Before Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press, print-on-demand (POD) was all there was. You showed up at a printer’s with your plume-written manuscript, gave him a few coins (or maybe a chicken) and rode your donkey back home to wait for him to phone you and tell you your book was ready. Then a few days later you would ride back on your donkey and find out for yourself whether it was ready because the telephone also hadn’t been invented yet.
Print-on-demand is as easy as shelling peas. Okay, I know this isn’t a pea pod but I couldn’t find a free photo of one online.
Suddenly Gutenberg appeared on the scene with his fancy movable type and old-school printers went out of business. But now, thanks to CreateSpace, Lulu, Blurb and others, self-published authors like yours truly can offer printed books without any upfront financial investment. POD is great for small or one-off print-runs because the setup costs are very low compared to traditional offset printing. There’s also no need to commit to printing a certain quantity of books that may end up being unsold.
I only recently discovered just how easy it is to create a book using CreateSpace so I’ve decided to offer a print version of Silent Symmetry. I’m sure that Lulu and Blurb are easy to use too, but CreateSpace has the added advantage of providing free distribution on Amazon, whereas the others distribute books on their own sites which have far, far fewer potential readers.
My amazing cover designer Alex Nereuta made my front cover print-ready and designed a back cover. This brings me to another advantage of POD: you can create a new edition very quickly. For example, Silent Symmetry’s back cover features this blurb: “#1 on Amazon’s free Kindle ebook Futuristic & Sci-Fi Romance chart!” If ever I want to put a different blurb I just need to ask Alex super-duper nicely to change it and resend me the cover pdf, then upload it to CreateSpace and voilà – from that moment on any new purchasers of the book will receive the updated version.
This guy totally ruined POD for several centuries.
A digital proof is free and I’m glad I took that step because I spotted one minor formatting error. Once that was corrected and a new digital proof checked, I ordered a printed proof which costs around $10, shipping included. This is a necessary step because something could be wrong with the printed version that is undetectable in the digital proof, such as how the cover photo looks. But hopefully all will be well and I’ll be able to press the Publish button. Then I’ll furiously refresh the book’s Amazon page throughout the day to see if anyone has bought it. Okay, not that last part.
One thing’s for sure: I’ll by posting a link on this blog to the Amazon page for the print version of Silent Symmetry as soon as it’s available.
Photo credit: janine berben / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND