You’ve received your first half dozen ‘thanks but fuck you’ notes from publishers, agents and editors and you just can’t understand how the world could ignore such talent. You take heart in the fact the Beatles and J.K Rowling (left) were also rejected several times before they made it big but you just can’t wait.
So you resolve to self publish. You can borrow a couple of grand from your brother-in-law (sucker) and you know that if you can just get your book out there the world will lap it up.
OK, wake-up time. Before you commit someone’s life savings to printing up 1000 copies of your travel masterpiece consider just where you’re going to sell it. Well, there’s Bob, Susie – and Howard better buy a copy or I’ll ask him for the lawnmower back… Great. That’s your first three copies. Just another 397 or so until you break even.
It is possible to make a go of it by self publishing but you need a very good plan. You need to be so well organised that you can talk book shops into stocking it, drive the copies there yourself, arrange your own promotion, interviews and book reviews. Then you have to collect the money or unsold copies afterwards and meanwhile find somewhere to store the books.
Sound like a fulltime job? It is and you’re probably making next to nothing. It’s possible though but needs more thought and care than you’ve probably put into it. Really take into consideration what self publishing involves before you pay for the print run.
Self publishing can work well when you’re personally selling the book to people who might actually want to read it. If you’re on the road then travel books will always sell well in hostels and in alternative markets a stall with your own books might do okay if they’re presented well.
POD – Print On Demand Publishing
Print on demand publishing allows you to make your book available without investing any money in it. You simply upload your PDF file to http://www.lulu.com or perhaps better, http://www.createspace.com (owned by Amazon so they list it too) and then each time someone orders a copy they will print one, send it off in the post and pay you your royalties each month.
While you’re unlikely to make any big cash through POD sales, it is a good way to get a few copies of your book in your hands without investing in a big print run. Take them down to the nearest bar and see if you can sell any – if not then maybe you’ve saved your brother-in-law his life savings.
Ask him to send us $50 to say thanks.