Friday, April 11, 2014

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly on POD Publishing

Print-on-demand publishing or POD publishing has changed the self-publishing industry and opened up new doors for thousands of authors everywhere.  Every has a story to tell, but before the process of physically being published held back many from achieving this feat. Authoring a book was simply an unattainable pipe dream, while people went on with their lives. The risks involved with self-publishing are nearly non existent and anyone and I mean anyone can have their story told. With self-publishing, the writer would have to find storage space for all the unsold copies of their book and pay a printer.  Now websites offer free services online and writers merely have to upload their formatted manuscript and design a cover, often with generic predetermined cover art and voila a novel is born and released into the vast space on the Internet. Most never really see the light of day, being sold to friends and family as e-books and a few print copies produced and the author can hold a copy of the novel in their hands for the first time and call themselves a writer. POD is a good thing for those 'writers' whose only goal is to see their work in print for themselves, but whose goals don't include seeing their work on shelves and in libraries. 

Creating a POD book sold online on Amazon or Barnes and Noble isn't enough for those who truly
wanted to be authors. In that case POD should only be used a a last resort in the publishing industry and before considering it as an option think carefully at what you hope to achieve as a writer. Traditional publishing companies will rarely pick up a book that has already been available to the public. Traditional publishing companies will take months to get back to a writer and sometimes, they never do but have patience and hold off clicking the publish button on a POD version until the option has been exhausted. There will be a lot of rejection as a writer, way more than acceptance and to be an author means having thick skin and knowing how to handle criticism.  If one place sends a rejection letter, try another, then another and rework the manuscript, make changes and try again. Writers with the funds to self publish would be better off with a reputable vanity publisher. This isn't the best option but will guarantee the work will go through an editing process, get formatted and placed in book stores.  

POD publishing has a bad reputation in the publishing industry for many reasons and it mostly comes down to the fact anyone can publish a book for free. When choosing this option, be aware of the common mistakes and edit, edit, edit!  It's probably best to go ahead and hire an editor, it will save some embarrassment.  Triple check the formatting and do some leg work.  With POD it's not impossible to be in brick and mortar bookstores, just much harder.  Many local shops will pick up writers in the area and libraries will take copies.  All it takes is some dedication and some people skills.

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