lopcoverIt’s getting closer. It started with a pie, and a spreadsheet, nearly three years ago and the culmination of this madcap idea is getting ever closer to fruition.

“Life of Pies” will be released in just under two months’ time and the closer it gets the more nervous trepidation and excitement builds (for me at least!).

There will be just over a 1,000 copies printed initially and 112 of them are already spoken for in the form of pre-orders, which leaves a very Ceefax like number of 888 remaining.

I am currently on the lookout for independent bookshops in the North West or even further afield who will be looking to stock the book in the run up to Christmas. 

However, online sales are undoubtedly the best way for people to buy so if you’re out there reading this and you’re currently thinking of investing your hard earned tenner or you’ve not got around to it (my “to do list” is that long it is transported around the house by an Andrex puppy) then here’s a bit of an update as to what is in it:

The book has ultimately weighed in at 388 pages including a 4 page colour cover and 16 pages of colour inserts and dimensionally it is just short of 8″ by 5″.

It is illustrated throughout with pie pics and consists of a main body of around 340 pages – a two year diary of how and where exactly 314 pies were consumed plus a further 30 pages of extras at the back, some homework for the discerning pie eater so to speak.

I have worked out that the cost of production is over £7.00 per copy (which in addition to print and design also includes a hell of a lot of petrol and even more pies!) so I have priced it very competitively at £9.99 – as even though it is great value, I wouldn’t want to deter people from not buying it for charging over a tenner.

I may well have shot myself in the foot as if I do end up dealing with any major retailers they typically want 30-40% margin so I may have to sell at a loss for the exposure it will get, which is exactly why it’s important for people to buy online.

I’m not in it to make money and by self-publishing I am quite prepared to lose money. The publishing industry is not exactly flourishing right now and unless you are a celebrity or a very familiar and established writer it is an exceptional tough market to break into.

Don’t get me wrong if the book gets judged as a masterpiece, and some grand publishing house writes me a large cheque, I’ll not be turning it down but past experience tells me that is unlikely; so I’m not planning on giving up the day job.

Whereas the book is £9.99 you will notice if you buy online that postage and packaging of £3.40 is added. I have based this on the weight of a dummy copy of the book and the composition of this is £3.25 postage plus 15p for the price of a decent padded envelope to send it in.

I learnt how to use mail merge in 2003 and unsurprisingly have subsequently forgotten how to use it.

The book is currently in the process of being printed. It should roll off the presses in around 3-4 weeks’ time and then despatched out to me in a shipping container. Once I get to that stage I will have a good definitive idea of when it will be ready.

I currently have the provisional launch date of Friday 24th October with pre-order copies sent out on Wednesday 22nd October. I am hoping to keep to those dates but I will provide final confirmation in a few weeks’ time.

Pre-orders will be the priority after which the book will be issued to shops and retailers so they don’t end up clogging my house. There are plans in train to produce a Kindle version of the book but this will probably only happen once the bulk of the printed copies have been sold.

Whether there is another print run or not depends wholly on demand.

eaglesdeliThe old pre-sales have dried up a bit since the window closed on the inscription offer and I’m not moaning as to sell over 100 copies up front was very pleasing and makes me very grateful that people are willing to invest their trust in me.

I’m not about to get the begging bowl out here either as there are so many demands on people’s cash and time now. Social media is awash with “sign this, read this, donate that” and I feel a little humble and cheeky even asking given many of the great causes out there.

Hopefully the above gives you a good idea how much work has gone into it and how the self-publishing process works, and if you want to help me cover my costs and receive a copy of an innovative, well researched, light hearted book for your troubles, that’s up to you. [Puts begging bowl away he said he wouldn’t get out]

In the meantime, I will keep quietly promoting the book and planning the October launch.

I’ll also keep updating my “100 days of pie blog” featuring many of the pies included in the book. 

This is itself is something of a quandary. Essentially I am putting the surplus of the 1,300 plus photos I took online with a bit of a narrative but again it is a delicately poised balance. 

I need to make it interesting and inviting to plug and promote the book but then if I put all the decent content online for free, nobody will need or want to buy the book, plus those people who have already bought it might start to get a little miffed with me.

Life’s full of dilemmas isn’t it?

And pies in my case 🙂