Friday, May 28, 2004

Trade Publishers Are Best for Novels

The novel approach: Ordinarily, I tell authors that self-publishing and traditional publishing have roughly equal but different advantages and disadvantages. Which way to go depends on you and your circmumstances. One exception. In the case of novels, the business advantage definitely goes to the traditional "trade" publisher. That's because novels are sold mainly through bookstores--and that's a tough business for anyone, especially the novice self-publisher. If you can find a publisher comfortable with novels and bookstores, go for it. The same does not hold for poetry, by the way. Email your comments.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Here's a Short-Short Run Book Solution

Need 20 books professionally produced? Suppose you present workshops and would like to updgrade your current workbook. You've avoided doing so because you only need 20 or so copies at a time. Here's a solution. Let GRAPHICS WEST design your workbook for you and then print it as needed using photocopying technology and sturdy Fastback binding. We can print and bind 1-99 copies, usually overnight. Moreover, using this technology, we can make quick changes that allow you to customize your workbook for every workshop. The same technology makes great children's books and family histories. You can even get foil-stamped hard covers that look super! Contact me for more info.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

The Truth about Hardcover Books

Save Thousands of $$$: Many would-be self-publishers think their book needs to be "hardcover" in order to be taken seriously. This is not so. Go into any bookstore and you'll find that many books, even most books, are paperbacks. There is a good reason for this. Getting your book printed in hardcover (or "casebound") will cost anywhere from two to five times more per copy than the same book printed the same size with a paper cover. Yet, you will won't be able to charge twice as much for your hardcover book, let alone five times as much. The economics don't work. If you expect your book to have a long shelf-life, consider doing a hard-cover edition for libraries and some premium sales (e.g., autographed copies). But don't mortgage your house getting thousands of copies. Instead, do what smart publishers do and order a "split run," in which case you get 2000 (for example) sets of interior pages printed at one time with 1500 sets (for example) bound with paper covers and 500 copies bound with hard covers. You can even overprint interior pages, have the printer store them, and decide later how you want them bound. Let us help you make wise decisions about your printing. Email me. See Graphics West for more info.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

On-Demand Printing: An Option for Some

It's Magic, Almost: If you are thinking about self-publishing your book, you may hear something about "on-demand" printing. New technology has made it possible for suppliers to load a digital file of your book into a computer and print out a single copy "on demand." Moreover, the output can be good enough to put into a bookstore (depending more on the preparation than the on-demand technology). Sound too good to be true? It's not. The books look good, and the technology means you don't need to invest an arm and a leg on a load of books that you might not be able to sell. The technology is almost magic. That's the good news. The bad news, if you can call it that, is that the business of book-selling is not magic. On-demand printers, if they're smart, structure their deal so that they make out whether your book sells or not. Thus, they charge you a variety of set-up fees, essentially preparation fees for creating the digital file of your book, and then they keep a large portion of any sales (80% is typical), returning the remainder to you. In this respect, on-demand printers act like publishers, although their return to you is a little larger than the standard royalty. Still, if your book takes off, the small return means that you won't make back your set-up fee for a long time. Fortunately, on-demand printers part company with classic publishers in that they buy only limited rights from you. Thus, if your book takes off, you can take back control of the process, get your books conventionally printed at a much lower unit cost, and make your bundle. Another thing to watch: on-demand printers often promise to get you into various distribution channels:, wholesalers, and the like. This is a useful service that novice publishers often confuse with marketing. It isn't. More about that another time. Please email any comments. See Graphics West for more info.