For Part 2 of my friendly discussion about how to publish a book in today’s crazy market, let’s talk about self-publishing options. And here, we’re talking about paper books:
4. If you have the money and the crazy idea that you want to print a few thousand paper copies of your book up front, using an offset printing contractor, renting storage space, and hiring shipping and distribution partners, I will say this: Don’t do it.
If you don’t believe me, describe your plans and reasoning below and I’ll respond. There are a few very rare exceptions, but otherwise, this move would be even more foolish than it was a decade ago! Spend your money hiring professional cover and book content designers instead.
5. Print-on-demand (POD) publishing is, in my humble opinion, the only reasonable choice in today’s book marketplace if financial return is even a small factor in your decision.
POD or Print on Demand means that, when a reader orders a book through any means, one copy is printed and shipped directly to the retailer (Amazon, for instance) who then supplies it to the customer (the reader). Or it is shipped directly to the reader, if ordered directly from the publisher (your website, for instance). This means very low upfront costs for the publisher, no storage expense, and no wasted trees from returned books. It’s the environmentally responsible way to publish.
We’re very proud to say that our company, Cosmic Visionary Music & Books “Saves trees, one book at a time.”™
If you choose the POD route, and you’re not keen on running a full-fledged publishing company, look into Create Space and Lulu.com. They’ll provide you with all the guidance and missing pieces you’ll need, things you probably never dreamed could be required in order to get a book into the marketplace. They explain it better than I can in this limited space. Do I have personal experience with them? No. But I do know that many authors are happy with them, and that Create Space is owned by Amazon.
6. However, if you want to become a full-time publisher and either do it all yourself, or hire editorial, typesetting, and ebook conversion professionals, you’ll want to work directly with Lightning Source (LSI), a subsidiary of Ingram Content Group.
LSI offers superior quality in the print-on-demand field, as well as the best distribution available for an independent publisher. But they will not provide coaching, hand-holding, editing, or instruction. They work with print-ready files only, but they are best in the field at what they do. They’ll connect you globally with your potential readers, too. You must bring to the table all the editorial and business skills needed, whether you learn everything yourself or hire it done, and do all marketing yourself (see #6).
If you’re on Linked In (and you should be), here’s a long discussion that will give you some insights into working with LSI: http://tinyurl.com/3k8bo4l
COMING IN PART 3: Tips & Links for Ebooks and Book Marketing, plus a series of fun videos to help aspiring novelists tackle the writing tasks.