Technology: Print on Demand - article

In the days of the dinosaurs before man stood upright there existed a publishing system that moaned and groaned with an inconsistency that not only hindered many would-be authors but hemorrhaged money with almost every project it produced.

Before there was print on demand (POD) publishing there was traditional publishing. How it worked was that you wrote a book, made copies of chapters, got publishers’ addresses, and sent off copies with a cover letter. You crossed your fingers and waited. If you were lucky--No, wait.-- extremely lucky, you heard back from them for revisions and possibly an offer to publish. Maybe six months to a year went by and maybe your book was published and maybe it hit the shelves with some degree of marketing and you sold a few copies.

That game has changed.

With POD publishing the new print houses that have sprung up keep your book in a virtual inventory with machines that only print a copy of your manuscript once it’s ordered, one at a time. No more need for stocking the shelves with the hopes your books don’t get sent back for credit. This new system has made a way for authors around the world to publish their books with complete control of the final product. 

That includes everything from designing your cover to where and how you market your masterpiece. Because you’re in charge you will also notice that you’ll be receiving a larger portion of the profits as well, often going from a commission of 7-10% to somewhere in the 50-80% range. The two largest POD service providers today are CreateSpace and IngramSpark.

The turnaround time from finished product to doorstep is no longer six months, either. Because of this new system you can finish writing and editing a book on Saturday, submit it to POD sites the same day, and have a copy in your hands by Friday. Oh, and by Monday your book would have its ISBN and barcode and be already sent off to the major online bookstores for distribution and ebook downloads. Companies like these often handle all the orders, financial transactions, and deliveries. And at the end of the month they send you a check, too.

It is so easy publish a book nowadays that there is no excuse not to let the creative juices flow. Plus, with Facebook, Twitter, and the product webpage that the print on demand publishers often provide, your marketing plan is full of targets. Those targets won’t cost you anything but the effort to find a like-minded demographic within the online communities where you will talk about your book.

Here are a couple of words of encouragement. Just the fact that you’re here reading this right now means that you have a desire to publish something. Use that desire, create the best product you can, and get it out there. No excuses.

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