Seeing is believing

two books - 1

Yesterday I was talking to you about I’ve learned so far about the publishing industry as far as standard ways to get to print. Today I’m going to talk to you about some of the newer options that I’ve used.

The next time I was inspired to write a book, I used a print on demand company. I wrote a historical novel about a fictitious family who settled in my local area, then wrote a sequel. At the time I was the president of the local historical society and so I had facts, figures, and everything that I needed to make it very historically correct. I knew that it would will be locally based so I didn’t want to deal with a 1000 or more copies.

The idea behind the print on demand is that you can buy just what you need for your sales. I used to take 20 or 30 books with me when I would speak at community groups. The sales were good. They cost about $10 for me to buy and then I would sell them for $15. Not something I was going to get rich on but not so little that it wasn’t worth it. At a craft sale or book signing I usually would do very well. The museum also carried my books, which I sold to them at cost and let them make the profit. They did very well with them over the next few years.

I had planned to write a third book in the series but as happens in life, things change. Cancer reared its ugly head and took my husband of 51 years. I kept on writing though.

Publish on demand was, however, a learning experience. The pros were that they did not charge me to produce my book and I got an 8% royalty on books they sold through their website. They did a nice job with the books, even let me make a few corrections in the second printing. They were prompt in shipping the materials I needed. The cons were few, but significant. One was that they kept the copyright. Then at some point offered to sell it to me. I didn’t purchase the copyright because by that time every library with in our area had a copy and I’d sold all that I was going to through the outlets I had. All in all, for me and what I wanted to accomplish, the pros outweighed the cons.

The  other drawback to print on demand is sometimes the companies you deal with. Of course everyone wants to make money and you can’t blame them for that. They want you to buy more books and so they often bombard you with “deals.” Some even offer to do special promotions if you “pay $39 they will promote your book in China” kind of thing. I have to admit I didn’t catch on at first and bought into a couple of those pitches. Needless to say no one in China ever bought one of my books about local history in Polk County. Ha-ha. Caveat emptor?

Again, many major publishers consider this the same as self-publishing. The publish on demand is a viable option if you like me had a reason to go that rout. Tomorrow I’ll talk about the most tempting tech option out there, the e-book.


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