The story of one book


This is a story about a book that I wrote. The story of an attempt to create a high-quality printed product, to play "business" and see what happens. This post does not pretend to be a guide, but I still hope that it is useful to someone. After all, this is a completely sincere story about all my wanderings on the way to the reader.

The protagonist of the story is the book “European Football Championship 2012 in Infographics”. Hardcover, 160 pages, full color printing. Today I will try to talk about how it appeared, how much its production cost, and what I encountered when trying to sell it.


I am a designer. For four years I worked in a major daily newspaper, creating strip designs and infographics. He was the deputy head of the department, then he served as art director for a year. You could say that I did a good job of doing my job. But nothing happens forever, so in 2011 I left the company. Engaged in freelance, read diverse books, studied, relaxed. And at some point, I unbearably wanted to do something new. To experience the challenge. Set a task and implement it.

It was February 2012, ahead of me was the home European Football Championship. And it dawned on me - why not write a book? It's a challenge. This is a lot of effort. This is an opportunity to create. And most importantly - I love football.

But I needed an idea. I have a large selection of sports literature at home, and I understood well what I did not want — another ordinary book. And why should I compete with authors who write texts all their lives? Therefore, I decided to improve the concept - not just a book, but a beautiful book. A book in which I can use all my skills. Submit information is interesting and modern. How? Using infographics.

Of course, this also affected the format. The book must be color, on good paper and definitely high quality. For otherwise, there is no point in translating the paper.


Immediately after the idea came the name for the future book. I love simplicity, and therefore did not come up with anything more simple and understandable than the “European Football Championship 2012 in infographics”. A title that should immediately answer two questions: “what is the book about?” And “how is it different?” More precisely, I wanted to name the book even easier - Euro 2012 in infographics, but the name Euro 2012 is a trademark that UEFA defends very zealously. To avoid possible claims, I had to abandon this idea.


For several weeks I was planning. There was a text file on my tablet in which the content was constantly being worked on. I thought about the topics and the way of presentation. I wrote down individual ideas, rewrote them and swapped them. I calculated the approximate volume of the book in order to understand the timing and load.

Together with the elaboration of the content, I actively monitored the Internet. He collected sources, immediately checked the possibility of implementing certain ideas. I read newspapers and news sites. I re-read the history of all European championships. He did everything to surround himself with the maximum amount of useful and necessary information, because I had to write and create a design at the same time. It would be difficult to be distracted by searches.

Process of creation

The actual production of the book took 4 months - from April to July 2012. In the first months, I dealt with general topics and issues. For example, the history of official balls, commemorative coins, tournament symbols. Prepared "templates" and blanks for subsequent work. Numerous elements were drawn. The overall style of the future book was sought and corrected.

Well, then the measured schedule was replaced by an eventful June. Each day during the group stage, two matches took place, and therefore, U-turns were prepared quickly and texts were written. I watched every match - went to the stadium, to the fan zone or watched on TV. I recorded all the interesting points and collected statistics. The main assistants during this period were the sites of UEFA and bookmakers.

Every day in the Excel document I noted finished pages and monitored the overall progress. He lagged behind the plan a couple of times, but each time he caught up with it, sacrificing those days off that he had left for himself in advance.

After the tournament ended, it took me almost a month to prepare the remaining blocks. Collect and process statistics, make additions and corrections. As a result, by the end of July I had an internal block of 160 pages ready.

At the very last moment, a cover was created.
Beating the idea with the name, I decided to make it as simple and understandable as possible. White background, nothing more. And instead of “beautiful things”, the useful cover area is occupied by the timeline with the history of the European Championship.


In the process of creating the book, I made an important decision. Since I am not only writing a book, but also making layout and design myself, since I myself am ready to bear all the costs of publishing it ... why do I need a publisher?

Even at the stage of the first planning of the book, I turned to several Kiev publishers. He told me that I undertake all pre-press training, that I am ready to pay for the press and that I am only interested in formal publishing services and distribution. The results were as follows:

1. Email is not an effective tool
Perhaps this is obvious to many, but publishers (like many other businesses) do not know how to use e-mail. Despite the availability of sites, feedback forms and other channels, the response to a direct commercial offer was very low. The letters went into the void and yielded no result. The phone is still the best way to convey or receive information.

