Naturally, the best way to get away with procrastinating is to ensure that whatever you’re doing is somehow loosely related to what you should be doing which, to your own mind, makes it seem a worthy waste of your time.
In the back of that marvellous mind of mine, I know that it’s not true but I continue to do it regardless. Yesterday I spent hours looking through magazine markets and I got so frustrated that I decided to start constructing my own online magazine and webpage (if you can’t take the man to the mountain, take the mountain to the man?).
I’ve got up this morning, my brain rattling with thoughts on publishing and portfolios after several discussions with friends about the various options. So, in my wisdom, I have decided to waste yet more time writing up a blog about the various things I’ve come across re: publishing options. I am by no means an expert on this, so gap-fills in my knowledge welcome. Particularly personal experiences!
Print on Demand (POD)
For those of you not ‘in the know’, my understanding is that POD companies do what their name states – someone orders, they print the book and send it out. In terms of book production, this is the most costly method. Generally this option is more suitable for those authors who only want a few copies of their book, or just allow others to purchase at their leisure.
It is not really something suitable for anyone dreaming of huge sales and mass promotions as the company only publishes your book, you’re the one that needs to do the leg work. A lot of buyers are put off by having to wait for a while to have the book delivered.
However, there have been some promotions from sites such as NaNoWriMo with CreateSpace – 5 books free when you agree to publish your book with them. If you only want a few books for the sake of posterity, then this is a fabulous idea. If you intend on trying to make a living from this venture, you probably won’t unless you know lots of people willing to purchase a full price book to which you’ll receive about 10p per copy (and that’s providing you actually get your royalties). There is actually a community thread on CreateSpace discussing author’s experiences and what they felt were ‘scams’.
There is a review by eHomeBusinessReviews that outlines the various ‘up front’ costs of using this service but, overall, talks of it in a positive light and another review which contradicts some of what eHome says. There are also customer comments on that one.
Lulu is another POD publisher that, until I did my web searches, were actually spoken of very highly by friends who have used them. WP blog about experiences with Lulu were a very positive but realistic look on what to expect from services like Lulu. And yet, one of the first sites that came up in my search was a Myspace post outlining a very unhappy customer who believes that no royalties were sent despite books being sold. There was a thread that opened with one person’s bad experience but many more people coming forward with good ones. And a very open review of personal experiences there.
Smashwords appears to be in fact purely for ebooks which means you can see your work ‘published’ quite quickly. If your plan is to just get your work out there for the world to view, this looks like a very reasonable platform to do just that as it’s free to publish and distribute online with them, as well as the authors having control over how much they charge for their work. On their about page it talks about offering part of your work for ‘free’ to entice readers, or even chosing to allow readers to access the entire work free which is great if all you would like is for people to read what you write. The royalty percentage is far higher than POD publishing (70%+). I couldn’t find any information pertaining to this company being a scam, but the downside is that you will not be offered a hardcopy of your work which tends to be the appeal of using something like the two previous companies.
In summary, whilst it would be wonderful to have that wonderful hard copy of our work right there in the palm of our hand (whatever the quality, whatever the reason) it is in fact the e-book publishers that offer a far better deal if you only wish to get your work ‘out there’. If you manage to sell your work, royalties would be better as there are very few overheads for an e-book publisher, and you essentially have complete control. For a world where gadgets are taking over and the e-book market is booming, this seems like a wonderful choice for ‘new’ authors to get there work out there – this coming from a traditional book lover. Even I’m beginning to see the merits of such things.
I think the moral of all this really is just to make sure that, whatever you want to pursue, to ensure that you do your research! Leave no stone unturned, read the small print, ask around and view the forums. Only then should you consent to hand over your labour of love.
Related WP Reading