Compare PODs Then Choose Wisely!
Technology has advanced in the publishing world. I love it! I have been greatly helped to realize my publishing dreams. I think it’s wonderful that aspiring authors have a greater range of choice. Now you may choose to pursue traditional publishing or quantum leap into self-publishing. Perhaps some would never have the opportunity to see their work in professional print without the arrival of publish on demand or POD Publishing. Print-on-demand means exactly what it implies: the company print books as they are ordered. They use modern technology to store and print your book in electronic form, removing the need for a warehouse and large print runs.
In my opinion, POD publishing does not take the place of its proud elder brother “Traditional Publishing. " As with anything, there are pros and cons of each method. With that said, I won’t attempt to convince you whether POD publishing is a good choice for you. There are lots of good reports out there on that subject.
Back in 2002 when I chose to self-publish my first book, I compiled a report comparing the top 3 companies. It helped me make my decision. I have revised that report for you and offer it fr~ee at the end of this article. If you have decided to publish POD, here are five of those ten top things to consider and compare.
1. Cover? Covers sell books! Of course it’s not the only selling aspect of your book but it is one of the most important. One shot at a good first impression to capture the interest of your potential reader is all you get.
Author’s Note: Look at their covers in on-line bookstores – back in 2002 I liked what several companies offered but their existing author book covers looked like crayon drawings. Most companies have since improved but I still think it’s one of the main points to consider. You are looking for bookstore quality or trade quality.
2. Contract? – Most Publish-On-Demand or print when ordered companies are not considered publishing houses but publishing service companies. Therefore, you should expect a non-exclusive contract period.
3. Setup Fee? If you are like most self-publishers you are budget conscious of the initial setup fee of your book. The basic package of the 4 leading companies I researched average about $500. For my first self-published project, I let the other options determine my decision more since my 3 contenders’ basic package was about the same.
4. Distribution? – Make sure they list their books in the leading wholesaler database as a part of the package or at least have an add-on option to list in & distribute through the two leading book wholesalers in the United States: Ingram and Baker & Taylor.
5. Royalty payments? – You may be wondering like an author friend of mine asked, “Shouldn’t royalty be the first thing I should ask about?" Not necessarily, the traditional publishing company industry standard is 5-8% quarterly or bi-annually. The industry average for POD companies is about 15-20% at the time of this writing. Even so, tt’s good to know when to expect your royalty and how much. Most pay quarterly or monthly.
6. Book Price? Find out if they are pricing their books at a competitive market price. It will probably hurt your sales if your book is priced too high above its competitors.
7. Author Support? Know what kind of support the company you contract with will provide. One on One support, representative assigned, phone support, email support are among the options. Find out so you can know what to expect. Make sure you are comfortable with what they propose to provide if you have any problems in the publishing process.
8. Proof Ready? Although most POD companies provide proof way ahead of traditional publishing standard of 1-2 years, its still good to know.
9. Books Returnable & Discounted to Bookstores? Do you plan to sell many books in the bookstore? Books aren’t automatically stocked on the precious shelves of bookstores, you know. You should know upfront, if you publish POD publishing more than likely your books are unreturnable.
Author’s Note: Though that is rapidly changing – there are still lots of companies that still go by this policy in their contract. Why is this important? Bookstores expect full trade discount and anticipate buying books on a returnable basis. This includes museums, gift shops, libraries, schools, etc.
10. Author Purchase Discount? This is important for your marketing campaign. Yes, you do have to market your book. With any self-publishing project, all marketing is considered your responsibility. Even with the econimies of traditional publishers you only get a portion of your publiscist attention (may be assigned to 10-100 authors) for about 30-90 days.
Author’s Note: Let’s assume you are an excited author that just finished your book-your labor of love, decided to self-publish, saved $2500 but feel daunted about all the things you have to learn about to self-publish. Things you must do like hire a cover designer, book editor, someone to professionally layout your book, hire printer, purchse barcodes & isbn number, etc. We haven’t even gotten to the work of marketing. Why not consider a POD publisher who handles all of those stages and steps for you? You are only left with investing in your book at the lowest price possible to re-sell to your readers at whatever price the market will bear.
I hope these thoughts are helpful to you. It helped me make an informed choice when I knew nothing about the industry of publishing. Here’s to the success of your book publishing dreams!
© Earma Brown, 10 year author and business owner helps small business owners and writers who want to write their best book now! Author of “Win with the Writer Inside You", she mentors other writers and business professionals through her monthly ezine “iScribe. " Subscribe now for FREE eReport “Self-Publish Now, Less Time, Less Effort, Less Money" send any email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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