Print on demand options for self-publishers

Lightning Source International, IngramSpark, and CreateSpace are all print on demand (POD) printers as well as distributors. Not only are they able to print your book, but they can distribute it to wholesalers such as Ingram. Ingram, just like Baker and Taylor, is one of the largest book wholesalers in the world and is responsible for making your book available to retailers. Both Lightning Source International (LSI) and IngramSpark (IS) are owned by Ingram whereas CreateSpace (CS) is owned by Amazon.

RELATED ARTICLE:
Reasons Why Publishers Should Use Lightning Source

Bookstores usually won’t order books through CS because they aren’t returnable. So what makes them so popular? Well, CS is primarily used by self-publishing authors because they are cheaper and easier to use. CS will issue you one of their own ISBN numbers so that you can publish the book under your own name making it more affordable and less time-consuming for the author. The only downside is that CS will list their name as the publisher which will automatically deter bookstores from carrying the book because it sends a message that you are a self-publisher and bookstores don’t like to work with self-publishers.

Note: LSI and IS are probably better routes to take due to their higher print quality, the option for returns, and their wide distribution channels since CS only distributes to Amazon (unless you sign up for their expanded distribution channel) and LSI distributes to Amazon, BN.COM, Books-A-Million, and many others.

Now, if you’ve narrowed it down to LSI and IS, keep in mind that LSI doesn’t accept self-publishing authors and therefore directs them to IS. If you like the benefits of LSI, but are not willing to start your own publishing company (LLC, purchasing ISBN’s, dba, etc), then go with IS. I’ve worked with LSI and IS and their interface is similar although IS is slightly easier and cheaper. Another major difference is their distribution for print versus digital. LSI has a better distribution channel for paperbacks and hardcovers, but IS is better for eBooks. Also, LSI have more print and binding options than IS.

RELATED ARTICLE:
Lightning Source or IngramSpark?

One of the drawbacks with LSI is that Amazon occasionally lists their books as ‘temporarily out of stock’ which is bad for business. Some authors have chosen CS just to avoid stocking issues.

A FEW MORE THINGS TO CONSIDER
Going with LSI doesn’t guarantee that your book will be carried by bookstores. It only increases your chances especially if you offer a 40% or higher discount. You would still need to call every bookstore one by one and encourage them to purchase your book. Also, you must have a strong author presence online and in your community, regardless of the route you take.

RELATED ARTICLE:
Ways to Publish Your Book


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About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Ways to publish your book

As an author, it is imperative that you understand the different routes of publishing and how they can benefit or limit your writing career.  If you want creative control, flexibility, and to keep all of the profits from your book, then self-publishing might be a better route for you.  If you want to sell tons of books and gain popularity fairly quickly, then traditional publishing might be a better choice for you.  We will discuss the different options that are currently available for new authors.  Before attempting any of the below, develop your author platform way in advance to publishing.

RELATED ARTICLE:
Ways to Promote Your Book

TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING

Traditional publishing is when the publisher offers the author a contract in order to print, publish, and distribute their book to wholesalers, bookstores, and libraries.  The publisher purchases the rights to sell your book and in turn you receive an advance and a royalty check for each book sale.  The larger the publisher, the greater the advance.  Keep in mind, traditional publishers aren’t as flexible with their contract terms and you may lose some of the creative control over your book.  On a positive note, you will gain popularity quickly, you will sell tons of books, and your book will be displayed on various bookshelves and stores across the world.  LASTLY, THE AUTHOR PAYS NOTHING!

If you are interested in traditional publishing, it is almost mandatory that you find a literary agent.  The best resource to find agents in your particular genre can be found here.  Before you solicit agents, make sure that you draft your query letter and synopsis as part of your submission packet.  Your query letter should include your pitch, a brief summary of your book, and a description of yourself.  Query letters are normally one page long and can become a task within itself.  Condensing your 50+page manuscript into a refined one page query, is no easy task. Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript is one of the many guides that are out there to help.


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INDEPENDENT AND SMALL PRESS PUBLISHING (also known as indie publishing)

Independent publishing is similar to traditional publishing, but just on a smaller scale.  They are not considered one of the five large conglomerates or multinational corporations such as: Random House, HarperCollins, etc and they usually specialize in one or two genres or small markets.  They offer contracts and royalties, but depending on the size of the company, an advance might be out of the question.  The good thing is… it is easier to get signed with an indie publisher rather than a traditional publisher, but the downside is… that their distribution channels or marketing campaigns aren’t as great plus you won’t have access to the top-notch staff members that the big five have access to.  The publisher purchases the rights to sell your book and in turn you receive a royalty check for each book sale.  They are more flexible with their contract terms and you don’t lose as much creative control as you would with traditional publishing. BUT AGAIN, THE AUTHOR PAYS NOTHING!

