Self Publishing Secrets: How Print On Demand Publishing Works

By Mark Hempshell

It’s not always easy to become a self publisher. But it is not as difficult as a lot of people make out….. if you go about it in the right way of course.

The only slightly tricky thing with self publishing of course is getting your book printed. Because obviously it costs money to get even a small run of 500 or 1,000 books printed. And there is always the risk they might not all sell. But, thanks to the wonderful world of new technology there is an even easier way to get a book of your own produced. Without having to invest thousands of pounds. And without actually having to print many or any books up front.

It’s called print on demand or POD publishing. And, frankly, it’s an absolute dream for self publishers wanting to make some money from their writing.

So how does POD publishing work? Well actually it’s very, very clever. You write your book in the normal way. But you don’t have many or even any copies printed. Instead you send the electronic file to a POD publisher who holds it on their computer system.

five-tips-publishing-own-book1Now, buyers who want to buy your book order it from you, a bookshop or on the Internet as normal. Then, when orders come in the POD publisher instantly prints anything from a couple of hundred to a handful of copies and sends your book directly to the customer. Often within just a few days of the order coming in.

The great thing with POD publishing is that you don’t need to print thousands of copies up front. Or pay for them. So there’s no massive capital investment. And no waste if your books don’t sell. It’s ideal for small self publishers looking to make decent money from their writing.

It’s also pretty easy to get started. All you need to do (in most cases) is send your book to the POD publisher as a MS Word file, or maybe a PDF file. The file is then uploaded onto their inventory system and is available for immediate printing on demand. There are no paper proofs, or waiting weeks for copies to be printed.

One thing. POD publishers aren’t book publishers in the normal sense of the term. They don’t choose the books they want to publish, pay for it all, and pay you a royalty.

You pay the costs of publishing your book as and when it is printed. But neither is it like vanity publishing. They don’t promise you any sales that might not materialise. They just do printing and distribution of your book for you. Stuff that it is otherwise tricky and expensive to do yourself.

POD is, if you like, a great half-way-house between having a publisher and doing the whole job yourself!

Some POD publishers can offer other services on top like a conventional publisher does. Like help with proofreading and editing. Or book and cover design. Or distribution and marketing. But you’re free to choose whether you want these or not. That’s what makes it such an affordable alternative.

With some POD publishers you can even set things up so that you can get your book listed for sale on Amazon. When customers buy it they automatically print and ship it direct to the customer for you. You don’t have to do a thing (except collect the payment of course).

By the way, with POD you can publish more or less what you like, as you have complete editorial control. There are a few things that they won’t publish (like pornography or violence). But I’m guessing you weren’t planning that sort of thing anyway, so it’s not an issue.

To me the really exciting thing about POD publishing is that it puts writing profits back where they should be…. with the writer!

You see, the POD publishers don’t work on a royalty basis in most cases. Traditional publishers might pay you just a 7.5% or 10% royalty on the cover price. But with POD publishing you keep 100% of the selling price of your book – all you pay them for is the ‘trade’ printing cost of the book.

And that’s just about all there is to self publishing using POD! It really is a very easy way to get your book into print and be a self publisher. Take a look and see what you think. And if you have any self publishing book ideas you’d like to run by me please do email me.

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