Print books for indie authors

I want to say a few things about print books for indie authors, because the subject keeps coming up on social media.

In the first place, a lot of people seem irrationally attached to the print medium. Yes, there are bookshops, and yes, this is probably the most visible way in which you can see books being sold, but there is an extensive stitched up (by the trad industry, that is) mechanism behind bookshop supply. If you self publish, getting on those shelves is difficult and unlikely to be profitable. It’s a lot of work and every party that handles the book wants a slice of the pie.

It is possible get print books in bookshops, especially if you have a non-fiction book, if you have a book that has local appeal, or you know that the bookshop owner is amenable to trying new books.

But it’s hard, and a lot of work.

So, let’s divorce ourselves from the attachment to dead trees.

Because honestly, I still see people under the impression that if they selfpublish, they need to do a print run for 500 or 1000 copies, only for them to rot in the garage. Please do not do this.

These days, we have print on demand companies that will print one copy, and send it to a nominated address. You could do this manually through IngramSpark, who will also print batches of books for taking to conferences. Companies like Lulu and Bookvault have apps that will take the customer’s details and calculate postage for your website.

Put these apps in your Woocommerce or Shopify website and the only thing you have to do is pay for the production costs of the book.

For a self published fiction author, ebook sales is really where it’s at. More than 99% of your book sales are likely to be in ebook. Capitalise on this, because ebooks cost nothing to produce after the file is done. They make you more profit than print books. You don’t have to keep updating your prices when print prices rise. You don’t have to make difficult decisions about whether to allow returns or not. The Overdrive Libby app even allows you to be in libraries.

Ebooks are awesome. Offer print only if you can do so for little extra cost, and please use POD companies, at least in the beginning, until you’re confident that you can sell a print run.

Selfpublishing Unboxed

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