Sunday 5 November 2017

Interview with Donna Gibbs

Can you tell readers about your latest book? Is it your first?                                          

My eighth self-published book, When the Cat’s Away, illustrated by Lionel King, is a picture book for young children. It is about Gussie and Pierre, twin mice, who have moved with their family into their new home in Paris beneath the Café des Chats. They are soon caught up in heart-stopping adventures that put their loyalty, quick thinking and courage to the test.
Why did you choose to self-publish?

While I regularly publish educational books with traditional publishers, I haven’t managed to have my children’s books accepted in that way. I have come very close – right up to the last marketing meeting a few times. But it is all very painful! Naturally enough they want full control and while I accept their ideas may be better than mine, they have often persuaded me to let go the things I most cared about. Self-publishing is also full of pitfalls but you do end up with a book you have created.

If you used a publishing service, what services did the company offer?

I used Reedsy, an online firm who have professionals who quote for the work you need done in editing, book and cover design and marketing. They offer plenty of expert, useful advice and a range of online courses, many for free. They employ professionals from around the globe. You pitch your needs to persons of your choice and it is up to them to quote for the work you want done. I chose an Australian professional to do the layout, design and cover for the book. She charged Cover HB $400, Internals $500, Press files $100 and archived final files $50 – a total of $950. It was quite daunting making a choice as there were so many great people available and charges varied enormously.

MoshPit Publishing did the printing for us. For around $1400 they provided a printed proof copy, publishing via Amazon and Ingram to their distributors for global print-on-demand sales (inc. Barnes & Noble, Booktopia, and more), publishing of ebook via Amazon and Smashwords to their distributors for global sales (inc. Kindle, Apple iBookstore, Kobo etc), 10 copies of the final published book and Legal Deposit copies ordered and posted to the relevant locations (universities, libraries). Jennifer and Ally Mosher were quick, efficient, responsive and knowledgeable. They make a very special team and I would certainly choose to work with them again.

How long did it take from submission of your manuscript to receipt of advance copies? 

It took around six weeks from submission to MoshPit until we received advance copies. There were some unavoidable delays not caused by Moshpit so it could easily have been quicker.

Why did you choose MoshPit?

I had read favourable things in a Foot in the Door article about MoshPit Publishing, an Australian company located in the Blue Mountains. I contacted them along with several other companies but found MoshPit gave the most useful answers. I liked their friendly tone and lack of a hard sell.

How many copies did you get printed? And what was the unit cost? 

Initially I had 150 copies (including ten free) printed at the cost of $7.00 each. I have just ordered another 100 with the cost going to $7.25.

Are you happy about the quality of paper, design and printing?

The quality of paper, design and printing is excellent. I did wonder if I should have made the book larger (it is 20 x 20) but now that I am used to it, it feels exactly right
How will you distribute copies?

Copies are available as a print book through contacting me on my website ( or from places referred to above such as Book Depository in the U.K ( ) (free postage) for $15.97; Amazon for $11.95 U.S plus postage; The MoshShop for $24.95 (free postage in Australia).

It is available as an ebook from Amazon and Smashwords for around $3.00.

Anything else you’d like to say about your experience?

The whole experience of creating the book was a delight. My illustrator was such a pleasure to work with and the finished product exceeded my expectations. We know children are enjoying the book as we’ve had many messages telling us so from parent and teachers. Self-publishing in my experience is not likely to be financially rewarding, but for satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment it can be very rewarding.

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