Frequently Asked Questions

TRIMATRIX Management Consulting Inc. (referred to as TRIMATRIX) has provided this information for general knowledge purposes only, to provide an overview of some frequently asked questions and hopefully help authors in understanding some of the basics regarding Canadian self-publishing. It is our aim to provide relevant, accurate and up-to-date information; please consult our blog for latest information and updates, and contact us directly to discuss your specific project.

Categories ~ General / Process / Production / Marketing & Distribution / Help

 

GENERAL 

Q 1  Why self-publish?

A 1  People tend to self-publish because:

  • Traditional publishers are acquiring fewer and fewer new titles, e.g., not taking on new clients and/or taking on well-known authors or authors with proven book sales potential
  • Publication by traditional publishers is generally a very long and involved process, i.e., research agents/publishers accepting author’s specific type of work, then contact literary agents or publisher's acquisition editors in the hope that manuscript will be selected for publication (often 4-6 months to query and, if requested, 4-6 months for manuscript review; and if arrangement is struck, a year or so to produce the book)
  • Authors wish to retain creative control and profits themselves (traditional publishers may ask for copyrights; as they are investing, they generally want creative control; royalties for most authors generally range 5-25%, depending on book format)
  • Many famous authors started by self-publishing and currently many traditionally published authors also self-publish in conjunction and/or with other works

Q 2  What are the steps involved in publishing my own book?

A 2    Write, edit, design, proof, register publisher record and an ISBN for each book format (standard book number usually represented by bar code on back of book or number listed on copyright page), print, convert to other formats (if appropriate), list, market and distribute.

TRIMATRIX offers online tutorials to help explain the process and guide authors through the eight stages of professional book publication: https://bellearning.ca/publish-your-book-professionally/

Q 3  What is the hardest part of self-publishing?

A 3  In our experience, there are actually two parts that authors struggle with when they are self-publishing: the process and marketing. Particularly new authors, whom we often work with, comment: “I didn’t realize the importance of intellectual property.” “I never would have thought to ask that question.” “The deluge of ad hoc information out there is overwhelming – where do I even begin and how do I stay on track?” And then when the book is done (some authors have referred to it as birthing a baby), they are overwhelmed again about how to market their book (which, like a baby, requires attention to its specific needs, nurturing, and help growing slowly in an organized fashion towards the well-read book that it can become).

Q 4  What about writing, isn’t that a hard part?

A 4  Most often authors are already writing, journaling, blogging, taking courses, so they are already (and may have been for several years) working on this aspect. Although it has different challenges, some discussed in articles on our blog, this is usually before the self-publishing process. Having said that, once the editorial process of professional self-publishing begins, an editor is involved to help rework, polish and guide authors on this aspect. It is important that authors have an editor with solid experience. Which brings us back to the process – authors don’t always realize at what stages the various aspects of editing should be integrated and the value of investing in this part of the publishing process, along with other aspects such as design and production that make a big difference when completed professionally.

Q 5  What is the best approach for indie/self-publishers so they don’t get discouraged?

A 5  Don’t go it alone & be patient. Our authors find comfort in knowing we work with others and have for years and they have a guide to direct them through all the critical steps of the process for truly self-publishing [owning the business of publishing their quality books(s)] and a place – our AuthorHub team – to ask any questions that arise during and after the publication process, even years after the publication, they are reassured that the support team is there for them.

As for marketing – based on our experience, we know the author who is passionate about their subject/story is the best resource to market their book. When they follow an organized approach and work steadily on building – not just ad hoc – communication they can be very successful. Just have a look at other self-publishers, who have achieved success, they know it is a strategic and long-term commitment. Don’t give up! – slow and steady is how relevant audiences are built. (Even traditionally published authors are responsible for their own marketing but with far less return after the publisher’s cut.) Market Your Book tutorials provide more information on how to market with purpose!

Begin by setting a timeline – it helps make you accountable and keep things moving. March-May is a good time to start working on your book publication while things are usually quiet. It is also a good time to gather your publishing team, formulate your timeline, connect with your audience for feedback, getting your book underway so you are ready to get out there in the warmer weather to showcase your book and gear up for fall.

Interested? Contact Us

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PROCESS

Q 1  Do I acquire my own illustrator or would you provide one?

A 1  Our team includes talented illustrators that can work with authors to provide black line drawings and/or full colour small to full page illustrations.

Q 2  What are the fees associated with hiring an illustrator?

A 2  They generally charge by the illustration based on complexity. A quote is provided after discussion with the author.

Q 3  Do you provide an editor?

