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Getting Started

I want to talk with a publishing expert. Can I speak with someone on the phone?

Absolutely. We’re happy to chat with you about our publishing process. To receive your 30-minute Free Consultation and to give us some background on your project, please fill out an Author Information Form. Within 5 business days of receiving it, one of our publishing experts will respond to set up a phone appointment. You can go over your specific questions and learn about the services that will help get your project from manuscript to book.

Do-it-yourself publishing has had a bad rep in the past. What has changed?

Just about everything. Like the music industry has embraced digital technology, so has the publishing industry. This means easier distribution, less overhead, and no more storage of books. Most traditional publishing houses watch the charts to see how self-published authors are selling. It’s much more feasible for a successful self-published author to be picked up, than it is for a publisher to look for a new J.K. Rowling from the piles of manuscripts on their desk.

What do the WCP Publishing Packages include? Will I have to come out-of-pocket down the road?

Our packages are set up to include all the basics of publishing a book. No one likes to feel as if they are being taken advantage of, so we have made sure that, unless you choose to upgrade or add a service, you can have a professionally published book within the parameters of the package you have purchased.

What services are included?

The short answer is typesetting and layout, registration, distribution, and all accounting and reporting. For a complete list of what’s included, please look through our Publishing Packages.

What services are not included?

Editing services are extra and are based on word count. Hardcover books, eBooks, and promotional products are a few of the ancillary services we offer. We are happy to give you quotes on any service.

Can I pay with a credit card?

We accept credit cards, checks, and bank debit. Whichever method is most convenient for you, works for us.

How to you manage the publishing process?

We use Basecamp, our 24/7 interactive project-management system that helps keep your project organized and on track. It is our “office in the sky” and every client has a drawer that they can access at any time. All messages, files, notes, and documents are stored here in a categorized manner. This is typically how we communicate with our authors and is available 24/7. Once you have become a WCP Author, you will receive an email with a link to join Basecamp. Follow the instructions and you’ll be good to go.

Can I add publishing services at any time?

The easy answer is yes! We can always add a publishing service at any time during the process. Please note that adding a service may push back your publishing date.

How many books are printed in the “first run?”

With print-on-demand, books are only printed when they are sold. There is no “first run” so the author doesn’t pay for or store any books. When your book is sold through any distribution channel (including Amazon) it is printed, packaged, and shipped to the buyer. Print-on-demand offers authors an affordable way to publish their works, and with the digital landscape they can update their material at any time.

I have a great idea, but I’m not a great writer. What can I do?

From consultations to editing, there are a number of services that you may find helpful in bringing your project to fruition. Fill out an Author Information Form and chat with one of our experts to discuss some options that will work best for you.

Accounting and Royalties

How much does it cost to print my book?

The cost to print your book varies depending on a number of factors, including type of binding, the book’s dimensions, the font style and size, color vs. black and white, the type of cover, and the distribution channels. For example, it is more expensive to print in color or print a book that is not an “industry-standard size.” Hardcover books are also more expensive to print and distribute. Keep these factors in mind when thinking about what you want your finished book to look like and when setting your retail price.

How do I set the retail price of my book?

A book’s retail price is based on a few variables:

1. The costs to print

Part of the printing cost is based on page count and page count is based on word count. An average novel has between 250-300 words per page but it can vary depending on font size and type. You can estimate how many pages you may have, but until your book is typeset, you can’t be sure (you also have to account for the front matter and back matter of a book that generally do not display page numbers). In addition to a cost per page, there is a cost per unit, and most printers (and distribution channels) have different costs associated with both.

2. The cost to distribute

This is the cost of doing business—you want your book to be available to the public, whether it’s a customer on Amazon or through a book store. Every distribution channel takes a percentage of your retail price, from 40-55%. This is standard operating procedure in the industry.

3. A service cost

This is the cost that Windy City Publishers charges to cover yearly registration fees to our distributors and manage your accounting. It is 10% of the retail price of your book.

4. The competition

As authors, we want to command the highest retail price for our books. However, the challenge is setting a reasonable price that your customers are willing to pay—especially for a first-time, unknown author. You might get some neighbors and family to spend $17.99 for your paperback, but frankly, even well-known authors with a following can’t ask that price.

How and when do I get paid?

WCP sends out a Monthly Book Sales Report. This report is emailed and includes the number of books sold, the month in which they were sold, the distribution channel from which they were sold, the amount owed, and the amount paid. We typically receive reporting numbers from the distribution channels 30-60 days after the end of the month.