2. Publisher prices are not adequate enough
Some publishers have responded to the offer. But in a situation where they do not have the opportunity to make money on prepress work (typesetting, proofreading, etc.), there remains a huge desire to make money on mediation. As a result, prices for printing were significantly higher. As if I’m not doing everything, but they are doing everything to me.

This option did not suit me, so I decided to go all the way myself. Fortunately, not much is needed for this.

For a book to have the right to be born, it needs an ISBN, an international book number giving the right to sell a book. These issues are organized by publishers, who use them in their books. Often, however, printing houses also have the right to engage in publishing. Therefore, if you order a print run from them, you can agree on the provision of a number. Formally, the publisher will be the printing house, and you will be the buyer of the print run. It suited me, and I received the coveted ISBN.


In July, I turned to several printing houses. I needed full-color printing, thick matte paper and good quality - for what else should be the first book? The result of monthly efforts. Only quality. This is part of the concept.

Based on the results of the study, I chose a printing house in another city. I liked the quality of their products, and the circulation was brought for free. In Kiev it was either more expensive or worse.

Not wanting to get into big debts, I settled on a circulation of 1000 pieces. A smaller print run is not serious at all. More is an unjustified risk. Although I love my book and am pleased with the result of the work done, I did not want to take too much risk.

In early August, I entered into an agreement with the printing house and sent the file to print.

Gift coin

At the stage of finishing work on the book, a friend suggested the idea to me - why not give some souvenir together with the book? The memory of the European Championship. And we quickly found this option - a commemorative coin with a face value of 1 hryvnia with the Euro 2012 logo. Despite the rather large circulation, these coins are still in short supply in the public domain. This is a great symbolic gift, practically not affecting the cost of the book.

I found people selling these coins on the Internet and bought 1000 pieces. All of them were packed in rolls of 50 coins, with a stamp of the National Bank. 1000 coins cost me 1800 UAH. A good overpayment, but this price seemed to me an adequate price for the opportunity to please the reader with an additional souvenir.

First disappointment and first joy

I decided to put it in a separate paragraph, because it is an integral part of any undertaking. Initially, the book was to be printed on the twentieth of August. I had high hopes for this date, because September is the end of vacations, a return to active work and fresh memories of the summer. Rest, holiday, Euro 2012.

But the book was delayed for a month ...

The elections to the Verkhovna Rada, in my deep conviction, became the main reason for this. Needless to say, the printing of campaign materials has a much higher priority than some book with a small circulation? Unfortunately, I could not cope with this. I did not have a fallback. I have already made a substantial advance and could only expect a circulation. First, two weeks later, then 4 ...

But besides disappointment, there was joy. After all, in the end, I was holding in my hands the result of several months of work. I have achieved the primary goal. Created a product. All difficulties were behind, and ahead - hopes and success! So I thought.

Sales concept

Not having the desire to spend a lot of time organizing sales (I again got a job and a lot of work), I decided to limit the distribution to one channel, concentrating all my small resources on it.

Only one online store.
But the best available. Maximum coverage, minimum time spent on logistics, precise control of sales and promotion efficiency.

I found such an online store. It is quite untwisted, upon delivery, all books are neatly packed and, most importantly, they agreed to ensure that a gift coin is included in the set, and this was part of the idea. Therefore, I opted for them.


For at least someone to buy a book, at least someone needs to know about it. It is obvious. And based on the choice of one single channel (online store), I decided to limit myself to the Internet and in promotion. It seemed logical to me. And simple.

Promo site
The first step towards the masses for me was the site. For what kind of product is it if it does not have its own website? And I decided to do it myself, too. Since I was able to create a whole book, then another challenge will not be superfluous.

Previously, I had the experience of creating only one site - my own. The page of the book was the second "successful" attempt. She has a permanent address, she describes the product, she works, she gives the visitor the opportunity to purchase my book. Wonderful. It is a pity that very few visitors get on it, but I did not want to advertise it on the Internet. Therefore, the site is simply there and good.

