So you want to publish a book… Not any book… Your Book?
Welcome to A Guide to Professional Independent Publishing on Demand.
No. 1 – An introduction to what I mean by Professional Independent Publishing on Demand (PI POD).
PI POD is, in my mind at least, very different to the act of vanity publishing or self-publishing as it was for most of the last 100 years. Sadly, it seems the traditional publishing world, and a lot of traditional selling outlets, don’t seem to fully grasp the difference. Simply put, Self-publishing, or vanity publishing as it was and is still, is the process of paying a publisher to print copies of your book, getting those copies delivered to your house and then selling, or giving them away, through whatever physical outlets you can access. It was often used as the only option when an author couldn’t get a traditional publishing deal. Often, but not always. The author may, or may not have paid editors, graphics designers, formatting services or other professional services during the process of getting the book to print. There was and still is, no ‘filter’, no standard, no quality measure to achieve. The product could, of course, be excellent. Or it could be mediocre at best.
The first thing to note (and it is VERY important), is that PI POD suffers exactly the same dilemmas of quality as above. There is no filter applied, no standard that must be achieved. No one saying, “Seriously dude, you can’t write…” Yet.
I personally believe that the marketplace will eventually begin to regulate the outpourings. A few little signs of it are starting already, but that is for a later discussion.
What PI POD most normally is, however, is a definite choice made by authors. It is chosen, normally not because they can’t get traditionally published, but because they choose to control the whole publication process. Those authors that take it as a serious pathway to being published, go about the task by hiring professional editors, graphics and marketing services. They are, in every facet, attempting to apply as rigorous a standard as traditional publishing routes, but with two major caveats. Firstly, the average POD author can only pay for those services they can afford and it is obvious they will not have pockets as deep as the traditional publishing houses. Secondly, they currently struggle to break into the traditional distribution methods that get books on bookshop shelves. However, that second one is changing and more importantly, Publish-on-Demand uses the power of the global, on-line bookstores. For that is POD’s massive advantage over Vanity.
POD harnesses the new technology available to authors, allowing their book to be available globally, through recognised distribution channels such as Amazon, Book Depository and the plethora of others. It does not require (mostly) any form of up-front payment to the publisher (and even when it does, that money is often refunded in full). It allows the author’s book to be purchased on-line, anywhere on the planet. That book, a single copy for that individual consumer, is printed in one of a number of printing presses around the world and dispatched to the consumer’s home. Within hours normally, but days at most, with direct royalty payments back to the author within weeks. Those royalty rates are usually far more generous that traditional publishing rates and although the real dollar value may not be huge, authors are at least getting paid for their work.
So that’s it really. POD uses modern technology to allow your book to be printed, one at a time if necessary, and sold to customers all over the world, without the need to have a thousand copies up in your loft. PI POD means you are going to make it the best possible product you can manage and then you can sit back and wait for the millions to roll in… Well, not quite.
There are a few expectations to be lowered, a few steps to be managed and a whole host of technical issues to be dealt with. But we’ll get to them over the next few weeks.
Starting with next time: Which companies to use?
For now, if you want to be a successful independent author, the best advice is… Finish your book! It will be the number one requirement on your list for getting published 🙂
So as Dory didn’t say… “Just Keep Writing…”
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