John Harding’s book, Escape from Paradise – Paperback and Kindle Versions


Now, available in Kindle and Paperback! Free Kindle if you purchase Paperback. After buying Paperback, go for the free Kindle!

It took me two and a half evenings to complete your un-put-downable is a unique contribution to the appreciation of a life in Singapore. Thank you for having written it. C. V. Devan Nair, former President of Singapore.

Bought the book from Select this weekend and can't put it down! It's a great read! And so nostalgic for me—the good old days! Glen Goei, writer and director of the Miramax film That's the Way I Like It and who played the title role opposite Anthony Hopkins in the London production of M. Butterfly. Mr. Goei's latest film is The Blue Mansion - Click for the trailer!

It is a remarkable story and so full of intrigue that it reads at times like fiction.Jonathan Burnham, Editor in Chief & President, Talk Miramax Books.

“It's quite a story The legendary Alice Mayhew, Vice-President & Editorial Director, Simon & Schuster.

This book out-Dallas, Dallas. No one has written so well of the other side of paradise,Francis T. Seow, former Solicitor General of Singapore

Escape from Paradise – the Promotional Trailer

Publishing, Editing, and Ghostwriting Services

The basics

I can ghostwrite you book for a negotiated fee. It takes from four to six months, depending on the book’s length. It will cost far less than you would guess.

A recent book, ghostwritten and published by us, is bringing in more each month than the “author” paid for our services!

If your book is pretty much written, and just needs editing/updating, the cost will be minimal.

After I ghostwrite your book, I can publish your book as a Lightning Source Print on Demand (POD) book (making you the publisher so you have full control with no garage full of books – yes, no inventory!). Lightning Source (LSI) is part of Ingram, the largest distributor of books. The setup on LSI is about $70 for both text and cover. From then on the money comes to you. Even though your book is with LSI, I can also do a Kindle version. Amazon can do the same on CreateSpace, however, your discount is 40%, whereas on LSI you can have a discount of 20%. That means you get 60% or 80% of the sales price (after the deduction of printing costs). With LSI your book it is on all Amazon sites, Barnes & Noble, and dozens of other sites and in bookstores (with luck).

Your print book can also be published as an ebook

You can also have your book converted to an ebook format for sales on a number of sites.

Your book can be converted to Nook, Kindle, iPad, Sony, or Adobe PDF. Presently, Kindle is the only ebook format worth the effort.

An Adobe PDF version of your book could be distributed with DRM (Digital Rights Management – so it can’t be copied or printed) by Lightning Source. You can charge any price you want for this format. LSI will pay 67.5% of the list price.

Amazon Kindle’s normal pricing is $2.99 to $9.99 for the maximum royalty of 70%. Above (or below) that, Amazon pays 35% of list.

Apple iPad pays 70% of list (even on a discounted price).

Nook pays 50% of list (even on a discounted price).

Note: The above percentages are of list price. If the seller discounts, you still get the percentage of list.

What about finding a major publisher—the big guys?

Of course, you can try to find an agent, or a major publisher for your book. We can help with that, too. However, this is a long shot—a very long shot, unless you are a well-known person or famous author. The good news is that POD titles have been picked up by major publishers. Please contact me directly with any questions, thank you!

Our experience with Escape from Paradise and other books

Our own book, printed by LSI, Escape from Paradise, sells about 50 copies a month from Amazon with about 5 coming from Amazon UK and 2 coming from The Book Depository (free shipping worldwide) The list price for Escape from Paradise is $19.95, and we make $8.85 per copy (even though the book has been out since 2002.) Escape from Paradise is also available as an ebook in Adobe format. (We do conversions in-house to Adobe format). It is also available on Amazon in Kindle format.

Here is an example of a book I did recently on CreateSpace. It is one of my favorites – The Mysterious Stranger, by Mark Twain. Since the copyright expired, anyone can publish the book.

Get an agent to market the book or self publish?