By the way, I didn’t have to think with an address either. As in the case of the book, it is hardly possible to come up with something simpler and more obvious - The purchase of a domain and hosting cost me 230 UAH.

Facebook Book Page + Competition
After I finished the site, agreed with the online store and got the whole circulation in my hands, I launched the book’s page on Facebook. I decided for myself that a social network is the best way to talk about a book, because I have friends, and they have friends, acquaintances and so on. The main incentive.

And I decided to organize a contest. At that time I still had scarce financial opportunities, so I could not afford something expensive. The prize should be symbolic, I thought. And he bought three gift sets of commemorative coins of Euro 2012 in beautiful boxes - 5 coins from nickel silver - 350 UAH per set.

I looked at other contests. Draws of tablets and smartphones gathered 5-10 thousand participants, and I was hoping that at least 500 people could be interested in coins. I understood that coins, even beautiful ones, are far from a fashionable smartphone or laptop, but can a gift be measured only by its value?

In the early days, there was a good stir, and the number of participants quickly grew to 40 people. I was happy all day, expecting that things would go much better further, almost exponentially. But everything happened exactly the opposite. After several days, activity slipped to zero. Not a single new like, not a single new member. Contrary to expectations, my friends list of 100+ people could not provide a proper breakthrough. Moreover, many friends and acquaintances themselves ignored both the contest and the page of the book. I didn’t want to beg anyone, therefore I reconciled

I started to spam. He shared the link in groups dedicated to football and books. But this only brought a few new members. He wrote letters to the administrations of closed groups, asked for support - no reaction. After a week of unsuccessful attempts, I realized that the coveted 500 participants will remain only a desire.

By the time of the draw, which took place a month after the launch, I had only 84 participants.

But, despite the poor result, I added 5 books to the coins and thus played 8 prizes. And one book left Kiev for Kazakhstan, which cost me 90 UAH. for shipment.

If you believe the data from Facebook, during the contest I was able to reach an audience of 16 thousand people (all friends of friends who could see the likes of the page and the contest). Unfortunately, this audience is very conditional and did not bring me sales.

In the first two weeks I sold 14 books. Almost all of them were bought by friends and former colleagues. After that, only 3 books were sold in two weeks. And then another one.

And two more competitions.
Realizing my modest successes, I resorted to another attempt. Good friends offered to give some books to the popular football portal, which had well-developed groups on social networks. As a result, my book was the main prize in two quizzes - on Facebook and VKontakte.

The audience of the portal on VKontakte is 79 thousand people.
The audience of the portal on Facebook is 8 thousand.

These draws in a few days scored 1000 participants for two. Despite the huge audience, they turned out to be slightly more than 300. Facebook also gave 674 participants and 150+ publications. The quizzes lasted less than a week, and after they ended I was waiting with interest for a report from the store.

During these two weeks, 15 books were sold. 80 thousand people within a week could watch my book, almost 1000 people did not abandon the idea of ​​getting it for free, and only 15 of them decided to purchase - 1.5%.

At the moment, my book has received two positive reviews. At least I only know about them, but it would be great if there were more.

A blog was published on the Dynamo Kiev Shurik football website, which examined football books about Euro 2012, among which was the European Football Championship 2012 in infographics. The blog was awarded the mark "editorial choice", and the book is described from the best side.

Also, a review was published in the newspaper Segodnya, the total circulation of which exceeds 100,000 copies. The review was small. But the author spoke very positively about the book. On the strip was indicated the site of the store and the cost of the book.

The fact that these reviews, judging by the dates of the publications and the store’s reports, didn’t affect the sales at all, looks even sadder ... After them, only a few books were sold, which can hardly be considered the result of positive reviews.

All sorts of little things
For several weeks since the launch of sales on the website of the online store, a banner advertising my book was spinning. It’s hard for me to evaluate its effectiveness, because I have no data on the number of views of the book.