A 3  We do have experienced editors available to assist with structural, style and copy edits. They will review your manuscript and a quote will be provided for approval before any work proceeds. Expert editing and proofreading can help with the professionalism of your manuscript, and alleviate the need for corrections after publication.

TRIMATRIX offers online tutorials to help explain the process and guide authors through the eight stages of professional book publication, one of which talks about the stages and importance of editing and proofreading, which are not the same thing: https://bellearning.ca/publish-your-book-professionally/

Q 4  What costs are/are not included in the self-publishing estimate?

A 4  With our custom projects, we provide hands-on support based on what you need for your project. As each project may require different support, we provide a Pulbishing Services Agreement outlining all costs before proceeding.

  • Because of our efficient process, we have set some flat fees for such as publication and production management, proof revisions, etc. We also have a flat fee design option. Otherwise, for services that depend on the work effort required based on quality or complexity, such as editing and custom design; these are quoted once the editor has seen the manuscript and/or designer has discussed the details.
  • A print estimate, based on initial specs is also included; which is updated once actual/final book specs are confirmed (i.e., final book size, number of pages, etc.)
  • Distribution and marketing strategies are discussed separately. Many authors, for example if they are publishing a business book, choose to market through their website, workshops, speaking engagements, and such; while others choose such as website, online retailers, forums and/or in-store or community events.

Q 5  What are your payment terms?

A 5  Fees are invoiced at each stage and due before next stage begins.

  • Publication and project management fees are due at time of contract.
  • Edit fee is due either at end of edit service or as installments, depending on length of project.
  • Design and layout fee is due when pre-production proof is provided to author for review.
  • Production management is due when author approves production proof.
  • Depending on quantity ordered, book printing cost is due at time of order for shorter runs; or, for longer runs, 50% of print cost is due as deposit at time of order, with remaining 50% of print cost, along with overrun if applicable, shipping/handling and taxes when books are ready to ship.

Publishing Services Agreement provides detailed information. We accept payments by: Email Transfers (processed via your online banking), Visa and MasterCard credit cards, or PayPal.

Q 6  How long would it take from start to finish to have the books in my hand?

A 6  Since there are a number of factors affecting how a project progresses, timelines are planned amongst authors and their assigned project manager.

  • And to be honest it depends on: the quality of content, files we receive, if the author makes changes, how fast the author provides approval and/or production volumes at time of order (e.g., early fall, gearing up for holiday sales, is very busy; we remind authors to order ahead).
  • Based on our years of experience, we have developed an efficient management process and, if all is received in good order and after final edit has been completed with author providing prompt approvals and no changes, we generally aim for 1-3 weeks for layout, 1 week for pre-production proof approval by author, 1 week production proof approval by author; then 2-6 weeks for production + 1-2 weeks for delivery.

Q 7  What format do you require the material to be submitted?

A 7  Authors may be invited to upload their text and/or artwork via our website or Dropbox. However, in some cases we can accept a Word document or high resolution PDF file by email. It depends on the nature of your book, services required, and file size.

Q 8  What’s the difference between a reprint and a new edition?

A 8  If you are printing the book exactly as it was printed originally, with no changes what-so-ever, then it is a simple reprint. If there are other than very minor edits to the book or you have added, removed or revised content; then it basically represents a different book and is considered a 2nd edition requiring its own ISBN to differentiate it from the original book.

Q 9  How do I get my work copyrighted?

A 9  You can find information and forms on the Canadian Intellectual Property Office website: http://www.cipo.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/eng/Home

Q 10  Do you use barcodes on your covers?

A 10  Yes, we do create barcodes and, generally, put them on the back cover of the book. (The barcode reflects the ISBN registered under your Publisher Record.)

Interested? Contact Us

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PRODUCTION

Q 1  What is “on-demand” book printing?

A 1  A process where one book can be printed at a time when ordered. Often, at different locations, machines are used to handle the whole process with little human intervention. (Thus the work is sometimes inconsistent and can be of different quality and/or delayed because of high volumes.)

Q 2  What is e-publishing?

A 2  Publishing the book as an electronic file (not printing the book). 

Q 3  Are there restrictions on the number of pages I’m allowed?

A 3  No, books can be any length. However, some bindings have limits to number of pages they can hold. For example:

  • over a certain number of pages is generally too many for a saddle-stitch bind (industrial staple) because the staple will not be as secure
  • perfect bind that you see on regular paperbacks requires a certain number of pages to effect a proper book spine and ensure pages adhere properly.

TRIMATRIX offers online tutorials to help explain the process and guide authors through the eight stages of professional book publication, one of which talks about the specifications to look at for production, what helps make book production economical, and how a Production Team can help: https://bellearning.ca/publish-your-book-professionally/

Q 4  What is the difference between a cover, a jacket and a casewrap?

A 4  There are three basic types of covers:

  • soft cover  – a card stock cover like you would see on paperback books
  • hard cover – printed sheet over board like a children’s book with a picture cover
  • hard cover with dust jacket – some form of material (cloth, cloth-like paper, leather) is used over board which forms the hard cover that often has title/author in foil print on the spine; if a dust jacket is warranted, a paper cover with flaps is created, usually with a full colour picture, which wraps around the hard cover like such as a novel

Casewrap is the process for hard cover attachment – whether soft or hard cover, the cover and book are created as separate pieces; the book is then attached to the cover. For a hard cover book, two extra sheets called endsheets are also created separately and one is glued inside the front cover and attached to the first book page and the other to the back cover and back book page; providing a complete-looking book.

Q 5  Which is best format for a children’s book?

A 5  Research says print versus electronic is better, particularly for younger children.

Given research on how the stimuli of electronics can affect sleeping habits, together with many learners need for visual and tactile support, the calming effect of curling up with a colourful, printed book is still a treat!” ~ https://trimatrix4books.net/2016/12/trends-for-childrens-books/

  • Children’s books are created as both hard and soft cover and as saddle-stitch and perfect bound.
  • It comes down to the audience age-group, size of the book, production considerations, and market/budgetary evaluation.

TRIMATRIX offers online tutorials to help explain the specifics for children’s books and guide authors through the book process to help them create imaginative books that engage children readers: https://bellearning.ca/illustrated-childrens-books/

Q 6  What is the best format for any book?

A 6  It depends on your audience and book’s purpose. Have a look at articles that we’ve posted on out trimatrix4books.net blog, starting here: https://trimatrix4books.net/2019/03/which-book-format/  TRIMATRIX online tutorials explain the process and guide authors through the eight stages of professional book publication, one of which talks about readying your manuscript to be published in different formats: https://bellearning.ca/publish-your-book-professionally/

Q 7  Can I use a local printer?

A 7  TRIMATRIX, an Oakville company, is local to southern Ontario. In fact, many of our authors choose to pick up their short-run book orders and save on shipping costs (while also enjoying no currency exchange, duty or additional fees that may come with printing elsewhere).

  • You can be proud to include “published and printed in Canada” on your book’s copyright page.
  • And because we specialize in books and run thousands of books per year we can pass on cost savings to our authors in regard to standard paper and ink costs, as well as savings in terms of rework for print-ready file set-up for press (files we create are already geared for our presses).

Q 8  Is white considered a colour in printing?

A 8  No, white is actually “knock-out of colour” or absence of colour.

Q 9  Can I print my book in full colour, and what’s the difference in cost?

A 9  Absolutely!  Some books really must be done in colour to be effective.

  • However, black and white printing is generally more economical than four-colour printing (different paper stock, less ink, less set-up time).
  • Cost for shorter digital or longer offset book printing runs on our presses are well within industry (costs depend on the size of the book, number of pages and number of books being printed).
  • Plus, unlike some print-on-demand, we pass on the economies of larger book runs, i.e., the more books, the more cost-effective, as resource time for press set up is spread across all books.

TRIMATRIX offers online tutorials to help explain the process and guide authors through the eight stages of professional book publication, one of which talks about the specifications to look at for production, what helps make book production economical, and how a Production Team can help: https://bellearning.ca/publish-your-book-professionally/

Q 10  How many books should I print?

A 10  We supply a chart showing various quantities and associated cost per book to print based on actual/final specs, and don't ask you to decide until you see your Production Proof. You should consider a number of factors.

  • Print cost includes resource time for file set-up on press (e.g., cover trim, binding settings, pages 2-8 per sheet, trim, laminate, etc.) and this cost is spread across all books; so the more books printed the less cost per book.
  • The decision of how many to print should be based on such as:
    • Purpose of book, audience and author’s goals
    • Market for book, type of book, and the effort the author intends to put into marketing the book
    • Author’s budget balanced with most cost-effective run quantity, and considering the other items above

Q 11  What size options do I have?

A 11  We run traditional presses, so can print pretty much any size book.  It depends on what the author has in mind. We might recommend a suitable size range based on type of book and ways to make the book most cost-effective.

TRIMATRIX offers online tutorials to help explain the process and guide authors through the eight stages of professional book publication, one of which talks about the specifications to look at for production, what helps make book production economical, and how size might affect readership: https://bellearning.ca/publish-your-book-professionally/

Q 12  What quantities can you print?

A 12  We can run anywhere from 50 to thousands of books. Of course, as we run traditional presses and as mentioned above, the more you run the greater economies thus less cost per book. There is usually a break point in cost and/or that makes sense to authors; once we know actual/final specs, we provide a chart with various quantities so authors can see what works for them marketing- and budget-wise.

Q 13  Can you print on demand and ship for me if necessary?

A 13  We do not print on demand, i.e., one book at a time. We can do short runs 50+ books.

  • However, we can help you post your book on such as Amazon.ca and your website, as well as guide you to setup your Bowker account (worldwide order listing for stores and libraries), and also library service companies. [See also Marketing & Distribution section.]

Q 14  When my book sells out, what is the reprint cost?

A 14  This depends if you are reprinting your book exactly as was set up on press.

  • Provided there are no changes to the book, there is a small management fee to put print-ready files back on press and manage the production/delivery process; plus the cost to print books, which may be slightly less than initial cost per book (generally there is no further print-readying requirements so you may save the set-up costs) - you’ll see no difference with digital runs but there may be a difference with offset runs as there is more upfront set-up time to be saved.
  • With purchasing power of running more books over the years and/or at certain times of year, we are sometimes able to buy stocks for less; alternatively, if several years have passed, inflation may in fact increase costs as with any product.

Q 15  Is there a difference between Domestic Printing and Printing Overseas?

A 15  We are a Canadian Company and believe in supporting work for people here in Canada, which in turn supports the Canadian economy. We do not print overseas.

  • Some authors who have printed overseas have rerun their books with us for various reasons and/or have experienced such as shipping issues, delays, duties, taxes, etc. If you are exploring options, research carefully, ensure you read the fine print, and consult appropriate counsel.

Q 16  What is the difference between a vanity press and a subsidy press?

A 16  Vanity press and Subsidy press is sort of the same thing – they may:

  • generally offer set packages that might include “template” a-z assistance (not looking at the needs of each individual author and their book); sometimes package cost, which in extreme cases could be substantial, is payable upfront (before author has seen any work completed)
  • vanity press generally runs a set quantity, subsidy is often print on demand; in both cases they usually keep part of the profit from each book sold
  • sometimes the agreement requests an assignment of rights and/or the ISBN is booked under the press designation (there may be further costs to such as buy remaining books or buy back rights to take your title elsewhere).

Research carefully and be aware, some online offers that might seem too good to be true might be just that! We have seen and heard of authors’ experiences where in many cases the cost ends up being far greater than they expected and/or if they did it properly, with professional assistance the first time. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples and look at the entire process for book publication.

Interested? Contact Us

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MARKETING & DISTRIBUTION

Q 1  How do I ensure I make money on my book?

A 1  As with any product, there are no guarantees.

  • However, with products that make money, people have done their market research, created a product that differentiates itself and that their audience will want to buy, makes the product easily accessible, prices it competitively, and actively (consistently and constantly) markets the product by connecting with their audience on a regular basis.
  • At the outset, discuss your goals and plans with your publishing team, evaluate budget and set realistic expectations.

Q 2  How do you help promote my book?  How should I promote my book?

A 2  As part of the project planning and management, we talk with our authors about their marketing and distribution strategy and often offer ideas for their specific book. In some cases, we also offer a strategy session. The detialed 'marketing with purpose' process is covered in our Market Your Book tutorials: https://bellearning.ca/marketing-your-book/, which also offers lots of tools and templates to help you.

  • We celebrate our authors and their books through our social media by sharing information on event and happenings and news.
  • If you need promotional assistance, we have people that can help with such as setting up your author platform; fees for services are discussed and charged according to those approved by author.
  • We expect authors to be actively involved in getting to know and talking to their audience – authors are the best advocates for their books.
  • Successful authors plan and implement - actively, consistently and continually, work on promoting their book, by connecting with their audience and reaching out to new readers on a regular basis.

Selling a book is like any business; the owner/author believes in their product and decides how much effort they are willing to extend to make their product/book a success. Selling of any product takes time and effort to build a market/client list. If any solution offers you overnight success, it is likely not reflecting true results.

TRIMATRIX offers online tutorials to help explain the process and guide authors through the book marketing process to help them ‘market with purpose’ including proven techniques, tools, templates and support to answer questions: https://bellearning.ca/marketing-your-book/

Q 3  Do readers judge a book by its cover and the inside look and feel (bookstore flipping or online ‘look inside’) to see/decide which books they’ll buy?

A 3  Yes! Design is very important and it’s critical to see choices, and proofs at each stage, before final book production. AND, if you can, test on others. But other things are important too!! Most books (and other products) are purchased online. Think about how fast you click by a listing online – two seconds, is the cover interesting? Yes, then what does the blurb say? – another quick read. Interesting – how much does it cost?

Q 4  When is the best time to start developing a marketing plan?

A 4  While you are doing your research early on about your audience, which helps craft your story or book content, you are laying the ground work for who you will be communicating with later on. Some authors start communicating right away, building a list; even involving their audience in feedback or telling them about how the writing is evolving (often something that works well for fiction as readers become invested in your characters, story outcome, etc.). However the key period, when your book’s layout and production is being handled by professionals, is when you can really start to get into the actual book promotion.

The most important thing – it is imperative to market with purpose! Try out our Market Your Book tutorials to get detailed instruction, tools and templates.

Interested? Contact Us

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HELP

TRIMATRIX is a Canadian-owned and operated “publishing management and consulting” company:

  • We are publishing consultants offering professional services and guidance. Having worked in the self-publishing industry for almost two decades, we are knowledgeable about all aspects of self-publishing, and we have a team of professionals who can help with editing, design, production (printing, ebook conversions), marketing strategy and distribution set-up – each project is customized to individual author’s needs.
  • Charges are based on the actual resource time incurred to provide services; often flat fees can be offered, while others vary based on the services provided and all are discussed before project begins; fees are billed as services are provided and author sees project progress (not all at once); authors pay for production and then all the books are theirs, 100% of profit goes to the author.
  • We help authors set up as their own publishing entity (true indie/self-publishing) – the author becomes the publisher, authors retain all copyrights that they had at time of submission, they own their book, which includes their own ISBN
  • In regards to marketing and distribution, we offer help via administrative and/or with coaching support – authors are the best advocates for selling their books and, in truth, authors must be actively involved in selling their book no matter who publishes it
  • Depending on edit and design complexity, for custom, full-service projects where authors are coached through the entire process and aspects of work are being completed professionally, budget (note: separate from book printing cost) will be provided and discussed in advance. The Publishing Services Agreement always provides detailed information for specific projects.
  • TRIMATRIX custom hands-on services are here to help you - we are happy to discuss your project and budget considerations to make recommendations on how to bring feasible costs in line, while explaining what actions you might take and possible outcomes. 

Our goal at Trimatrix Management Consulting Inc. is to offer the team environment that traditional publishers offer, while fostering authors’ autonomy as an indie publisher, so that they can reap the full benefits of their efforts. Everyone wants to be part of a community and we’ve seen that self-publishing can be a lonely experience. Our teams (AuthorHub, PCG, Design, management, etc.) via in-person meetings, phone conversations and emails, do their best to be there for our authors: guiding them through the book publication process, answering questions, providing references and instructions, and offering support and inspiration. During, after and even years later from book publication authors enjoy communicating with us and we with them, as their indie publishing team. Our hope is that we’ve succeeded in offering the practical benefits of the big guys (traditional publishers) while making authors feel that they are part of a smaller, inclusive network, an extended team. A key factor in this is our authors, the amazing people like you that we have been privileged to guide, coach and support through the indie publishing journey – helping self-publishing authors professionally publish their books just as the big guys do. Authors that share with others, their experiences, questions, and more! Authors who have goals and want to be part of something, not just toss their book to the world.

Need help planning your journey? We know Canadian authors want to create, so when it comes to all the structure of organizing a book publication it is easy to procrastinate, or not know where/how to start. We’ve got you covered! Contact us to discuss hands-on, personal support for your custom project (we’ll guide you, and our professional team will do the publication work for you, based on services engaged by you).

TRIMATRIX also offers online tutorials that provide instruction:

If you are thinking about doing it yourself - check out our quick and easy BEL Learning Publications/bellearning.ca online workshops – to get detailed information, instruction, tools, templates and support from book experts to answer questions & help; keeping you on track and motivated!! Authors registered for tutorials also have the opportunity to apply tutorial fees towards some custom project services, plus they automatically become Affiliates who can earn commission credits that can also be applied toward future publishing services. The bellearning.ca site provides the details.

Image showing Publishing Your Book tutorial to grow your ideas into a professionally published book, with link to online tutorial page

Image showing Children's Books tutorial to grow your ideas into an illustrated children's book, with link to online tutorial page

Image showing Market Your Book tutorial to grow your ideas and market your book, with link to online tutorial page

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