By George Kittredge
At last, an exciting day is arriving. You have just finished writing your new book, and you now can focus on how and where you want to publish it. You've ruled out the big, traditional publishing houses - primarily because they won't even consider you. So now you have some decisions to make.
Should you self-publish? Should you go with a print-on-demand (POD) publisher? Should you use a POD printer? You recently read about one publisher that called itself a POD, self-publisher. What is that, and what are the differences and advantages of one over the other? Are you confused? If so, it's easy to see why. Depending on what you read, terms such as self-publishing and POD publishing are often used interchangeably. But there are indeed some important differences you should know about. Perhaps the following will help clear up some of the confusion.
Let's first talk about self-publishing. In the strictest sense, self-publishing is exactly what it implies. Self-publishing is when you, the author, take on the role of overseeing every aspect of the book publishing process - you have complete control over and are responsible for how each element of publishing your book will be carried out. Things like editorial work, proofreading, page layout, cover design and content, copyright registration, obtaining an ISBN, and all the other requirements necessary to create print-ready content and cover that a printer can use. You'll even need to select your own printer.
Sounds like a lot of work, doesn't it. Well, it is. However, self-publishing can be an ideal option for an aspiring author who possesses many of the skills needed to successfully publish a professional looking book, or who has the contacts (such as professional editors, graphic designers, etc.) in the industry that they can call on to provide such expertise. When such resources are available, a self-publishing author may (and I emphasize the word "may") find it possible to publish his or her book at a lower cost than using other publishing options.
Another decision a self-publishing author must make is who should print the book and how many copies should be printed? We've all heard the horror stories of authors who have thousands of copies of their book sitting in their basement or garage. The plus was the great price they got from their printer. The minus was that the books are in their basement.
Unless you have an established pipeline for selling large quantities of your book, using a POD or short-run printer may be a better option. Although the price per copy printed may be higher, the risk of being stuck with large quantities of unsold books can be eliminated.
So, should you self-publish your new book? That depends. If you are comfortable becoming your own "general contractor" and have the time, ability, resources, and interest, the answer may be "yes." However, before you make that decision, you may want to find out more about what a POD publisher is. Stay tuned for Part 2 next week.