RELATED ARTICLE:
Ways to Grow Your Indie Publishing Company

SELF-PUBLISHING

Under self-publishing there are four models which include: self-publishing, print-on-demand, vanity press, and subsidy press.  Please take the time to understand which option is best for you.  Even though these options are becoming more popular everyday, libraries and bookstores are skeptical in carrying books that have been self-published.  KEEP IN MIND, THE AUTHOR IS RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYING A FEE – EITHER MOST OF IT OR ALL OF IT!

1. Self-publishing – Self-publishers pay for everything – editing, printing, distribution, marketing, etc.  With this route, you have the option of using print-on-demand services OR off-set printing.  You can hire a book designer to design the cover and layout of your book, and then send it to a printer for binding and printing.  You are then responsible for distributing and marketing your book to either online bookstores like Amazon.com or BN.com or selling your book at book fairs.  If you choose POD printing, then places like Createspace and Lightning Source will distribute your book to Amazon.com or BN.com for an additional fee.  If you want your book in indie bookstores, then you would need to market and network on your own.  Keep in mind, that popular bookstores like Target, Barnes and Noble, Costco, Walmart, etc rarely carry self-published books.  With this route, you won’t sell as many books right away, but you obtain creative control.  YOU PAY FOR EVERYTHING!

2. Vanity press – also known as a book manufacturer, will publish your book for a fee.  They will print, publish, and sometimes distribute your book for you, but rarely do they offer any editing or marketing services.  Some authors complain that their fees are expensive, also that they don’t offer the assistance that the author needs, and that their work is sub-par.  With this route, you are able to obtain all rights to your book and keep the profits from each sale.  YOU PAY FOR EVERYTHING!

3. Subsidy press – as with a vanity press, they will publish your book for a fee.   They will print, publish, and distribute your book for you, and will assist with editing and marketing as well.  Some authors complain that their fees are expensive and that their work is sub-par.  If you decide on a subsidy press, remember, that they own the rights to your book plus you are paid a royalty as the book sells.  YOU PAY FOR SOME!

4. Print-on-demand – POD publishers pretty much take everyone who has the money to pay.  They primarily deal with the binding and printing of the book, but for an additional fee, they can assist with the book design and layout.  They only print books as customers purchase them (due to high technology printers), which helps new authors save money.  The cost per book is more expensive than off-set printing (which requires you to purchase a lot of books all at once), but at least you won’t have a garage full of books that you are unable to sell.  Check out Createspace, IngramSpark, LuLu, and Lightning Source for more information.  Keep in mind, this route is similar to self-publishingit is more about which style of printing your prefer.  YOU PAY FOR EVERYTHING!

Need more information, check out the Writer’s Market.


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About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Building Voices CEO Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva at Encino Charter Elementary

The goal of every publisher is to make sales, but what happens to the desire to inspire people and better our communities? Often, this goal is lost and buried due to the ups and downs and stringent demands of running a successful business.

Broccoli Chronicles

Building Voices currently doesn’t have the box office sales that we were hoping for, but we do have 13 positive Amazon reviews, several invitations to attend school events, and tons of happy customers to prove that our community supports our efforts. The positive feedback from followers on Facebook and Twitter and also parents and children from various book signing events has been remarkable.

Our first book, Broccoli Chronicles, sold more copies than the other books we’ve published. It’s something about Myrtle’s quirky smile and her love of broccoli that draws people in. Broccoli Chronicles has been selected as a finalist in Foreword Reviews’ 2014 ‪‎INDIEFAB‬ Book of the Year Awards! This was such an accomplishment for our company as well as for me and my career.

Building Voices CEO Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva at Encino Charter Elementary

I know you’re probably wondering why we are gaining so much love and support. Well, it’s the message that we are sending to parents, teachers, librarians, and educational officials that the voice of children matter. Our goal is to educate one mind and build one voice at a time. We believe our books will entertain, inspire, and build the future voices of this world. Kids love Broccoli Chronicles

This article was published in the July 2015 issue of the IBPA’s Independent Magazine.


paperback or ebook blog post at taneekabdasilva.com

Paperback vs. ebook is a popular topic that seems to have many audience members divided.  Some like the touch and feel of crisp pages whereas others like the convenience of downloading their favorite book wherever and whenever they like.

Check out the following articles and weigh in on the pros and cons.

1. Paperback vs. ebook: the staging ground…

2. Paperback vs. ebook: War of Words

3. E-books vs. Paperbacks: Why digital wins, period

As a self-publisher, I think it’s a great idea to try both.  Consider starting off with an ebook version first and as customers demand for it, began phasing in a paperback version.  I have found that the costs of producing an ebook are a lot cheaper.  The fees to upload the file to a POD printer is significantly less, plus you eliminate extra costs such as ordering a proof which can run around $30 or so.  Regardless of the format you chose, make sure that you do your search and more importantly, don’t become so overwhelmed with your decision-making that you forget to actually publish your book!

