Getting your book up in digital is exciting. Once you’ve put an ISBN against it and pushed it to the numerous distributors, it can be found across the net. Wow!
Funny thing is, while it’s awesome having your stuff up in the ether, there’s nothing quite like the look of a spine on a book shelf peeking out between a copy of The History of the Peloponnesian War and The Triumph of the Air-Heads.
Wait a second, Jez…
Didn’t you say that the reason you went digital and stuff because the book printing industry was so tangly?
Yes. Yes, I did. And I stand by that. Finding an agent, finding a publisher, printing out copious copies of your book in double spacing, fourteen point serif, then posting them in a big orange envelope with the label three inches below the top corner only to wait five weeks for a rejection notice of “Thanks, but we’ve got enough Sci-Fi” then, if you’re lucky, you might get a “Yeah, nice, but can you make it different? Our readers are into Vampires right now.”
I went trawling and found a couple of options. There’s that ^, then there’s the Vanity Press option, which isn’t so terrible if you’ve got a spare $10,000 up your sleeve. You get an editor to help out, get time on the press to get the books printed, get them shipped to you in boxes and then you’ve got to flog them to the resellers. And if they don’t sell, you’ve got 10k worth of books sitting in your garage.
Print On Demand
Put this into your browser and have a look-see. There are plenty of guys who do this. The good thing? There’s no hefty outlay. You set up your book book, print off a proof, revise it, print off anothery and, when you’re happy, accept it. And you’re done.
The bad thing? The prices for print on demand tend to be higher, simply because the press, rather than doing a run of a few thousand, is doing a batch of one or two. The price will lower the more you do per batch, so that’s nice.
Lulu offers this as a service, as well as e-books, and the process of setting your ebook up to be printed is not terrible. In fact you don’t need to make an official book with Lulu. If you wanted to make a training manual, say, for in-house staff, this might be a convenient way to get that done.
One attractive feature of Lulu is that, like Smashwords, they can channel your print book to other partners like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
These guys have their own presses, so the price quoted by Lulu to create a book is not necessarily the same as what the other guys can do it for. Also, not all formats are acceptable to all partners.
In the next post, I’ll go through some of the nuances I’ve discovered.