We hear the term print on demand all the time. Few
really understand what it means. I didnít either until I started my
journey getting my books published. There are many print on demand
publishers but I chose to go with iUniverse, one of the largest and
POD is not self-publishing in the true sense of the
word. You donít have to buy huge quantities of books and wind up with a
few hundred or more copies you may not sell. Print on demand means
literally, if one person orders your book it will be printed and
mailed out immediately. The price per copy on a smaller run is much
lower for the publishers. The reason being, thereís no inventory
anywhere or boxes of books stored in a warehouse or bookstore. In
fact, they arenít even on the shelves in the bookstores. In very
limited circumstances, a few POD books are stocked in bookstores like
Barnes and Noble but these books have done outstanding sales right
from the start.
Where can you order POD books? In my case, my books are
at iUniverse and can be ordered at any Barnes and Noble
bookstore and of course
Amazon and Borders.
I started my journey with iUniverse in September of
2002 when I had my short story mystery collection, The Writer's
Club published. As of March 2005, I have published its sequel,
Mystery is our Shadow, the third in the series, Christmas
at Cliffhanger Inn and the fourth and final, Something
Borrowed, Something Blue. These books are between 26,000-32,000
I also published two middle grade books, Adventure
on Apple Orchard Road and Twelve Months of Mystery. These
short chapter books for ages 8-12 are 12,000 words plus. The word
limit for books has been reduced to as low as 10,000 words.
If you are considering print on demand, I would
suggest you read everything you can about this process. Donít expect
to make a lot of money unless you are prepared to work very hard
marketing your book. Sales numbers are posted the beginning of each month to
keep the author up to date on how their book is selling. Royalty
checks are issued every three months. The writer earns 20% if their
book is bought at iUniverse while around 13% at all other places like
Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Learn about the different programs available. I was
fortunate to get much lower prices than now offered. Currently at
iUniverse the Select program costs $459, Premier $699 and Premier Plus
$799. They now offer a program called Fast Track, which guarantees you
a published book in thirty days or less! Maybe youíre looking to
publish a book for friends and family. If you donít want full retail
distribution, this could be the program for you. This program will
sell your book online at iUniverse only and the cost is $299.
One thing to consider with POD is any marketing that is done has to be
done by the writer. Sure, they are posted at the most popular spots to
buy books but how will people know they are there? Thatís left up to
the writer. iUniverse does offer many marketing tips and programs to
help the writer achieve more sales. Their free marketing toolkit
offers posters, business cards, bookmarks, sell sheets, etc. to help
with your sales. All programs except Fast Track include a custom designed cover.
What are some reasons to go with
1. Many times, you have a book that is unusual or has such a limited
market no publisher will ever accept it.
2. You may not want to wait years finding a traditional publisher to
buy your book.
3. You may want control over your book and want to own it from the
start. You do not give up all rights at iUniverse. They have the right
to sell it for three years but you retain control of the rights.
Print on demand is clearly not for everyone, it should
be researched to the tiniest of details but two and a half years and
six books later, I am happy. They have fulfilled all their commitments
Christine Collier has been published in many children's magazines including
Guideposts for Kids, Young Bucks Outdoors, Wee Ones, Once Upon a
Time, SIRS Publishing, Bible Pathways for Kids, Holidays & Seasonal
Celebrations, Kid Zone with future publications at Brio, High
Adventure, Hopscotch and Fun For Kidz.