After my novel had become available through Amazon and all the on-line retailers that support Smashword I decided to publish a print version. I resisted this at first, for several reasons. One was vanity. To publish in any way other than the traditional agent/publisher route still smacks of settling for less. But when I considered the odds against ever seeing my work in published form via the traditional route, and the changing marketplace, the digital revolution, the fact that even top-selling authors are moving to eBooks, I thought again. I subscribed to the theory that quality work will rise to the surface – eventually.
The second objection was cost. I had no desire to take my work to a vanity publisher and pay for a run of 100 books that would sit in my garage. But the self-publishing world has changed. With digital print options, there has been a significant rise in Print on Demand publishers. With POD, there does not need to be a run of books to make economic sense. In fact, not even one book need be printed. Once the formatting is complete, it is possible to simply wait for a first customer to order before printing at all. And not spend a penny.
My third objection was quality. I was suspicious that POD quality work would be inferior. I was wrong. My new book sits on my shelf between Gallmann and Graham, and not far from Leonard and King and even Hemingway and I defy anyone to pick out my book based upon its quality. In fact, it looks even better than some of the traditionally published works.
My final objection was marketing. With self-publishing, I thought, comes self-marketing. Yes, that is true. But what I didn’t know was that with traditional publishing comes self-marketing. Yes, big publishing houses now expect their authors to sell their own books. If you are not already a famous or infamous person, the publisher looks for a solid sales platform before they will even give you the time of day, quality withstanding. They want to move books. And if they do take you on, unless you are proven market material, their marketing resources are applied elsewhere. And if you are unable to move your own book within a certain period of time, it comes off the shelf. Over and out. But not POD. Because my book never takes up shelf space; it’s not even created until someone wants one.
Summing up, to publish traditionally an author must defeat the long odds of acquiring an agent and a publisher, of then convincing the publisher to aim resources his way or to find the means to move her own book, and finally to manage to keep the book moving long enough so that it doesn’t come down from the shelves.
Considering all of this, I decided to give POD a try, and went to CreateSpace. Stay tuned. I will describe my experiences with that company in my next posting.