Should You Ever Print Your Book On Demand?

Make Paperbacks with CreateSpace: Sell More Books on AmazonThis guest post is by Reedsy writer, Desiree Villena.

In this digital day and age, it can be hard to know whether printing physical books is a worthwhile endeavor, when ebooks have become so prominent and accessible for readers. As an ebook entrepreneur, you probably haven’t spent much time considering the possibilities of printing your book on demand. After all, why spend money on additional design work and printing costs when ebooks are so much easier to format and distribute?

However, some authors may not realize the unique advantages of printed books, especially if you’re an indie author who could benefit from a bit of above-and-beyond marketing! That’s not to say printing on demand is a wise choice for every indie author, only that you shouldn’t rule it out. To that end, here are four reasons you might consider printing on demand, at least for a limited run — along with a few final considerations for those of you on the fence.

You should consider printing your book on demand if…

1. You struggle to attract early reviews

Because reviews provide concrete social proof that other readers will enjoy your book, it’s crucial to have them as soon as possible, or else readers may hesitate to buy it. In order to display reviews on your Amazon and Goodreads pages in the first days of your book launch, you’ll need to attract early reviews from a handful of reliable people.

Yes, it’s true some ebook authors find it easy to rake in tons of reviews. But more often than not it’s a serious challenge, especially when there aren’t any current reviews urging people to pick up your ebook (you might think of it as a positive feedback loop). The good news is it only takes a couple of reviews to get the ball rolling… and this is where print-on-demand comes in.

Sending physical copies of your book to select reviewers can be incredible in terms of convincing them to write and post reviews as soon as your book comes out. Not only is a physical book more aesthetically appealing and difficult to ignore than an ebook, but reviewers who receive them will be touched by the gesture, making them more likely to reciprocate with a review. (Pro tip: check out this directory of book review blogs to find reviewers who might appreciate a physical copy!)

2. You’re attending a writing conference soon

You may also benefit from printing a small number of books if you’re attending a writing conference anytime soon. Between panels and workshops, you’ll mingle with other authors and publishing professionals, and one of the most effective ways to network is to offer them a physical product — in this case, your book.

The logic tracks from the previous reason as to why this approach works so well. A printed book is a beautiful, tangible representation of yourself as an author, and giving it to someone is much more memorable than emailing them an EPUB or MOBI (though you should still have this option available). In addition, having physical copies on hand signals to literary agents and publishers present that you’re serious about your work, and take great care to present it well.

Needless to say, if you’re in pursuit of a traditional publishing deal, the stakes are high at writing conferences — hence why you should at least consider the potentially career-changing tactic of handing out printed books.

3. You want something more to offer devoted fans

On the other hand, if you’re committed to self-publishing (as most ebook authors are), you may already have a foundation of loyal readers to help you thrive. If this is the case, the third reason to consider printing on demand is simply to maintain that loyalty. Not that you wouldn’t be able to do so with ebooks alone! But from the perspective of a fan, being able to order a newly minted physical book from an author you love — whose work has heretofore existed only as ebooks — would be pretty cool, right?

So if you’ve established a strong fanbase, and especially if you’re writing a series of books, think about printing your next title on demand for readers to buy. You’re almost guaranteed to get at least a couple orders; plus your biggest fans won’t mind paying a little extra for a physical copy, so you can increase the price a bit from the ebook price. (Royalty percentages are another story, but hey, you’re hopefully not doing this entirely for the money.)

You might even combine this reason with reason #1 and send printed — and signed! — copies to your especially huge fans, with the aim of accumulating those invaluable early reviews. Not only are they more likely to have positive feedback, but again, the personal gesture will solidify them as a fan forever.

4. You’d just like a physical copy or two

All that said, you don’t need a specific, calculated reason to print your book on demand. As long as you can afford it, you can print your book anytime you want! You may simply want to hold a physical copy of your book in your own hands. If that’s your dream, don’t wait until you have a “good reason” — in the words of Nike, just do it.

