Palpable Imaginings: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Process of Self-Publishing

There were quite a few reasons why I began developing a financially sustainable model for a group-self-publishing anthology project. I wanted to help writers get their stories placed in their debut print publication, and to help already-published authors increase their fan base. I also hoped that if it proved successful or nearly so, I and others could use the model to get more of our creations and the works of others self-published quicker and less expensively.

I wanted this effort to be educational for me and for anyone else who wished to learn from it. In that spirit, this post is to inform many of the participants, and anyone else who is interested, as to the expenses associated with the now-published anthology Palpable Imaginings. My goal is greater transparency so others can learn from my mistakes as well as my successes.

At the beginning of the project estimated what I thought the total cost would be self-publish the anthology and each writer, including myself, paid their prorated share of those costs based on the number of their stories I selected for inclusion in the book. That money went to help pay the costs associated with professionally publishing the book, including paying for the services of a professional editor, and interior layout and cover designer. I committed to the writers that I would return any unused money that had been collected for the production costs if I was able to complete the project under budget, and that I’d pay out of my own pocket any amounts over the funds collected for producing the book.

The writers who participated in the project will also get a prorated portion of the royalties the book earns based on the number of their stories included in the anthology.

I forgot to include the cost of the physical proof (the printer sends a physical copy of the book to ensure it correctly laid out). Fortunately, that cost less than $15, but it still had a small negative impact on the budget. My estimate as to production costs needed per story based on the number of stories to be included was also too low. Each of those mistakes or decisions were of my own making. The writers lived up to their end of the bargain most admirably.

The bottom line is that a total of $595 was collected, $771.17 was spent, and I made up the $176.17 shortfall. I consider this experiment to have been quite successful. I’ve learned a lot, the anthology helped eight poets to become published and/or even better known, and if I begin similar projects in the future, I’ll have an even better understanding of the costs of producing each book.

I’m waiting to receive the physical proof from the printer. It should arrive within two days. If the layout looks good, I’ll release it for sale. Typically, within 24 hours it will be listed on amazon in the U.S. an UK markets. Shortly afterwards, it will begin to become available elsewhere.

I’m pleased. Thank you to all who participated and/or to everyone who is spreading the word about Palpable Imaginings.

With Love


About russtowne

My wife and I have been married since 1979. We have 3 adult children and 4 young grandsons. I manage a wealth management firm I founded in 2003. My Beloved is a Special Education teacher for Kindergartners and First Graders. I'm a published author of 23 books in a variety of genres for grownups and children. In addition to my family, friends, investing, and writing, my passions include reading, watching classic movies, experiencing waves crashing on rocky shores, hiking in ancient redwood forests, and enjoying our small redwood grove and fern garden.
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