WCP sends out Book Sales Payments quarterly, 30-60 days after the end of the quarter, with the exception of eBooks which are received 60-90 days after the month.

How much do I earn from the sale of my print book?

To calculate your net profit, take the retail price of the book, less the distribution fee, printing cost, and service cost. The remainder is the author’s net profit and 100% of that money is the author’s royalty.


Retail Book Cost



Distribution (40%)


Printing Cost (200 pages)


Service Cost (10%)


Profit (23%)


What is a reasonable net profit?

With hybrid publishing through WCP, you can expect margins from 15-30%. These are considered decent and acceptable returns as opposed to an industry average of 5% for traditional publishing.

How much do I earn from the sale of my eBook?

eBook payments are calculated a bit differently. There is no printing charge and the distribution fees can be lower, but some eBook distributors add a digital distribution fee that is another cost to the author. A digital distribution fee is a charge for delivering digital files, usually from .06 to .10 per book. But graphics and images take up more digital space, and books that have pictures, charts, and graphics are more expensive to deliver—sometimes this fee adds .25 to .50 per eBook.

Can I give part of my royalties to a nonprofit organization?

Absolutely! Not only is that a wonderful gesture, but hopefully readers will appreciate your generosity and buy your book in support of your cause. A quick accounting note on this—WCP can’t legally make those payments. It is the author’s responsibility to set up that aspect.

Children’s Books

What is the typical page count for a children’s book?

Typical children’s books run anywhere from 24-32 pages.

Why is it more expensive to print a children’s book?

It is more expensive to print a children’s book mainly because they are printed in color, which is about seven times more expensive to print than black and white.

Why are profit margins lower for children’s books?

Not only are children’s books more expensive to print, but the competitive market price is typically lower than a trade paperback. It’s very difficult to sell a children’s book much above $12.99, even if part of your marketing campaign is to give a percentage of your profits to a reputable organization. So, you have higher costs and a lower price. Consider this information when pricing your book.

How do I send you the illustrations?

All illustrations need to be uploaded to your project on Basecamp as 300 dpi images (jpeg or tif files) and labeled. Keep in mind, your illustrations need to be larger than your interior page size if they are to bleed or extend off the edges of the pages.

Cover and Interior Files

Why does my book need to be typeset?

Publishing your book with a Word document is like going to war with sticks and stones. To have a book that looks professional, it is essential that it is typeset in actual design software.

Can I submit a pdf of my interior text files?

We do not accept a pdf of your manuscript. It needs to be sent as a Word document in order for adjustments to be made in typeset.

Can I submit a pdf of my cover?

No, all cover images need to be uploaded to your project on Basecamp as 300 dpi images (jpeg or tif files) and labeled. Keep in mind, your cover image needs to be larger than your book trim size if it is to bleed or extend off the edges of the cover.

What is 300 dpi?

Dpi stands for dots per inch and is the number of dots than can be placed in a line in the space of one inch. Images with a higher dpi produce a clearer and more detailed picture, and 300 dpi is standard for most imaging requirements.

I want to include a CD with my book. Can I do that?

CDs, giveaway items, unusual trim sizes, or any other non-industry style books are best served by a distributor or publisher that specializes in novelty books.

Can I do a hardcover book?

Yes. Hardcover books are an additional service.


Do I have to use a distributor?

No, you don’t, but you can’t sell your book in the marketplace without one. If you want to print your book for yourself or family, you don’t need a distributor, but if you want your book to be available on Amazon or at bookstores and libraries, the distribution cost is unavoidable and should be considered a cost of doing business. This percentage (40-55%) is non-negotiable and it is straight from the distributors.

How long after I am published will I see my book on Amazon? Barnes&

Amazon quotes 2-5 days after publication. Expanded distribution, which includes Barnes&, quotes 2-6 weeks after publication depending on distributor.

What about Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature?

All authors that publish with WCP receive the “Look Inside” feature from Amazon. This feature allows potential readers to get a glimpse of the inside of your book. The pages used for the “Look Inside” feature are selected by Amazon, and are out of our control. Amazon quotes 2-4 weeks for this feature to be up and running once your book has been published and is up for sale.

Can I order my books from WCP and not through Amazon?

Yes, authors can easily purchase their own books at cost from WCP. Your wholesale price will be listed on Basecamp with a link to our “Order More Books” form. Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery, although expedited delivery service is available at a cost.