Which do you prefer?  Paperback or ebook?  Please share your thoughts!

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About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Below are three reasons why you should and shouldn’t self publish!

REASONS TO SELF-PUBLISH

1. Longevity

2. Creative Control

3. Flexibility

 

REASONS TO NOT SELF-PUBLISH

1. If you are not able to multi-task and wear multiple hats.

2. If you lack vision and can’t see past your first manuscript.

3. If you do not desire to be in charge and be your own boss.

 

More to Read:

Is Self-Publishing Right For You? Question #4

Is Self-Publishing Right For You? Question #3

Is Self-Publishing Right For You? Question #2

Is Self-Publishing Right For You? Question #1

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Selecting a print on demand vendor can be challenging for any self-publisher or small press.

Which is better for you?  Lightning Source or IngramSpark?

Lightning Source is more designed for medium to large publishing companies whereas IngramSpark is more suitable for self-publishers.  Both vendors have a very similar online layout and submission requirement.

The major difference that I’ve noticed is between paperbacks and ebooks.  Lightning Source has a better distribution channel for paperbacks and IngramSpark has a better distribution channel for ebooks.  At first, I didn’t like the idea of having two different print on demand vendors to work with.  I wanted to list all of my titles with the same vendor.  I eventually went with Lightning Source for my paperbacks and IngramSpark for ebooks.

There are other vendors such as Lulu and Createspace so don’t hesitate to shop around and find what works for you.  I’ve had tons of success with Lightning Source and IngramSpark so I plan to continue publishing my titles with them.

Check out the following articles if you still have questions!

https://www1.ingramspark.com/Portal/IngramSpark

http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2013/11/news-update-should-you-use-lightning-source-or-ingram-spark/

http://www.selfpublishingadvice.org/watchdog-ingram-spark-vs-createspace-for-self-publishing-print-books/

http://www.hollybrady.com/createspace-vs-ingram-spark-how-they-stack-up

 

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


(Launching My Kickstarter Project: Round 2)

As a new indie publisher, I needed a way to cover start-up expenses for ISBNs, printing, corporation fees, memberships, and more. After I stumbled across Kickstarter.com, I took about two weeks to create my video, upload my files and showcase the highlights of my publishing company and my first children’s novel. On April 28, 2014, I introduced Building Voices to the world along with my first book, Little Kids, Big Voices: Broccoli Chronicles.

The day the project was launched, I sent letters and e-mails soliciting donations from friends and family members. Also, I sent a press release and posted frequently on Facebook and Twitter. I was extremely excited and I felt that I had covered all bases.

Unfortunately, what I raised was a whopping $450 instead of the $10,000 that was my goal. Sad, right?

At the end of the 30 day funding period, I realized my mistake. I had waited until the last minute to promote my project instead of beginning way in advance, giving potential donors enough time to research my organization and its merits.

Most people might have been deterred from using crowdfunding ever again. But not me. On June 16, I re-launched my Kickstarter project. I gave it a new title and uploaded some new illustrations for a little makeover.

You’re probably wondering why I didn’t wait a few months longer and develop a solid marketing campaign.

Yes, I probably should have, but I didn’t want to lose the support of the 11 backers who had donated the $450. So again, I sent letters and e-mails to friends and family and posted frequently on Facebook and Twitter.

I am glad to say that after another 30 days of intense marketing, my project was finally funded. What did I learn from this? I learned that when I fall, I need to dust myself off and get back up again.

This article was published in the October 2014 issue of the IBPA’s Independent Magazine.

RELATED ARTICLE: Launching My Kickstarter Project: Round 1


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About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.

Kickstarter.com is a crowd funding platform for entrepreneurs who wish to publish a book or to produce a movie, television show, CD and more.

I launched my first Kickstarter project on April 28, 2014.  It took about two weeks to upload the files and showcase the highlights of Building Voices, an independent publishing company that specializes in Children’s Fiction.  I included testimonials from professionals in the industry in addition to my bio and pictures of various speaking events.  Also, I provided the readers with the synopsis to my first book, Little Kids, Big Voices: Broccoli Chronicles.

The day the project was launched, I mailed out letters and sent out emails to friends and family members soliciting their donations.  Also, I sent out various press releases to daily and weekly newspapers in addition to making frequent Facebook and Twitter posts.  I was extremely excited and felt that I had covered all bases.  I eventually realized that I should have promoted my project and sent out my press release way in advance, giving everyone enough time to run my story.

Although my Kickstarter project wasn’t successful the first time around, I still plan to publish my book Little Kids, Big Voices: Broccoli Chronicles in December 2014.  I will relaunch my Kickstarter project again in June 2014, in hopes of raising enough money to secure my editor and illustrator.  This time around, I will focus more on my book rather than the company.

Check out: Launching My Kickstarter Project: Round 2

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