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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Fun With Indie Publishing Part 7 - Print on Demand

Wow, almost done with this series. You can find Part 6 here on uploading your ebook files.

Now, I'm going to talk about putting your book in print. Some indie publishers skip this step for whatever reason. I would highly recommend you not overlook this potential revenue stream. Yes, ebook sales are increasing every year, but the majority of readers still read print books. Don't cut out a huge potential audience by not offering a print version. You can do it on your own or hire out just as with all the steps in putting your ebook up.

For print you will be releasing your novel, nonfiction, novella, or collection of short stories/articles as a Print on Demand book. More commonly referred as POD. You will not have a garage or attic full of boxes of books. Print on Demand means the books are printed when they are ordered.

The two most popular companies indie publishers use for their POD books are CreateSpace and Lightning Source. I personally use CreateSpace so can't go into the specifics of Lightning Source, but I know both are good companies to work with. If you want a hardback of your book you will need to go through Lightning Source as CreateSpace currently doesn't offer hardback options.

Okay, on to the specifics. Both CreateSpace and Lightning Source distribute to book stores and libraries if you select those options. There are some minor fees with both CreateSpace and Lightning Source. CreateSpace has a distribution fee (currently $25 per title) if you want your book available outside of Amazon and yourself. I don't know a lot of about Lightning Source's fees except they have a $12 per title per year fee to have your book offered through them.

Check out both and see which one fits your needs best. POD books have come a long way in a short time and are excellent quality. Whoever you pick, you'll open an account much like you did at Amazon KDP, B&N PubIt, and Smashwords.

You will need to format your file, pick the size of your trim, and make a print cover. If you have pro programs to do the pdf cover and book layouts. Have fun with it. But for the rest of us :-) you can do it with regular image and word processing programs.

The most popular trim size for fiction is the 6 x 9 trade. If you're doing nonfiction, I would measure the books you like the size of and visualize your book to be and pick that trim size.


Formatting your file will probably be a little more time consuming than doing your ebook files. CreateSpace has some word templates you can download which will take care of some of the harder tasks. I used a template successfully for my book. My only note was the font size it had set was too small. I had to go back and redo it with larger font. I don't know how helpful their templates would be for nonfiction as depending on the book they can require a lot more layout skills than a novel. The instructions they gave are pretty straightforward to convert your word file into a pdf. I have an older version of Word which doesn't allow a straight convert to pdf so reopened the file in Open Office (there were a few formatting errors I then had to fix in OpenOffice) before converting to pdf.

Once you have made your pdf file in the trim size you wish to print you will know what your word count is. This will tell you how big your spine in your cover needs to be as well as allow you to now figure out what your purchase price of your book will be. There is a handy dandy royalty calculator which allows you to figure out exactly what your royalties will be for each sale through CreateSpace, Amazon, and Expanded Distribution.

CreateSpace requires your cover be submitted in PDF format. They have handy dandy cover templates and instructions on their website. I've had a cover designer to do my one print book so can't go into specifics, but am planning on doing some on my own at some point. You'll use your blurb you wrote to go on the back cover and anything else you wish to include on the back cover. The spine should have the title and author name.

Create your title just as you did with your ebooks:
You'll enter in your Title Information (Title and Author)
ISBN (enter your own or use one of CreateSpaces)
Upload your Interior File
Upload your Cover file
They will review your files.
Once approved, you order your Proof copy (the actual cost to print + shipping). Look it over and decide if you need to make any changes. If not, you approve your proof copy. If not, you make any changes to the cover or interior file and re-upload. Order a new proof copy. Repeat as needed.
Pick where you want your book to be distributed.
Set your price.
Enter in your book description.
And now publish and distribute.

Lightning Source's interface and requirements is probably relatively similar to CreateSpace.

Now you have a print copy of your book. You can link the print copy to your ebook copy in Amazon KDP, B&N PubIt, and Smashwords. Go to your e-books information with each distributor and mark that there is a print version available.

2 comments:

  1. You are a wealth of information!

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  2. Wow, thanks for all the useful info. So far, I haven't had to go this route but am grateful for the info just in case.

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