I’ve been looking for something fun to talk about, but I’ve hit a dry spell. It’s not for lack of fun in my life. Well, maybe that’s something to consider. On the other hand there’s some really fun stuff, but I can’t talk about it yet. And the other fun stuff isn’t germane to publishing. After all, no one really cares if I can touch the tip of my nose with my tongue after only one glass of wine.
So in the interests of keeping some semblance of professionalism, I thought I’d dive into the murky waters of the POD publisher. Why? Because this has to be the single most confusing entity that confounds many writers when they begin the submission process.
There’s a lot of meat here, so I’m going to break this up into a small series. This will serve the dual purpose of making me look terribly prolific and the information easier to digest.
There are different types of publishers – define the goal of your book before you research
· Commercial – Random House, Bloomsbury, Simon and Schuster, Behler (on a vastly smaller scale).
· POD – Print on Demand – many small presses are POD due to lack of $$.
· Vanity – pay to play – Xlibris, AuthorHouse – can cost thousands
· Self Publish – you are the publisher. This means you’re responsible for walking your manuscript through the entire process of publication. Not for the faint of heart. Advisable that you drink heavily should you take this course.
What is POD Publishing?
Print on Demand is both a business plan and printing method. Don’t confuse the two. The printing method is simply one where short runs are made digitally rather than offset – numbers smaller than 1,000. This allows for good quality books (depending upon the digital printer) to be printed for an affordable price. Great for printing up galleys to send to reviewers.
This technology gave way to the Print on Demand business plan, which isn’t as innocuous because it’s ruled by the lack of a Budget. Most POD companies have zero dollars and depend on their authors to be their own distributors, meaning the authors are responsible for virtually everything after the book is printed. This includes all sales, advertising, reviews, marketing and promotion. In the POD paradigm, money always flows to the publisher, not the author because the author is forced to buy his own books from the publisher at often inflated prices in order to sell the books. The publisher ALWAYS wins. The author often loses because he buys books with the intent of making huge sales. What he ends up with are cases of books in his garage.
Disclaimer: I’m talking generalities here. There are a number of pretty good POD companies out there. While they still adhere to the points I’ll be writing about, they’re honest about who they are and what they can and can’t do for their authors.