Several years ago, I was well into working on my first book and had to make a decision—should I spend a couple of years researching traditional publishers, formatting my manuscript for submission, and sending it in to one publisher after another, or should I spend that two years researching self-publishing and go that route? The decision was difficult, because I had the best agents in the business handling our book, Escape from Paradise. As good as Sonia Land was and she is the very best, even if a major publisher picked up Escape from Paradise, it could be a couple of years before the book would be published. Since the subject matter of the book was very timely, I decided to take the risk and go for self-publishing. This was back in 2002 when self-publishing and print-on-demand (POD) was in its infancy.

Setting up Escape from Paradise

To typeset the book, I bought a very expensive and complex program – Adobe InDesign. Fortunately, I have a son who is a real computer whiz. He mastered InDesign in no time and did a beautiful job of setting up the book. With InDesign, once the book is set up, it can create a PDF file of the book which is ready for the printing presses. Using InDesign, I managed to do the cover, which amounts to two pages (front and back cover) and the spine. My kid set up 476 interior pages, which the pros call the “book block.” There have been some recent changes in how to do a cover in InDesign. As a sample of what to do now, here are instructions for Adobe InDesign:

  • Color Settings should be set to North America Prepress 2. (This specifies Adobe RGB as your working RGB color space.)
  • All images should be in the Adobe RGB color space. Exception: Images that include transparency. When flattening for PDF/X-3, InDesign will convert these to CMYK anyway.
  • All swatch and object colors should be left in CMYK. Converting these to RGB would increase the chance of some or all of your layout being flattened to CMYK.
  • Export your PDF directly from InDesign using the PDF/X-3 preset or a custom modification of it. (With InDesign, you no longer need to print to PostScript and run through Distiller, as Lightning used to recommend—and in fact, with InDesign CS6, that method can be buggy.)
  • Is there any time you should stick to PDF/X-1a? Sure. If you’re producing an interior file for black-and-white printing, that’s still the safest standard—though, even in that case, Lightning now accepts either one.

That’s all! Your color should now reproduce better on Lightning’s presses. These instructions are courtesy of Aaron Shepard! The above information is thanks the the top guru of POD and self publishing, Aaron Shepard, Shepard Publications. Here are some links to Aarons books (all of which I have purchased)

Aaron’s Publishing Page, Sales Rank Express, For notice of new posts (and books) from Aaron Shepard, subscribe to Aaron’s Publishing Update.

Never send out review copies

With the two PDF files – one for the cover, and one for the books interior book block, I had a local printer run off 50 copies. I called these review copies, and sent them out to a number of reviewers. With only one or two exceptions, the reviewers sold the books I had sent them to second hand dealers, and they appeared for sale on the Internet. I made a rule never to send out review copies—it’s a joke and not worth it.

Self publishing

Next, I submitted the book (the two PDFs) to Lightning Source (LSI). Unfortunately, the print quality of the photographs in the book did not come out to well with LSI. This is because they were using the IBM InfoPrint printer. Back in 2002, IBM was lousy at printing. So I submitted the book to a second printer – Digitz. They used a laser-type printer, and the photographs came out very well. The Digitz copies were the ones I gave out personally. The LSI copies went out to Amazon, and various online outfits and to booksellers. Over time, Digitz changed its name to BookSurge, and BookSurge was bought by Amazon and became CreateSpace. Because of that, the copies of Escape from Paradise that were sold on Amazon USA were printed by CreateSpace—and those for the rest of the world went out from LSI.

How to set the right discount for your book

Since CreateSpace originally took 55% of the price of the book, I wasn’t making much per copy. Foolishly, I went on like that for a couple of years. I even let LSI take 55% as I thought that it was what everyone did. I finally woke up to the fact that, just by going into my LSI account, I could lower LSI’s take (after the printing charge) to 20%. I canceled CreateSpace, and had all my books printed by LSI—and netted me about three times more on each sale. They told me that lowering the discount to 20% would kill my bookstore sales. False. The bookstores just marked up the price so they made a profit. You see, I had set up my ISBN number with no price attached. That gave me all the flexibility the bookstores needed. Never code your price into your ISBN. Never set a fixed price on your book! After months and months of research interspersed with learning to build this website and other websites to promote my wares, I came across some things you might want to use if you self publish. InDesign is not on the list as it is too expensive and difficult for most users.


