Mystery Writers Forum

The Business of Writing => Publishers => Topic started by: MTH on July 14, 2008, 05:07:20 PM

Title: Publish on Demand publishers
Post by: MTH on July 14, 2008, 05:07:20 PM
Anyone have experience with POD publishers? I hadn't even heard about this until recently. I guess if one takes your manuscript they wait for someone to want to buy a copy and then print it?
Michele
Title: Re: Publish on Demand publishers
Post by: Dave Freas on July 14, 2008, 10:30:04 PM
Yes, that's exactly how they work.  A buyer orders the book (through Amazon, for example) and the publisher prints it.

A friend of mine did 2 books through a POD publisher.  He had a good experience overall both times.  Both books were well-made with good cover art, quality printing, and no typos that I observed.

The down-side is he had to do a lot of the work a normal publisher usually handles himself (create his own cover art, for one).  He also had to do all his own promotion--set up signing dates, run ads in local papers, etc.  When he did a signing, he had to buy his books from the publisher (at a small discount) then sell them to buyers at the signing.

As I said, he had a good experience with his POD publisher.  But I've heard other POD houses (I'm sorry I don't remember any of the names, good or bad) are real nightmares.  Perhaps someone else on the forum can give more specifics on individual houses.  I guess the best advice here would be Caveat Emptor.

Hope this helps a little

Dave
Title: Re: Publish on Demand publishers
Post by: MTH on July 15, 2008, 11:03:31 AM
Most interested in one called Second Wind publishing. The cover art is no problem since I'm an artist. The other stuff you mentioned doesn't sound worse than what I have already gone through with what agents want in the form of query letter format, synopsis format, etc. etc. etc. Rather than going through that again, I would rather spend my time on publicity, in fact I'd rather spend time at a dentist's office...
Title: Re: Publish on Demand publishers
Post by: B L McAllister on July 16, 2008, 12:09:15 PM
Anyone have experience with POD publishers? I hadn't even heard about this until recently. I guess if one takes your manuscript they wait for someone to want to buy a copy and then print it?
Michele

POD usually stands for "print on demand," though it's sometimes misread as "publish on demand."  Apparently some--perhaps all--POD printers will have a sideline as POD publishers, and you just go to their websites (google "print on demand" -- just googling POD leads to too much irrelevant stuff) and read the conditions.  In that case it's a form of self-publishing. There are also publishers that, provided they like your work and also see something in it for themselves, will use your rich text format (or, for some, various other formats), and publish, meaning they do the hard labor (e.g. cover art; putting into pdf form, etc.) for you and then contract actual production to a POD printer. That's quita analogous to what a major publisher would do.  However, books produced POD aren't likely to show up on the shelves of the big chains, and the smaller bookstores have to become aware of them somehow, so your problems aren't ended there.  Bias against POD is fading, but only a little.  My own three novels are POD,  produced by Cambridge Books (of Cambridge MD, not Cambridge University; it's a branch of Write Words, Inc. which is also tied to the epublisher http://www.ebooksonthe.net). They published all three as e-books first, then did the POD thing, and arranged for the books to be sold, in one or othe of these two forms, on a number of websites, e.g. Amazon.  They haven't been really good at setting up foreign sales, except, of course, that foreigners can order through the US Amazon but only limitedly from Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.jp, etc., none of which, apparently, is able to do the POD thing for these books in their home country. They collect funds, take a reasonable cut, and send me royalties, which, since I'm not a good advertiser nor salesman, are always small.  They don't have their own advertising budget.  Some  POD companies apparently do advertise, but I'm not sure of this and don't know of one.  Self-publishing can cost money, and not all self-published work is very good, so the book industry's bias against self-publishing is simple self-protection.  The bias against non-self-published POD has a different source: conventional publishing suckered itself into accepting massive returns, which is quite impracticable for POD books; the price, even using those glorious POD machines, of producing one or just a few copies is higher--on a per copy basis--than the price available in huge press runs, so the books list for more; some POD books come to bookstores at a smaller discount than do conventionally printed ones; lack of huge advertising budgets in the companies that do POD means less chance of huge sales at retail.  Some of these are simply variations on or analogues of problems conventional printings yield, but that doesn't eliminate the bias.  I may have told you all I know, at this point.  (My latest royalty check, as I recall, is about $17 for the quarter just ended, unusually large; but then no form of mystery writing leads one directly to riches unless one is a celebrity, and I'm not.  Even so, if you write well enough and if you last long enough, it may be possible to make money and if you're writing for the fun of it or because you can't help it, it doesn't matter. ) Good luck.
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