You may find it gratifying to print your book for family and friends. Yes, they’ll all be proud of you for publishing in the first place… but won’t they be even more excited to see your book in the flesh? To that end, it’s never a bad idea to have a few printed copies available to give as gifts. (Not to mention that, if you want to get a sense of how other people will perceive it, reading a physical copy of your book will give you fresh eyes!)

Reasons not to print on demand

This post has covered a few common reasons to consider printing your book on demand. But these reasons depend on fairly specific situations, and if you’re unlikely to encounter any of these in the imminent future, I wouldn’t blame you for sticking to ebooks.

Also, even if the aforementioned reasons do apply to you, there are still potential drawbacks to printing on demand. Cost is perhaps the most prohibitive — not just the cost of the printing itself, but also for a spine and back cover design (which you obviously don’t need for an ebook) and reformatting the text of your book in a print-friendly manner. If your budget is already stretched, it may be best to refrain from printing your book for now.

Another consideration is which print-on-demand service you use, and the reality that you can never be 100% sure what your proofs will look like until you get them. If the spine bleeds, the text is off-kilter, the pages are too thin, or any of countless other issues arise, you may have to pay for another round of printing or opt for a different service altogether.

Finally, if you’re still tweaking your book — for example, if you published a slightly rough ebook and plan to revise the current version after an editor takes a look — then you’ll definitely want to hold off on printing it. Typos in an ebook are bad enough, but typos in a physical book are dire; they practically leap off the page and poke you in the eye.

Even if you’re not worried about typos, you never know if you might want to redesign your cover, or change a certain plot element that you regret. If you feel at all uncertain about the contents of your book, you’re definitely better off waiting to print it — rather than manifesting that uncertainty into an inescapable (unless you pull a Fahrenheit 451) physical form.

***

Desiree Villena is a writer with Reedsy, a platform that connects authors with the world’s best resources to help them publish a book. She’s very passionate about self-publishing in particular and making it possible for authors everywhere to achieve their dreams! In her spare time, Desiree enjoys reading contemporary fiction and writing short stories.


HomeAuthor Help VideosHow To GuidesNovels About


My Babelcube Experience (part 3) Translated Paperbacks with CreateSpace

Babelcube CreateSpace paperbackThe plan for part 3 on Babelcube was scheduled for sales, but translated paperbacks just became an option deserving a look. It’s a logical step since Draft2Digital is their main distributor. D2D has included the choice of a CreateSpace paperback on top of ebooks to retailers. It also makes sense because ebooks aren’t mainstream in many nations, so having a translated print version might be wise. Sales will be pushed to part 4 while we talk paper now. (also see Part 1 and Part 2 on Babelcube experience)

Using the automated system, making a paperback with CreateSpace via Babelcube is an absolutely bare bones experience, nothing like making one directly through CreateSpace yourself. The current system has a long way to go if it wants to produce quality looking paperbacks, but there is some good news which we’ll get to.

(Save 92% Format MS Word for CreateSpace)

The problem with the automated system is because Babelcube and D2D simply upload the ebook version formatted for print with a program that is below reasonable expectations, so the opening page of the print book is likely to be a Table of Contents and it continues downhill from there. Page 2 of my TOC was numbered with the author name in the header as you can see in the photo below.

Babelube CreateSpace translations

Their system makes choices for trim size, font, layout, you name it, not allowing for personal preferences. Here’s another example below where the conversion process oddly assigned a page break after a first line that translates to Part 2, then was followed by a couple paragraph returns, then the chapter title and then the chapter text, which are obviously missing.

Babelube CreateSpace translations 2

That page should have looked like the one below, which is from my formatting.

Babelube CreateSpace translations 3

However, the good news is you can supply and upload your own PDF interior and cover files, which is clearly the way to do this. You will need to be familiar with formatting interiors and covers with CreateSpace beforehand because you won’t have access to the CS digital previewer through Babelcube.

My advice is to first create the book yourself at CreateSpace, even as a mock draft, so you can use the digital previewer and order a physical proof if you want. You won’t be legally allowed to publish it that way since it would be against Babelcube’s terms of service. But at least you’ll feel confident once you do submit those interior and cover files to Babelcube, which will hand them off to D2D which will hand them off to CreateSpace which will publish them into paperbacks and place them on Amazon. As soon as it’s available, order a copy and double-check it matches your original.

