with Wordclay. These are the real nuts-and-bolts of publishing a book.
The specs are pretty typical of the books produced in the trade category at any self publishing house. Information and self publishing costs are derived from the Wordclay web site.
- 5X8 trim size, 144 pages, one color interior, 4 color cover, no interior images
- Paperback or hardcover
- ISBN and bar code included, Library of Congress Control number
- Google Books search inclusion
- Google Editions eBook
- Custom cover and interior - by a professional book designer
- PDF or laser proofs delivered to author,
- 150 additional paperback units purchased
- Available at Amazon and most major online retailers
- Available through major distributors like Ingram and Baker and Taylor
- Available for order at over 25,000 retail bookstores.
- Available through the Espresso Book Machine
(Total cost for this package and options through Dog Ear is $1,723, and our per unit book printing price is $4.18, and you get 10 free author copies of your book.)
Standard Paperback Publishing - $0
Custom Cover - $999.00
Custom Interior Design - $249.00
Library of Congress Control Number - $35 (so your book is available to libraries)
Proofs - NA (not applicable)
Distribution - $99 per year (so your book is avail. at Amazon, Barnes&Noble, etc.)
Printing Services - $7.31 / unit X 150 units = $1,096.50 (ouch)
Total Expenditure - Wordclay: $2,478.50 for a FREE SELF PUBLISHING company (vs. $1723 at Dog Ear)
$755.50 MORE EXPENSIVE at Wordclay than at Dog Ear Publishing!
Additional monies required: $99 each year for distribution. Other service fees: $799 for a returns program (very standard in the industry, but through Dog Ear the returns policy is $200)
BOOK DESIGN and PRODUCTION
Dog Ear design professionals create a unique and custom design for both the cover and interior for every book. Your design is unique (complete from the ground up) - no 'templates' are ever used. Dog Ear provides a Design Sample using your manuscript and allows you complete freedom to revise what our team has built. No other publishing services company provides this service FREE OF CHARGE - only Dog Ear. Every one of our books are designed and built by professionals with long histories and lots of experience from the traditional publishing industry. Your book is being built the same staff that created books for Harper Collins, Prentice Hall, Simon & Schuster, Wiley, Penguin and many others of the world’s most successful publishers.
Author profit (a result of book printing prices) is one of the greatest weaknesses of Wordclay. You will pay over $4 more per unit to purchase your own books at Wordclay - $7.31 per unit at WC vs. $4.18 at Dog Ear Publishing. That profit comes straight out of your pocket.
Your author profit when selling to distribution partners (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ingram, Baker & Taylor, etc.), even using Wordclay's low wholesale discount level and retail price leaves you with a per unit author profit that is dismal. You’d make nearly $3 more per sale at Dog Ear. On a Wordclay sale to Amazon at $11.95 retail (a good price for a 144 page paperback) you would make $0.34 (34 cents). At Dog Ear, same retail but a more aggressive wholesale (to get your books in more markets), you'd make $2.99 on each sale. Only interested in Amazon? Drop your wholesale discount to 20% and make $5.38 per sale. Can't do that at Wordclay.
Imagine what these numbers do to your profit over the life of your book.
An interesting note: why does Wordclay charge authors a fee for each book sold through the Wordclay site? (a $1.00 fee is charged to sell your book) They are already making a profit printing it (a large one as you can see). Why charge more to sell it direct?
Other Items to Watch For from Self-Publishing Companies
You've got to watch corrections. Remember that it costs money each time your publisher has to go back into your file and change something. That's standard for every self-publishing outfit around. But, you should be able to resubmit your manuscript to them just before it goes into "layout" or “pre-layout formatting”. Also make sure that you don't get charged for making corrections that were THE PUBLISHER'S FAULT in the first place (called Production Errors). This is unfortunately a common practice amongst less trustworthy self-publishing outfits.
Advertising Gimmicks or "Don't New York Times Ads Work?"
Only targeted marketing sells books. Expensive ads work for Grisham and Clancy, but the rest of us have to think "Targeted". REVIEWS sell books, not ads - unless your last name happens to be Grisham or Clancy. Bookstores buy based upon marketing dollars thrown at them. Keep targeted! Work book signings and readings! Targeted Search Marketing sells books. Book signings sell books.