Book Design Wizard

This program is for easy text formatting (toggles the table of contents to the chapters and automatically updates page numbers for the table of contents; sets up the proper mirror margins; and the alternating even/odd headers, plus a lot more). However, you can do exactly the same in Microsoft Word, which is what I do now. However, even if you decide to do your book in Microsoft Word, Book Design Wizard will point you in the right direction. The cost is about $40.

Book Cover Pro

A cover design program—formats the cover (front, back, spine) properly for any size book. Very easy to learn, but I do it in Adobe Acrobat Pro. The price of Book Cover Pro is about $80.

Other stuff:

All files have to be submitted in pdf (Adobe Acrobat) form. I use the Adobe Acrobat Pro, but there is a lot of free stuf out there.

Bowker for your ISBN number

CreateSpace (and other publishers) will give you a free ISBN. Don’t take it, because you will not own this ISBN number. You will have big problems if you want to switch to another printer. Don’t buy ISBN numbers from anybody but Bowker, as it will still not be yours. Buy only from Bowker—it’s the only way.

Library of Congress

The other other thing you need, and it’s free, is a Library of Congress Number. It’s easy—just go to their website. The Library of Congress number has to be obtained before your book is even printed, because it goes on your copyright page.

Copyright facts

There is a lot to this, and it is best laid out at Copyright Facts Every Author Should Know

Publishing Sources:


Create Space is a subsidiary of Amazon for self-publishing books, cd’s, and dvd’s. There are NO set up fees at all. Very cheap printing costs. Your book goes instantly to Amazon and they have a real simple way for you to set up your cover—you do it online. Here is one of my CreateSpace covers for my large print edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Cost is free.

Lightning Source

After making sure a book is exactly as I want it, I spend around $80 total to put it through the hoops with Lightning Source. You have to sign up as a publishing company (but that can consist of just you), and they accept the same files as CreateSpace. With LSI, the cover is the problem – unless you want to buy and learn InDesign. Of course there are guys you can pay to do a cover. The one I use is Ian McKenzie ( About $70 and then $12 per year.

Publishing rights and royalties

We would rather set you up on your own accounts with LSI and CreateSpace. But if you want us to be the publisher of your book. Here are the basic charges and royalties. These prices do not include internal graphics and are subject to change depending on individual cases. Rights granted to IDKPress: Location rights, worldwide, in any language, in any medium. These are the rights granted to IDKPress by the author(s). However, the author(s) remains the primary rights holder, and the copyright is in the name of the author(s). Rights returned to author(s) by IDKPRESS: On request, after 10 years from publication date. Author(s) royalties: Five to 10% of list price on agreement with the author(s). Rights split: 50% of net receipts. (This applies when IDKPress sells subsidiary rights to other publishers to reprint transmit, adapt, and movie rights, etc.) Payment schedule: Payment is on a yearly basis—on sales from January 1 to December 31, payments will be sent by April 1. In certain instances, IDKPress may elect to pay more frequently. Author(s) copies: 10 copies of publishers print edition on each binding Author can buy additional copies of publishers cost including shipping with prepayment.


These common editorial rates should be used only as a rough guideline; and we regard them as being at the top end and are negotiable. (A page is assumed to contain 250 words.)

Type of Work  Estimated Time Hourly Rate
Copyediting 5–10 pages/hour $20–$40
Book layout 6–10 pages/hour $20–$30
Proofreading 5–10 pages/hour $20–$35
Original Writing/Ghostwriting 1–3 pages/hour $20–$30
Re-Writing/Ghostwriting 1–3 pages/hour $30
Submission to CreateSpace or LSI $30

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