Do I need an eBook?

Our recommendation is yes. eBook sales account for 36% of all books sold. Sales from last year have increased dramatically and show no sign of slowing down. You may not want to miss this opportunity to market and sell your book.

Why are some books more expensive to convert than others?

This is the flip side of an eBook. Trade paperbacks with straight text are easy to convert. But books with images, charts, and graphics are sometimes more complicated. The process for converting a book that requires words to connect with images (children’s or educational books) is more costly. We would be happy to give you a quote on your particular project.

What is a digital delivery charge?

This is the small print that Amazon has in its contract with authors and publishers. Because digital files take up more digital space, Amazon (Kindle) charges for the “delivery” of these books. A typical trade paperback has a delivery fee of 6-10 cents per book, but a book with graphics can cost as much as 50 cents. This is in addition to the 30% cost of the retail price of the eBook.


Why is editing important?

Because of the advances in do-it-yourself and digital publishing, many first-time authors have been able to put their books into print. What does this have to do with editing? Well, now your competition is that much greater. A well-edited book not only exhibits your professionalism, but it allows your work to rise to the top. Editing is a key factor in showcasing your book and should be taken very seriously. Don’t get stuck in the pools of authors who think editing does not matter—it does.

My neighbor is a teacher and has offered to edit my book. Why do I need another editor?

With all due respect to your neighbor, a professional editor edits books for a living. Editing is an art and a science, and the expertise needed comes from years of experience. This is not the place to trim the fat—editing is much more than checking punctuation and grammar.

Are there different types of edits?

Yes, there are various types of edits. Professional editors specialize in specific types of edits, genres, and styles. In addition, there are different costs associated with the edits, depending on the complexity of the work. Make sure your editor is exactly what you need and has the experience required.


Can you help me market my book?

We would be happy to help you—we offer a number of different marketing options. Please fill out our Author Information Form and speak with your consultant. Also remember, although we can help you along the way, marketing a book is an author’s responsibility.

Why do I need a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is your roadmap to selling your book. Writing a book and getting it published are tough enough, but marketing and selling are the most challenging. It takes resources, both time and money, but even more, it takes the author’s determination to see it through.

Is social media marketing important?

Without it, you are facing an uphill battle. Marketing a book is difficult enough and the many traditional promotional opportunities don’t exist anymore; so your best bet is to include social media. You may be new to the game, but with some training, you can be an expert in no time at all. Social media is inexpensive, reaches huge markets, and can be an author’s best tool.

Project Management

What is your state-of-the-art project management system?

Basecamp, our web-based management tool, helps keep your project organized and on track. All messages, files, notes, and documents are stored here in a categorized manner. WCP authors have their own project and have access to it 24/7, along with the WCP team members that are involved.

Who owns the copyright?

The author always owns the copyright. There are unusual exceptions, but those instances typically have to do with ghostwriting and assigning the copyrights.

Why does another book on Amazon have the same title as mine?

Book titles are never copyrighted, only the content is. That’s why there are movies, books, and songs with the same title. If someone had the same title and had infringed upon your content, that would be a different story and they may have infringed on your copyrighted material.


How long does it take to publish a book?

Every book is different, but it can typically take 8-12 weeks. Adding services (i.e., editing, pursuing book reviews, or commissioning an index) along the way, will push back a publishing date due to the time it takes for those services to be completed.

What’s wrong with waiting for a traditional publisher to pick me up?

Nothing. There is an infinitesimally small chance that a first-time, unknown author will get signed, but someone has to win the lottery! Why not make publishing a 100% guarantee and get your book out there? Who knows, if it does well, some publisher will come looking for a piece of the action. But by then, you’ll be in the driver’s seat.

Why is traditional publishing having problems?

A host of issues—the digital age has hit traditional publishers hard. The overhead costs and relatively small returns have either put traditional houses out of business or severely limited their scope. As one expert put it, “they’re burning the furniture.”

What if Random House sees my book and wants to publish it? Can I switch publishers?

Not a problem. We only require a thirty-day notice.

Do I own my own files?

Yes, you own all of your files, both Cover and Interior.

Why should I choose Windy City Publishers?

Because we are passionate about what we do and we have a vested interest in making your book the best it can be! We understand the author’s journey and believe in treating all of our authors with the respect and integrity they deserve. Call us today and find out why Windy City Publishers may be the right publisher for you.