It sounded too good to be true when I first heard about them, but when the first author’s copy of my first self-published book arrived through the letterbox, I knew I had made a good decision.
Now, if anyone asks me who to use if they want a bookshop-quality paperback book created for a minimum of fuss and expense, I always suggest FeedARead.
Here is what I like about FeedARead:
It’s free to publish your book. That means you can create a paperback book which can then be ordered from the FeedARead website. Whether you sell one copy to your mum or a million copies to your global fanbase it will not cost you a single penny. Even if you never sell a copy ever you won’t have lost out financially.
Now I can think of three circumstances where you may want to spend some cash.
First, unless you are selling to a very specific audience or are confident in your own marketing abilities you might be tempted to pay FeedARead the £88 (or $140 for US authors) to distribute your work to their network of outlets which include Amazon, the Book Depository and Barnes & Noble.
Second, if you ever need to amend anything once your book has been published, however minor that change is, you will need to create a second version of your book which will incur an admin fee of around £20-£30.
Third, you can order any number of author’s copies of your book for which you pay a reduced rate.
Another thing that I like about FeedARead is that they don’t suck you in with the free publishing offer and then try and hard sell you the extra distribution service.
Great quality paper. FeedARead do not scrimp on the paper weight and finish. The result is a classy, off-white finish which will not look out of place alongside any of your traditional bookstore-purchased books. I was particularly impressed at how good the black and white images we included looked (just make sure you aim for as close to 300dpi resolution as you can).
Decent royalty rates. FeedARead offer attractive royalty rates, particularly when ordering through their site (as this means there is no ‘bookseller discount’ to pay). As of June 2015, one sale of a book retailing at £7.99 (the minimum price allowed for a 200-page paperback) will net the author £3.27.
Ease of use and support. With a wealth of onsite information, handy templates and an intuitive publishing workflow, it is relatively simple to upload a book for publication. If you do have an issue, the support team are there to provide assistance. For example, the sheer number of high-res images in our book made our file to big for the system to handle. However, a quick email to support was all it took to find a convenient and effective workaround.
Of course no service is perfect, so in the interest of balance, here are two areas where I think there is some room for improvement:
No colour images inside. As things stand, the only colour you will see in your finished work is on the cover. Any coloured images included in your document will be converted into greyscale although, as said above, they do reproduce very well. I hope FeedARead will work on this area, even if they can just include the option for a number of colour plates on the inside (as in those old-fashioned paperbacks).
Cover template is quite basic. I may have been spoilt by using InDesign and Photoshop, but I found the limited options for designing a cover on the FeedARead site quite frustrating. Having said that, they are a publishing company and not a design suite so perhaps I am being a bit unfair. The best route is to get a professional graphic designer in, give them your brief and the FeedARead cover specifications and get them to send you (or to upload directly) the final result as a high quality JPEG image file. Just make sure they are on call for assistance; there is nothing worse than having to clumsily resize and crop a cover image because the lettering won’t quite fit within the guide lines.
And finally, one big thing to note is:
You are responsible for all content! FeedARead are not an editorial service and have no responsibility for the accuracy or presentation of your book. If your manuscript is littered with typos and grammatical faux pax then so will your book be! Likewise, if your text is poorly aligned, the point size is too big or you accidentally changed font halfway through, this will be replicated in print (although you can always pay the admin fee and create a new version if you can’t live with any errors).
Image copyright: ra2studio / 123RF Stock Photo