Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Self-Publishing and the POD Market What Gives?

Self-Publishing and the POD Market What Gives?

By Jenn Flynn-Shon

First I’d like to thank Cathy for the opportunity to share my thoughts on self-publishing here on her blog! For those Writers, Authors and hopeful soon-to-be novelists out there I hope my experiences can help you to make the best decisions for your work. I’d like to point out that everyone will have a slightly different experience, this is just mine, and shouldn’t be taken as law, obviously. But Cathy asked if I’d share some of my tips and advice on POD self-publishing, so here goes!

So what does POD even mean?

POD stands for Print on Demand and it is all the rage in the self-publishing world as it helps both the printer and Author in a couple ways. First, the printer runs the books from a digital file, not a typeset printing press. That’s a big deal because to switch out and print a different book is so much more cost-effective and efficient. Second, the Author can have a copy in their hand in mere moments as compared to the months it would take back in the day of traditional printing. To get my proof copy took about 10 days from order, to print, to delivery. Finally, and to me the biggest benefit of all, is the fact that an Author isn’t obligated to obtain thousands of copies of their work only to have those books collect dust in their garage.

What are some POD Choices?

There are many options available and they range from full service style with a staff of people who will work with you on your project (that you will pay for) all the way to formatting your own work and printing it out at OfficeMax. Some names you’ve probably heard if you’re in the biz are Lulu, Createspace, AuthorHouse, Blurb, etc…

I chose to go with Lulu as my POD publisher for various reasons. One of which was that they offer global distribution to Amazon, B&N, etc. and this sounded great – I upload the work once and they handle distributing to the big players. Also - I could buy just what I needed, other Authors I knew had good experiences with them, and they frequently offer discount codes that I could pass on to my readers. The Lulu printing method was attractive to my environmental sensibilities as well. They print in various locations across the country and ship to the buyer (you or your readers) from the closest location possible.

For my first novel, Ripple the Twine, I only offered paperback. With Lulu I make about $4/book when purchased direct through them. And I set up Global Distribution right away as I wanted my book available on Amazon too. This ended up being a good test because it essentially backfired.

Back in August I did a Blog Book Tour and sold 5 copies on Amazon from it. I was thrilled until I checked my royalty account only to find I took home a profit of about $0.25. Total for the 5 copies sold! That’s because Lulu takes their share and THEN Amazon takes another cut which leaves me at about $0.05/book.

Hardly profitable, no wonder they call us ‘starving artists’!

Do I Plan to Stick with Lulu?

As I wrap up final formatting on Reckless Abandon, my Romantic Suspense novella, I’ve been exploring my options. I intend to release this as both an eBook and paperback so it seemed like a good time to test the waters over at Amazon instead. I'm going with Createspace and KDP. Most people will shop there over other retailers (like Lulu). Plus their Author commission schedule is far better**.

Lulu did have some nice perks and I may use their services again sometime but for the needs of my readers and potential to make a bit better income it seemed smart to jump into the Amazon waters with my second release. But take note, I will be recording my thoughts on how well it works!

Are you writing and releasing work via a POD Publisher? Where have you found works best for selling your writing?

** eBook through KDP Select has a much higher royalty rate but do your research, you must offer exclusivity for 90 days to get this higher rate and it may or may not be worth it for your needs.

Jenn Flynn-Shon is an Author of fiction novels featuring strong female characters, an avid blogger of Randomness and Lunacy, and a frequent Guest Poster. She’s an active member of the Scottsdale Society of Women Writers and a two-time winning participant in NaNoWriMo. Learn more on her website.

My Chick-Lit novel, Ripple the Twine, is available on Lulu:
Reckless Abandon will be available for eBook on Amazon on Tuesday October 30, 2012!