What do you think, is this worth the effort especially without being able to use the CS previewer? For the right author and the right book, perhaps. Please share any comments.


Subscribe to this blog for updates on indie authors and self-publishing.

add me to Google Plus circles


HomeVideosHow-To GuidesNovelsAbout


Ready for 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest?

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2014It’s January. That means the annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest is right around the corner. ABNA Grand Prize is an advance of $50,000 and a publishing contract with Amazon. How did that work out for last year’s winner, author Rysa Walker of Timebound? Her book has well over a thousand reviews and is still the #36 best selling paid book at Amazon. Sounds like it’s doing pretty well.

Four First Prize winners will also get an Amazon Publishing contract and a $15,000 advance. There are other prizes as well but you must enter between Feb 16th and March 2nd–only 10,000 entries, which should go fast due to the explosion of Indie author books. Amazon Publishing will be tremendous exposure, plus it will get print books into bookstores. Factor in the international Amazon expansion that’s going gangbusters–well, you get the picture. Open to new books and previously self-published titles provide you maintain worldwide distribution rights. Click for FAQs.

Genres include: General Fiction, Mystery/Thriller, Science Fiction/Fantasy/, Horror, Romance, Young Adult Fiction.

You must register at CreateSpace.com/abna to enter the Contest. Once you have registered, follow the instructions on the entry form and upload: (1) the complete version of your manuscript that is between 50,000 and 125,000 words (“Manuscript“); (2) up to the first 5,000 words, but not less than 3,000 words, of your Manuscript, excluding any table of contents, foreword, and acknowledgments (“Excerpt“); (3) a pitch of your Manuscript consisting of up to 300 words (“Pitch“); and (4) the personal information required on the entry form. (1-4 collectively, an “Entry“). We will not review any Entry that does not comply with these Official Rules.

The ABNA contest is open to unpublished and self-published novels. Authors can submit their work in one of the following categories: general fiction; mystery/thriller; romance; science fiction/fantasy/horror; and young adult fiction. For complete eligibility details, review the Official Contest Rules.

No fees to enter, a nice feature for a book contest imo. What are your thoughts?


HomeAuthor Training VideosHow-To GuidesNovelsAbout


 

Subscribe to this blog for updates on indie authors and self-publishing.

add me to Google Plus circles

CreateSpace Marketing Plan Webinar 3-21-2013

CreateSpace logoNeed some ideas to sell more CreateSpace paperbacks? Listen to a live webinar hosted by CS featuring book marketing consultant, Brian Jud. It’s on Thursday, March 21 at 4pm EST. From CS:

In this webinar, you will discover unique and practical ways to increase your book sales through marketing planning. Brian Jud will show you how to create effective promotion strategies that are especially effective for authors who are marketing books while still working a “day job.” Brian also will describe strategies for those interested in creating or growing their own publishing business. Join us to learn actionable tactics to reach new markets and promote your books economically in a competitive environment.

Register today

P.S. Space is limited, so plan to arrive early to secure your spot. Can’t attend live? Don’t worry – we’ll be recording the presentation and posting it in CreateSpace Resources. For an update on when it will be available, register for the webinar.

Click here for the home page of How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks All for Free.
Subscribe to this blog for updates on what Indie authors can do to sell ebooks.

Bookmark and Share


add me to your Google Plus circles.

+Jason Matthews author

Hugh Howey Wool Interview with Jason Matthews

Ever wonder what’s it like to be an Indie author and sell over 200,000 books? That’s what happened to Hugh Howey, author of the Wool series and the Molly Fyde series. Hugh sat with me on the weekly Indie Authors show at HangoutNetworks.com and discussed writing, publishing, movie contracts, agents and his decision to remain independent even though his books are #1 on Amazon in several categories. A must see video for indie writers and fans alike.

Share your thoughts and comments.

Home page of How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks.
Subscribe to this blog for updates for indie authors and self publishing.

add me to Google Plus circles +Jason Matthews

%d bloggers like this: