Pricing

As always, we provide free ebook and print project estimates.

Ebooks

For ebooks, in exchange for these fees, we embed your cover art, create a custom style sheet, insert a logical advanced navigation, and ensure the ebook is 100 percent valid and standards-compliant. You also get a Kindle book and an ePub file (an ePub is the industry standard ebook format played by virtually every ereader not named “Kindle”) and some hand-holding to get you through the publishing process if you need it.

Fiction

For fiction, we use a tiered pricing structure and the price of most projects can be determined using the rates outlined below. Some projects fall outside the tier structure, so we do send out quotes for every query… just so we both know what to expect from the outset. For non-fiction projects, see below.

If you’ve got a manuscript in Word, WordPerfect, RTF, or some other readily workable native text format:

  • Under 15,000 words: $125
  • 15,001 to 40,000 words: $150
  • 40,001 to 100,000 words: $200
  • More than 100,001 words: Quote, with $225 minimum

There may be times when a fiction project exceeds the pricing structure above, such as the case with experimental fiction, choose-your-own-adventure stories, and books that make generous use of literary devices (love letters, emails, numbered/bullet lists, etc.). See Images and other formatting elements below.

Non-fiction, poetry, children’s books, comic books, screenplays, etc.

We work up custom quotes for all non-fiction, poetry, children’s books (flowable), comic books, screenplays, and otherwise heavily formatted and/or illustrated books, as these sorts of projects are not always cut-and-dried. Minimum: $250

Smashwords

Smashwords is a free, do-it-yourself ebook publishing Web site and marketplace that simplifies the ebook publishing process for most people. As of December of 2012, Smashwords offers authors the ability to upload two types of files.

Smashwords Option #1: Microsoft Word file

This is a specially-formatted Word document that’s automatically converted to several formats (MOBI, ePub, PDF, HTML, plain text, and Rich Text Format). Smashwords’ ebook conversion software—called Meatgrinder—automatically produces functional ebooks that are somewhat homogenous and one-size-fits-most due to the system’s style requirements. It’s a good solution if all you want is to self-publish and distribute widely. It’s not a good solution if you’re looking for a distinctive, professionally-built ebook.

We are not preparing non-fiction for Word-based Smashwords at this time for any price. Meatgrinder’s idiosyncrasies introduce a lot of unpredictability with complex formatting elements that typically appear in non-fiction.

Smashwords Option #2: ePub file

The second type is an ePub file that bypasses Meatgrinder altogether, ensuring high-quality and elegant ebooks distributed to Apple, Libraries, Baker & Taylor and more. Smashwords-ready ePub files are not available as a stand-alone á la carte option. In other words, we’ll prepare this version only with the purchase of the Kindle book and ePub combination described at the top of the page.

Smashwords: Why uploading an ePub is better than Meatgrinder ebook and print project estimates

Whichever option you choose, we test to ensure that all Smashwords-ready files we produce are compliant to the extent our Smashwords test account will allow. Smashwords is a third-party entity separate from 52 Novels and can change its requirements at any time—for any reason—without notification. As such, we offer limited support should a file be rejected for inclusion in either the Smashwords in-house or premium catalogs.

  • Fiction under 100,000 words: $60 for ePub; $100 for Word
  • Fiction greater than 100,000 words: $100 for ePub; $150 for Word
  • Non-fiction and books requiring complex formatting: Quote for ePub option; We are not preparing non-fiction or complex books for Word-based Smashwords at this time for any price.

Fixed-layout Ebooks

Fixed layout ebooks are enhanced ebooks that replicate the look of print books. Unlike traditional ebooks that feature reflowable text and inline graphics, a fixed-layout ebook creates a set page layout with non-reflowable text that can be positioned on top of graphics. Fixed-layout ebooks are a perfect solution for children’s picture ebooks, comic ebooks, coffee table ebooks, and other ebooks where images tell the story as much as, if not more, than the words.

Fixed-layout ebooks are playable only on iPads via iBooks, Kindle Fire, and Barnes & Noble Nook tablet models. At this time, we can prepare fixed-layout ebooks for iBooks and the Kindle store only. Because these are rather unlike typical ebooks, these projects are time- and labor-intensive. As such, the lead time to complete a 32-page fixed-layout children’s ebook can be as long as 4 weeks. The price for one format, either Kindle fixed layout or Apple fixed layout, up to 32 pages is $299. Please contact us for a custom quote for more than one format or for longer books.

Please mention your interest in fixed-layout ebooks in your query.

Scanning, and Ebook Production from Scans, PDF, or InDesign

If all you’ve got are hardcovers or paperbacks which require scanning, a completed scan, or a Word file from your publisher/PDF file/InDesign file, we charge between $1.25 and $4.00 per printed page with a $250 minimum, plus the price of scanning if needed (up to $50 per book). Scanned and PDF-based books introduce an element of complexity that doesn’t exist when the book is in its native digital form. As such, work on these books may exceed the price range listed here.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Scanning adds as much as four weeks to the lead time.
  • Converting scanned books to ebooks is labor intensive and you will be a key component in the process. We use best-of-class, enterprise-grade OCR software that’s configured to our standards to create editable text files in Microsoft Word (or RTF). Still, the process will always produce results that need a human’s hands and brain to ensure the manuscript is publishable. Once we have the scan’s results, we run it through our OCR and then “scrub” the results looking for errors we commonly find. For the most part, these errors consist of character confusion (lower-case l’s and the number 1; lower-case e’s and c’s; italic question marks and exclamation points are often rendered as forward slashes) and falsely recognizing running headers and footers as book content. After the scrub, we send you a lightly-formatted Word file (or RTF) for you to review to ensure all the words are there and in the correct order. The file you receive is fully editable… simply make changes directly to the file and save it. Once you’ve finished this, send the file back to us. We’ll make your ebooks using the new file. It sounds like a lot of work—and it can be—but we’ve found that this process produces cleaner ebooks and speedier production times than when corrections are handled after ebooks have been made.
  • In some cases with scanned and PDF-based books, we may revise the price upward while we’re working. If this happens, we will stop work, notify you of the change in price, and allow you 3 days to accept or decline the revised price. If you accept, we’ll continue working as agreed. If you decline, we’ll delete all working copies of your book, including cover art, in our possession, OR, if you prefer, we can turn over to you all work product, including all ancillary items, and assess a 50% kill fee. That said, we will do our best to provide you with an accurate quote from the outset.
  • We outsource all of our scanning. We use an inexpensive, reliable and reputable service that we’ve been dealing with for some time. In some cases it may be more benficial for you to work with them directly. Some people, however, prefer to have us handle this from soup-to-nuts. Either way, you’ll pay the same amount for scanning.

NOTE TO AUTHORS COMING TO US WITH THEIR BACKLIST: Coming to us with clean manuscripts is especially important for you. If your publisher, or former publisher as the case may be, has provided you with a PDF, InDesign file, or a Word file, then your book will likely not be clean. It may look like it is, but chances are good that it won’t be.

Frequently, spawning a Word file from PDF or InDesign introduces paragraph breaks and line breaks where they don’t belong, confuses page headers and footers as body content, and otherwise makes for a lot of work if we’re unaware going in that this is how your book came to us. The last thing we want is to be surprised by the amount of work necessary to fix the manuscript; the last thing you want is to be is surprised by the corresponding hourly charges.

If you have a Word file from your publisher, it was likely spawned from PDF or InDesign. The first step, then, is to turn on the document’s hidden formatting (click the pilcro button button) and inspect your manuscript.

If you see paragraph marks (¶) and or text break marks () where they don’t belong—particularly at the end of each line of type—then these need to be fixed before you publish your ebook. If you want us to handle these, we’ll factor that work into our quote using the rates we use for scanned and PDF-based work.

Other authors have undertaken the fixes in other ways, either by correcting the errors themselves, paying a copy editor to do them, or by having beta readers spot them.

Premium Package

We also offer a premium package for fiction projects that includes your ebook in Kindle and ePub formats, a Smashwords-ready version*, and a print-ready PDF … all with custom-designed chapter headings and title graphics (up to two fonts; additional fonts extra**). These packages start at $750. Please mention your interest in our premium package in your query. We’ll send you sample of a premium ebook in Kindle and ePub formats.

*Because of the limitations and unpredictability associated with Smashwords’ automatic ebook conversion process, not all design features are possible. We’ll do our best to recreate the design of the Kindle, ePub and print-ready versions, but we cannot always produce a faithful match.

**Our preference is to use font embedding in premium ebooks. Font choices are subject to the type foundry’s or font designer’s license terms. We’ll make reasonable attempts to match the fonts used by your cover. As is often the case, however, many fonts do not have favorable license terms for use in ebooks and/or commercial products. Your ebook designer will work with you to find fonts with favorable license terms—from places like Font Squirrel, The League of Moveable Type and the Google Web Font project—that also work well with your ebook’s genre, brand or cover design, either as stand alone choices or as compliments.

If you come to us insisting on a specific font or fonts, you must be sure to have satisfied all licensing requirements from the font’s foundry or designer. If your licenses are not in order, we will not be able to embed the font into your ebooks.

Embedded Fonts (ebooks)

As a general rule, we will only embed fonts in Premium Package projects. There may be times, however, when an ebook would be enhanced beyond simply using italics, boldface, or monospace type, or other common presentation practices.

An example of this is a novel that makes use of incomplete character sets, or unsupported or inconsistently-supported character sets, as is the case with many non-English characters. In almost all cases, however, we can accomplish any presentation you need using XHTML and cascading style sheets.

Because the font-embedding process introduces a degree of unpredictability—and, accordingly, additional work and testing—we will embed fonts on a case-by-case basis for a flat fee of $90 for the first font and $15 for a second font. We do not recommend embedding more than two fonts, as each font increases the file size of your ebooks.

