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Book

How to Publish a Dog Book on Amazon (and elsewhere)

Front cover of The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle, Stories and Tips from Thirteen Years with a Leonberger.
Front cover of The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle, Stories and Tips from Thirteen Years with a Leonberger.

Yesterday I received the first proof version of the book I’ve been working on. It will be released on Bronco’s birthday July 3rd (he would have been 15 years old). There are still some fixes that needs to be done including that the two endorsements I got both need to go in the back. However, it is getting close to being done. Therefore, I am writing a brief post on how this came about.

Page example from The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle, Stories and Tips from Thirteen Years with a Leonberger.
Page example from The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle, Stories and Tips from Thirteen Years with a Leonberger.

I just started writing about our beloved Bronco and his crazy and amazing adventures and I added lots of color photographs. Little did I know that creating a real book is very different from writing a long essay and then printing it at Kinkos. For starters, printing a book in color is very expensive and unlike Kinkos you cannot print some pages in color and some in black and white. Amazon has three choices; the entire book in black and white, the entire book in standard color, and the entire book in premium color. That’s it! The cost per page for 206 pages 6X9 inch book is 1.2 cents for black and white, 3.6 cents for standard color, and 7 cents for premium color. Then there is an 85 cent costs for every book. Printing a 206 pages book in black and white is $3.322, standard color $8.266, premium color $15.27.

Black and white: X = 0.85 + 0.012 * 206 = 3.322

Standard color: X = 0.85 + 0.036 * 206 = 8.266

Premium color: X = 0.85 + 0.036 * 206 = 15.27

In addition, Amazon wants 40% of the price of the book and they leave the rest for you as royalty to the author. In my case I am donating all of that to the Leonberger Health Foundation International. So, if the price of the book is $10.95 the royalty to the author is

Black and white: Y = 0.6*10.95 – 3.32= 3.25

Standard color: Y = 0.6*10.95 – 8.266= -1.70

Premium color: Y = 0.6*10.95 – 15.27= -8.7

So that did not work out unless you choose black and white. Let’s say the price of the book is $19.95

Black and white: Y = 0.6*19.95 – 3.32= 11.97

Standard color: Y = 0.6*19.95 – 8.266= 7.02

Premium color: Y = 0.6*19.95 – 15.27= -3.3

This time standard color leaves some for the Leonberger Health Foundation International but premium color still does not work out. There is no printing cost associated with the kindle e-book so in that case you can choose whatever price you like, and Amazon gets 40% and author royalty is 60%. It is not possible to have a negative royalty with the e-book. I should also mention that if you work with a real publisher as opposed to self-publishing or working with a publisher you pay for, they will take care of all of this for you. However, the vast majority of author’s today, especially unknown authors, self-publish.

For additional information check out this page (https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201834340)

This is information I did not know before I wrote the book that would have been really helpful when planning the book.

Front and back cover of book. The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle. Stories and Tips from Thirteen Years with a Leonberger.
Front and back cover

Printing cost and royalty calculations are not the only things you need to worry about. You also need to consider the size of the book, how the cover should look like, the type of paper you want to use, and you may want to get endorsements. Unless your English is perfect you probably need an editor. If you are first time author you most likely need help with book design, buying an ISBN number, creating the bar code, creating an author page and book page on Amazon, etc. Book design is when you take your word document, preferably written in Times New Roman 12, and turn into a pdf file where paragraphs and photos are laid out to fit together nicely on a rectangle corresponding to the book size you picked (6X9 in my case). Then you need to upload your files to Amazon and other bookstores. I wrote my book and then I considered all of this. If you are writing a book for the first time you may want to plan for all of this before you write your book. This blog post was focused on the price. I will post more about the concerns another time.

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Bronco's Adventures

Our Leonberger Bronco

The following story is an excerpt from an upcoming book about Leonbergers and especially our Leonberger Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle and his many crazy adventures.

The photos below is of our Leonberger Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle. In the left photo he is three months old and in the right photo he is soon to be 13 years old. Due to a misunderstanding his name on the original pedigree certificate from the Leonberger Club of America was even more interesting: “Lets do le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle”—yes, without the apostrophe.

The Leonberger is a noble and relatively rare breed, and purebred Leonbergers typically have a long pedigree that can be traced back to the beginning of the twentieth century. This means that if you buy one, you and your dog will become part of a special community, and your dog’s name will reflect that. Bronco’s last name, von der Löwenhöhle, means that he originated from Kennel von der Löwenhöhle.

During an email exchange with the person writing up Bronco’s pedigree certificate, we were informed that because our dog was born in a litter identified by the letter L, his official name needed to begin with an L, too, even though at home we could call our dog whatever we liked. We knew we wanted to name him Bronco, which we thought was appropriate for a Leonberger, so later Claudia wrote, “Let’s do Le Bronco,” intending that the dog’s name would begin with the word “Le,” fulfilling the kennel’s requirement.

But when we received a copy of Bronco’s pedigree, we saw that our correspondent had misunderstood and included the words “Let’s do” as part of the name! Well, “Let’s do” starts with an L, too, so it fulfilled the pedigree requirement. And that’s how Bronco’s official full name came to be Lets do le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle. I should mention that we later got this corrected.

We got our Leonberger, whom we just called Bronco, from a breeder in Canada by the name Julie Schaffert. She is a responsible breeder and is recommended/endorsed by the Leonberger Club of America. She was among the first Leonberger breeders in North America. She got started in the 1990’s. I should add that it is important that you get your Leonberger from a responsible breeder for the sake of the breed and your dog’s health. The Leonberger Club of America maintains a list on their website where you can find LCA recommended breeders.

During his lifetime Bronco did a lot courageous and amazing things. He saved our Pug’s life, he sniffed out an oncoming insulin shock in our Labrador before it happened, he found our runaway hamsters, he chased off a guy who was trespassing and threatening my wife and other women in the neighborhood at night, thus protecting the entire neighborhood. He also did a lot less great but funny things. We have 100+ stories that I will be adding to this blog.

For a Leonberger Bronco lived a long life. He died two weeks short of 13 years old and the average life span for a Leonberger is 8-9 years. Because he reached an advanced age for a Leonberger he was awarded the Grey Muzzle Award, given by the Leonberger Health Foundation International, which bestows the award on any Leonberger who has reached the age of twelve. The Grey Muzzle Award is also given to breeders, because they are partially responsible for the dogs’ longevity.

Our Leonberger Bronco at the age of three months (left) and at the age of almost thirteen (right)