Print on Demand or POD publishing isn’t for everyone. There are a number of pros as well as cons to consider before deciding to venture into the world of POD publishing and self-publishing.
The advantages or pros which I found to be a convincing argument to choose POD for my book GETTING OUT ALIVE are as follows:
1. Your book gets published on your timetable, not the timetable of a traditional publisher who may or may not have your best interests as a writer at heart.
2. You retain 100% of the rights to your book. You own the copyright, not the traditional publisher. You do what you like with your book, including publishing it with more than one POD publisher if you’d like and it doesn’t violate the rules of one the PODs you choose.
3. You choose what you want to make for royalties rather than having to negotiate this with a traditional publisher.
4. You choose what you want for the cover art of your book, you don’t have to rely on someone else’s idea of what artwork best describes the contents of your book.
5. Your book gets printed only if someone orders it, you don’t have boxes of your book sitting in your basement or attic getting eaten by moths or mice or destroyed by mold or mildew.
6. You don’t have to put out a large amount of money printing copies of your book.
7. You can sell your book from the web pages of your POD publisher(s) as well as your own website, this can give you more exposure.
The disadvantages or cons, some of which almost made me decide to continue trying to find a traditional publisher are listed below:
1. You are 100% responsible for marketing your book, no one else will do it for you, including your POD publisher. So, you must be willing to educate yourself on the finer points of marketing a book both on and off line.
2. You must be willing to pay your POD publisher a fee to get an ISBN number and to have your book listed with online bookstores such as Amazon.com If you are not willing to pay at least a small amount for these services then POD publishing may not be for you. However, there is one exception, Lulu.com by and far is the least expensive POD publisher around, and you can choose to publish your book absolutely free by not purchasing an ISBN number or getting your book onto the online bookstores, and just have it available through Lulu.com. The downside if you choose not pay anything though is less exposure for your book.
3. You are responsible for providing review copies of your book to reviewers, and to getting it to the reviewers within their time frame. Some will only accept copies of books that are about to be released, or have been released within the past three months. And some will only accept a print version rather than an e-book version. You will also find that some will not review POD and/or self-published titles. I didn’t discover this to be the case until after my book was released, and I found that some reviewers simply refused to review it once it was past the 90 day period after release, or refused to review it at all simply because it was POD published.
4. You are responsible for setting up book signings, and other such events. If you want to add these kinds of events to your marketing plan, you have to be willing to approach bookstores and other places that sell books and be confident in selling yourself and your book to the people in charge.
5. You are responsible for either creating, designing and printing your own marketing materials such bookmarks, business cards, brochures etc. or be willing to pay someone else to do so for you. Either way it is another expense, although personally I’ve found it to be more cost effective to design and print my own.
As I said before, POD is not for everyone, but if you are someone who doesn’t mind spending some money on your book for marketing, and education and you want to have total control of your book then POD can be a great solution to getting that completed manuscript out of your drawer, box, or computer and getting it out to the world.
Regina Paul is the author of the science fiction novel GETTING OUT ALIVE, and editor of the free bi-monthly writer's e-zine Regina’s Universe. You can read the first chapter of her novel, sign up for her e-zine and find many other writer’s freebies at: http://www.reginapaul.bravehost.com