If we do embed fonts in your ebooks, we will select from among several elegant open source fonts with licensing terms that allow distribution in commercial products (such as the majority of those offered at Font Squirrel, The League of Moveable Type and the Google Web Font project). We do not recommend using embedded fonts to replace an ebook’s complete body text because it can sometimes undermine a reader’s personal ereading experience.

In other words, a little bit here goes a long way, so we stick to chapter headings and subheadings, and blocks of text where an embedded font makes sense.

If you think your ebook may need embedded fonts, please mention it in your query with a reference to which portion(s) of text so we can be sure to properly evaluate your manuscript.

Print-ready Production

For print books, we can prepare your manuscript at a rate between $1.50 and $4.00 per 300-words. We design print interiors for fiction, narrative non-fiction, and some types of technical manuals and textbooks.

We do not design print interiors for coffee table books, cookbooks, or other highly-stylized books. Please mention your interest in print-ready production in your query.

Rush Requests for New Projects

On a case-by-case basis, we will execute a rush project. In those cases, we charge a premium at 1.5-times our hourly consulting rate ($125 per hour x 1.5 = $187.50 per hour; if it takes us three hours to make your ebook, plus another hour to make corrections after your review, that’s $750). A rush project is any project that jumps the queue ahead of previously scheduled work.

Chances are good that we’re not going to take on the job: they’re simply too disruptive to our schedule and it’s a delicate task to go back to an author who has been on our schedule for six weeks or more to tell them their ebook will be delayed because someone paid extra to jump the queue.

Some exceptions may exist, but if you need us to get something done within the next 4- to 6-weeks, plan on paying the rush rate and plan on us declining the request.

Deposits

For authors, agencies and publishers based in the United States: We require a non-refundable deposit equal to 50% of the quoted price to hold a spot on our schedule. Once we’ve both agreed to move forward and a delivery date for a first pass has been decided, we’ll issue an invoice to hold your date and consider the date booked once we’ve received payment.

If you cancel the project at any time, for any reason, we will assess a cancellation fee equal to the amount remaining on the invoice or $85 per hour for the number of hours worked on the project to date, whichever is less. We reserve the right to waive this deposit for authors with whom we have an existing relationship.

For authors, agencies and publishers based outside the United States: We require full payment of the quoted price to hold a spot on our schedule. Once we’ve both agreed to move forward and a delivery date for a first pass has been decided, we’ll issue an invoice to hold your date and consider the date booked once we’ve received payment.

If you cancel the project at any time, for any reason, we will assess a cancellation fee equal to the amount remaining on the invoice or $85 per hour for the number of hours worked on the project to date, whichever is less. We reserve the right to waive this deposit for authors with whom we have an existing relationship.

Corrections and Updates

Correcting errors caused by us and/or our process are done at no additional charge to you.

During the production process, author-initiated alterations—including but not limited to re-writes and revisions, correcting typos, and other fixes or updates that originate from the manuscript as submitted to us—are billed accordingly:

  • Five (5) or fewer: No charge
  • Six (6) or more: $25 per title plus $1.50 per alteration

Post-production, author-initiated alterations are billed accordingly: $25 per title plus $1.50 per alteration.

Adding, subtracting or re-arranging content—such as back and/or front matter pages, sample chapters, chapter re-writes, cover changes—is billed at our regular hourly rate plus $25 per title, regardless of whether a project is in production or in post-production.

In cases where an author has extensive alterations, it may be faster and less expensive to start the production process again using a new, corrected manuscript. Depending on the types of alterations, this tipping point can be as few as five pages.

If, during your review, you think you’re going to reach that tipping point, stop the review and contact your designer and project manager to discuss the best route forward.

Remember: the quality of your ebook begins with the quality of your manuscript. As such, we require you come to us with a FINAL clean, edited, polished manuscript. How you get it there is up to you. We suggest contacting one of the professional editors linked from our Resources page.

Tables, images and other formatting elements

If your manuscript has images, tables, number/bullet lists, a linked bibliography, index, or other formatting elements, we calculate those items accordingly:

  • Because of the inconsistent support and implementation of tables with ereaders, these require considerable effort to ensure a useful experience for people who buy your ebook. In some cases we can create tables nativley in XHTML. In most cases, however, the best solution is to convert tables to images or—in the case of text-heavy tables—recast them as block-style paragraphs. The price per table is $15, regardless of size and/or the amount of data within each.
  • The first 10 images and your cover are included in our standard pricing. After that, images are $30 per block of 20. For example, if you have between 11 and 30 images total, it’s $30 extra. Between 31 and 50 images, it’s $60 extra. And so on.
  • From time-to-time, it may be necessary for us to re-make poor-quality image assets, such as charts and graphs created using Microsoft Word’s drawing tools. We charge $10 per image in these cases.
  • Other formatting elements are $30 per block of 20. For example, if you have between 1 and 20 elements total, it’s $30 extra. Between 21 and 40 elements, it’s $60 extra. Between 41 and 60, it’s $90 extra. And so forth.

All pricing current as of 04/17/2017