Here’s one way
to get it published
By Paul Lima
AS ANY ASPIRING author knows, finding a
publisher can be as difficult as writing a book.
That’s what I discovered after writing The
Business of Freelance Writing. After being
turned down by two publishers (they didn’t
think they could sell enough books to make
publishing worthwhile), I looked into self-publishing.
I was aware of vanity presses, companies
that often charge an enormous amount of
money to print one’s book. My investigation
revealed that vanity presses had been replaced
by print on demand (POD).
with the POD
prints and ships the
books. Books are
printed and sold as they
are ordered; the author or
book retailer does not have to
carry any inventory.
Authors earn less per book when books
are sold through online retailers because the
POD company and the online retailer each
take a cut; however, books are available from
more sources, which can lead to greater sales.
For instance, my book How to Write a
Non-fiction Book in 60 Days has been picked
up by Five Rivers Chapmanry, a small publishing company in Orangeville, Ontario, and is
available through online retailers. Before I give
a writing seminar, my publisher orders copies
of my book through LSI so I can sell them at
my seminar. While we pay more per book
when ordering in smaller quantities, I don’t
have to keep lots of books on hand.
How print on demand works
Most POD companies (iUniverse, Trafford
Publishing, AuthorHouse, CreateSpace and
others) sell directly to the public via the Web
and also make books available through online
retailers. Others, such as Lightning Source Inc.
(LSI), do not sell directly to the public, but
instead print and ship books only through
online retailers. (LSI also sells directly to
authors and publishers who want to print
books in small quantities.)
When readers order books through an
Choosing a print-on-demand company
POD COMPANIES offer a variety of services and varying degrees of hand-holding.
The more hand-holding and services you
require, the more you will pay upfront. To
help you select a POD company, answer
the questions below. Then look for a POD
company that offers the services you need
to take your book to market.
Can you do a final edit of the book or
is editing and proofreading assistance
Can you design the book’s pages
and cover or do you need design
Can you create the book (PDF) and
cover (JPG) files that need to be
uploaded to the POD company?
Do you want to sell print and/or electronic copies?
Do you want to sell through your Web
site, the POD Web site, online retailers
or all three?
Will you be seeking a large audience
or selling (or giving) copies to family
and friends only?
Will you order print copies to sell to
bookstores or at workshops, seminars
and/or book fairs?—PL
A look at costs
Most POD companies charge an upfront
fee to process books for publishing and printing. Authors can then order small quantities of
books—as few as one—or sell books online.
However, I calculated that I’d have to sell about
250 books before I covered the upfront fee,
which can be as high as $2,000.
Then I discovered Lulu.com. As with most
POD companies, Lulu sells directly to buyers
via the Web. However, the company does not
charge upfront fees if you opt for them not to
place your book on Amazon.com, as most
other PODs automatically do.
With Lulu, as with any POD company,
the author has to format the manuscript
(choose the book size and typeface and design
the book pages), produce the book cover and
upload the book over the Web.
Lulu gives authors a storefront, processes
credit-card orders, and prints and ships books
on demand as orders come in. Authors can
choose to sell paperback books and/or electronic books (PDF files); ordering PDFs saves
buyers printing and shipping costs. Lulu processes credit-card orders and makes the book
available for downloading.
Like most POD companies, Lulu pays the
author a cut of each book sale. The royalty is
based on the cost to print the book (the more
pages, the more it costs to print), POD company markup and the retail price of the book,