I published several spreads of the book in the infographic group. This group consists of 25,000 people, and I was hoping that the publication could arouse due interest, because very few books with infographics are published. Together with the works, I indicated the title of the book, but the publication also did not affect sales in any way.

Thus, all attempts made were ineffective.


Now it is time to take stock and tell how much it all cost me. Of course, I am not the most successful example, because I did almost everything myself. But I am convinced that any experience, not even the most successful, can be useful.

So, in order to conclude a contract and be able to sell books, I registered SPD. It cost me 1200 UAH. for the entire set of documents and printing.

At the moment I am on a single tax, the 3rd group is 5% of the income. Plus, every month I have to pay a single social contribution to the pension fund - about 400 UAH. Thus, the right to sell a book costs me 4,800 UAH / year. + banking services (600 UAH per year for service + 1% when withdrawing funds).

The cost of printing was 30,000 UAH. In the case of the publishing house, the cost of the work of all involved persons - the author, layout designer, designer, editor and proofreader, would be added to it. In my case, it was two people - me and the corrector. The corrector helped me for free. For obvious reasons, I don’t take into account myself.

To summarize, I came to the following numbers:

Primary costs:
Prepress is free.
Book printing (1000 pieces) - 30000 UAH.
1000 commemorative coins - 1800 UAH.
3 sets of coins for the competition - 1050 UAH.
Registration of SPD - 1200 UAH.
Opening a bank account - 100 UAH.
The domain name of the site is 95 UAH.
Hosting for the site - 135 UAH.

Additional expenses:
For the first year I need to pay 4800 UAH. to the pension fund and 600 UAH. for bank services. Plus about 200 UAH. for any associated costs (in fact, it turned out to be the cost of sending the book to Kazakhstan and packing coins in gift paper). I did not consider the cost of delivering books to the store.

That is, for the first year since the creation of the book I will spend:

34380 + 5600 = 39980 UAH.

So the formal cost of one book (if you do not take into account 4 months of work) was 40 UAH.


So, based on the estimated cost of the book, I decided that the book should pay for itself in half the print run. This gave me a chance to both recapture costs and earn money. After all, after reaching your main goal - creating a good product, why not try to get a reward for this?

Thus, I received a simple formula:

(40 x 2) + 5% tax + 1% bank commission = 85 UAH.

This is the amount that I should receive from one book from implementers. After browsing the stores and studying other books on the subject, I was convinced that my price was more than adequate. Even taking into account extra charges.

Weekly Sales Statistics

And now the result of all my work ...

1 week - 3 pcs.
2 weeks - 11 pcs.
3 weeks - 2 pcs.
4 weeks - 1 pc.
5 week - 1 pc.
6 week - 12 pcs.
7 week - 3 pcs.

Total 33 books for almost 2 months of sales.

Some more thoughts and hopes

The other day, my book became a winner in the nomination "Best Project of the Year" of the Association of Sports Journalists of Ukraine. On the one hand, I am truly proud that she was appreciated. But at the same time, I understand that in many matters I was too naive and presumptuous.

I think that the concept with one single channel for selling on the Internet and promoting it on your own has not paid off.

Now I'm trying to agree on the sale of books in full-fledged bookstores. True, I was already answered in one of them that they work only with large distributors. But I will try further. After all, I still have no choice.

It was necessary to reach literary critics and bloggers, agree on reviews. Tightly address this issue and maximize coverage. Organize a presentation, invite journalists. Do everything to talk about the book. But I could not imagine it. And didn’t. I didn’t try, being sure that the selected actions should be enough. However, two really positive reviews did not bring sales, so if I had got them here it’s not clear.

And I'm waiting for the New Year. If everything works out, my book will fall into the article on gifts on the women's website with an audience of 28,000 people. I want to believe that the ladies still know that the book is the best gift. And that someone will give it to his man. Although, as practice has shown, not everything works as well as the imagination draws.

One last thing

Despite weak sales and losses, I do not regret at all that I tried. Let me be a mediocre entrepreneur, but I still became a writer. I created a book. This story is dedicated to her.

Added a few more spreads from the book.

Also popular now: