Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Basics Everyone Should Know about POD

by The bookhitch Staff

Printing books on demand, or POD, is a rising trend within the publishing industry as it is a quick, and easy method to get your work printed. There are many websites, books, and companies gearing their work towards helping authors print, edit and market their books all offering unique services. But, there are still many individuals out there caught like a deer in the headlights waiting to be hit with their “big deal”. So, here is some basic information to consider when entering the POD market.

Printing Know-How

POD, is exactly what it sounds like, printing. Many writers who approach companies, whether they are online or brick and mortar, do not fully grasp the concept that their work is being printed…not edited. Save yourself some time and money:

Get Quotes: Only ask for a quote when you have a final, edited, copy of your file in print ready format. Meaning, have your PDF files of both your body text and cover in hand (so to speak) when asking for quotes.

It is advisable to request a quote via e-mail, so that you have it on record, and dated.

Know your page count.

Know what size you would like your book.

Price breaks are given for larger quantities (usually 50, 100, 500), so ask for numerous per book prices.

Specify if you have any pages in your text that need to be printed in color.

DO NOT submit word documents to a printer for one simple reason: they can be changed. Submit your text and cover in PDF format, as it is hard to change words. And, remember to embed your fonts into the files when you are creating them, format each page to the correct final trim size and then add some bleed.

If you are submitting pictures in either your text or cover file (or both), then make sure they are high resolution. Meaning that they should be at least 300 dpi (dots per inch) so that they are of clear picture quality, the higher the resolution, the clearer the picture will be.

When printers show you an unbound proof of your text and cover (advisable), go through it! Don’t just assume that the files were perfect, check for re-flow problems, and that your chosen fonts are still present.

Always ask for information on any extra programs the company may offer.

Don’t get angry with a Customer Service Representative (CSR), and don’t be afraid to ask questions! If you have to make a lot of corrections to your files after they are submitted, your estimated printing date may be jeopardized so always be prepared and submit your work to be printed at least a month before any events.

Marketing Know-How

Marketing is one of those words that is a mystery to many, and is often (unfortunately) directly associated with advertising. So, let’s go back to marketing 101 and work our way forward. The basics can be condensed to Product, Price, Promotion and Place, the 4 P’s of marketing, or the marketing mix. These are simple concepts that everyone should be familiar with in order sell a book, especially as the product and price aspects are self-explanatory. Place, or distribution, involves outlining where your book is going to be available, which directly ties into promotion, as your promotional efforts should be directing readers where they can buy your books. Promotion involves advertising, direct marketing, online marketing, sales promotion, public relations and personal selling. This is why many individuals who choose to market their own book say that writing it was the easy part!

Here are a few simple ways to market your book:

Market your book before you bring it to market. Your first print run should be advanced reader copies. You will need to send them to editors, bookstores, and interest groups. There are a few companies starting to offer this as a part of their print on demand package, for instance Bootstrap Publishing and there are other companies who offer to review your book, for example Reader Views. Doing a smaller print run allows you to see the quality of your chosen printer’s work.

Send out press releases and write articles…often. There are numerous free press release and article distribution sites for you to use, so use them. You can also submit articles to newsletters, and newspapers for inclusion.

Create your own website to promote your book, and yourself. Set-up a shopping cart feature so that readers can buy books directly from you. Also, it is advisable to list your book with distributors as it will increase awareness of your book, but direct readers to your site first to buy your book so that you get the money (versus sites that will take a percentage of your sales).

Utilize free services offered by websites, such as bookhitch.com, and list your book on as many websites as possible and list your website on as many websites as possible!

Blog, and use discussion forums to spread the word about your book, and to get some great advice.

Join reading and writing groups.

Print promotional business cards, and hand them out, or leave them everywhere. Along the same lines, create a signature blurb at the end of every e-mail message promoting your book.

Subscribe to newsletters, and read articles such as this one to get some great, free advice!

The POD business has made the book selling and printing business highly competitive as there are growing numbers of authors. It is up to you to distinguish your book, yourself and each marketing strategy from others as you plan your venture. Just remember the basics and go from there.

A Little FYI to get you started

Industry Jargon you should know:

ARC-Advanced Reader Copy

Re-Flow- When your text is changed and flows over to pages where it was not previously, words may be missing and fonts may also be changed (sometimes occurs when print ready files are made, or changes need to be made to them).

Newbie- Refers to a new author within the industry.

#- Refers to the weight of the paper you are having your text and cover printed on. This could be 50 Pound, 60 Pound and so on. The higher the “pound” amount, the thicker the paper will be.

The Book Hitch

5 comments:

Griefcase said...

Great article, Yvonne.

And so chockful of solid information.

Wow. I can't thank you enough.

:)

tim said...

Yvonne:

Hmm...

OK, once again you've challenged me with the information you've provided. Now that I know at least a little about POD, I feel compelled to give thought to the actual process of writing a book...

It seems to happen quite often when I visit your site - you provide so many good resources and so much good information that it's hard to keep up.

Thanks for all the valuable help,

tim
http://medicalmigrant.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Yvonne,

Your blog is a sweet Find for freelance writers. It's such a wealth of wonderful information.

Thanks for sharing with all of us!

Suzanne Lieurance
The Working Writer's Coach
http://www.workingwriterscoach.com

Hope Wilbanks said...

Excellent post!! I needed this information, as I've been researching various methods of self-publishing. Thanks so much for sharing this!

Nancy said...

This is an interesting post. I went through P.O.D. publisher iUniverse, and unlike going directly through a POD company that just prints the books, they offer services such as copy-editing and custom print design. I also like what you have to say about marketing, it can be the most difficult part of the process. One thing that's been helpful is meeting other authors and sharing what we know.

A few of us that met online formed a group blog:

www.writersgroupblog.wordpress.com

I'd love to add a link to your site! Drop by, take a look, and leave a comment if you're interested. Thanks!