The Benefits of Self Publishing Using POD Technology

This is an excerpt from the book Self Publishing for Virgins by Peggy DeKay.  Click here to download a PDF version of this article.

[note color=”#eedec5″]“The Web site [Amazon] is designed to help customers find books they didn’t know existed.” ~Greg Greeley, Amazon VP Media Products[/note]

Success Stories

It’s 4 p.m. and you hear a knock at your door, then the sound of steps walking away. You rush to the door and peek out, but see no one. Cautiously, you open the door to reveal an empty porch, except for a large, cardboard envelope. You pick up the envelope, rush inside and shut the door behind you. Can it be—the object you have been waiting for is finally here? You tear open the package and remove a beautiful perfect bound book. The cover is slick and glossy, covered with brilliant colors and the title is perfect (if you do say so yourself). Then you see it, at the bottom of the front cover under “By” is a name you recognize. Yours! Finally, what was once only a dream has become a reality, your reality. Now what seemed available to only the famous and privileged has come to you. You are a published author!

Why CreateSpace?

In this book, we will be using CreateSpace and print-on-demand (POD) technology to self-publish your book. I chose CreateSpace based on the following criteria: best functionality combined with ease of use, offered at the lowest price. My second consideration was the connection between Amazon.com and CreateSpace, which is a division of Amazon. This means that the integration between publishing with CreateSpace and listing your book for sale on Amazon is seamless—a significant advantage for the first-time, self-published author. I don’t get paid by CreateSpace or Amazon to say that. I have used CreateSpace to produce other books and I truly believe that they are the best fit for the first-time, self-published author.
[note color=”#eedec5″]Virgin’s Note
This year, author Raymond Bean self-published a book about a boy who is accused of stinking up his school. The book is called Sweet Farts. As his book rose in the Amazon rankings, it got the attention of two Asian publishers who offered him a deal, which prompted Amazon Encore to give him a sweeter deal! This is great news for Mr. Bean, but it is also great news for you. When you have a successful book that is selling a lot of copies, it will get noticed, people will buy it, and the fact that it is self-published won’t matter.[/note]

The POD Revolution

Do you remember a few years ago when the Japanese came up with an inventory concept called “just-in-time inventory?” It was all the rage in business books and still is today. The rationale of just-in-time inventory is that businesses can lower costs by keeping inventory levels as low as possible, then ordering new inventory just in time to fill the incoming orders.
POD works the same way. Authors who self-publish don’t have to buy 500 or 1,000 books upfront and store them in their garage. If you are looking at POD companies now and they are requesting an upfront, minimum order of 500 or more books—walk away.
As a self-published author using CreateSpace, there is no minimum purchase required and your book will automatically be listed for sale on Amazon.com.

Why Self Publish?

A better question is, “Why NOT self-publish?” The author who has his or her book published by a traditional publisher will make, on average, between one and two dollars in royalties per book sold. A self-published author can make three to eight times more profit per sale, depending on the circumstances of the sale. You can make more money while retaining creative control.
[note color=”#eedec5″]
Virgin’s Note
Another great benefit of self-publishing is that you can keep your book current and recover from errors more quickly with far less expense. When you have a typo in a traditionally published book, and it happens, you may have thousands of books already printed and stored in a warehouse. With self-publishing, you can take your book “out of print” electronically, fix the typo, reload the publication file and “re-publish” your book. Temporarily taking your book out of print to make a correction means you don’t have to live with the error until all of your books are sold.[/note]

Seven Key Benefits of Self-Publishing

  1. Bigger Profits – Traditional publishers pay you 10 to 12 percent royalties on each book sold. Self-published authors can make, depending on the type of sales transaction, up to 80 percent!
  2. Creative control – Your book is a reflection of who you are. With POD and self-publishing, you have control over the creative process and its outcome—your book.
  3. You Own Your Book – Traditional publishers buy the rights to your book; with self-publishing you retain the rights, a key factor in self-publishing.
  4. Shortened Time to Market – Take your book to market in weeks instead of months or years with a traditional publisher.
  5. Guaranteed Publication – You are no longer dependent on a traditional publishing industry that only wants to buy blockbuster books from celebrity authors.
  6. Entrepreneurialism – You, as the author, are free to market your book in any way you see fit. With inexpensive author copies, you can sell your book anywhere, anytime, and make money.
  7. Legacy – Your book is a part of your legacy. It is your mark on the world; your gift to those who love and believe in you.

 

Many traditional publishers expect the author to pay for a book tour. If you have to spend your dollars on marketing, shouldn’t you be getting the lion’s share of the profits? With self-publishing, you can.
Statistically, most self-published books are sold either online, through independent book stores or in non-traditional settings. As a self-published author, traditional book stores like Barnes & Noble are often the last place you will sell your book.
Here’s the reality. Whether you publish your book with a traditional publisher or self-publish, you will still have to market your book. You are going to be intricately involved in marketing your book anyway—so why not self-publish? As the author, you are the best and most enthusiastic promoter of your book. No one will care about your book as much as you do.
Have you ever wondered why you continue to hear more and more buzz around POD and self-publishing? Because it works! Authors have discovered the freedom, and the profitability that only self-publishing can give them.
Dan Poynter, a self-published author who has written more than 120 books, is often called the godfather of self-publishing. His first self-published book was about parachutes. It was rejected over and over again by traditional publishers because they felt the market for a book about parachutes wasn’t large enough to sustain profitable sales. He decided to self-publish his book instead and it became a prolific seller and is still selling today.
There are three factors that drive book sales in today’s self-publishing environment—speed, specialization and profit.

Speed, Specialization and Profit

Twenty years ago, the World Wide Web was new. People craved information, and while it was readily available on the Internet, most people didn’t have access. To meet the growing need for information, books were written with all-encompassing titles like “Everything You Will Ever Need to Know About …,” or “The Complete Guide to ….”
Fast forward to today. The information highway is now like the German Autobahn; if you can keep up, get on! With the proliferation of information and access, we now have a different problem—vast amounts of data at our fingertips that we have to sift through.
Enter the age of specialization. Today’s readers are looking for specific information and have a narrow focus. They don’t have time to sift through data irrelevant to their purpose. Have you been to the pet store lately? If you look at the magazine rack you will see a magazine for nearly every breed of dog or cat. Books are no different. This book, for example, is not just a book about how to self-publish; it is a book about to self-publish using CreateSpace. This is specialization and it works.
Modern readers, raised on immediate access to information of all types, want specific, subject-related information—now. This need has driven the dramatic rise of narrowly focused books or “niche” books.
As a self-published author, should you be excited about niche books? Yes. Here are a few examples of niche books that sold at least 50,000 copies.

BOOK TITLE NUMBER COPIES SOLD

Celtic Needlepoint 50,000
How to Live with a Neurotic Dog 60,000
Scrapbook Basics 60,000
From Panic to Power 72,000
Polish Your Furniture with Pantyhose 85,000
The Case of the Creator 150,000
Lawyers and Other Reptiles 150,000
Everyone Poops 500,000
South Beach Diet 7,429,000
The Prayer of Jabez 9,000,000
Figure 1.3 Figures taken from Marc McCutcheon’s book Damn! Why Didn’t I Write That?
Today there are 51 million iPhones/iPods/iPads; 100 million other smart phones; five million e-link devices and more than 30 million net book computers. All of these devices use and distribute information delivered to customers in books, print books and e-books.
Keep in mind that if a book is self-published and done properly, the profit margin is much greater than the royalty payment paid through a traditional publisher. This means that book sales of 5,000 copies of a self-published book may yield as much profit to the author as three to five times the sales using a traditional publisher.
There has never been a better time in the history of the world to be a self-published author.

What Type of Books Sell Best?

For every 180 books written and offered for sale each year, only 35 are works of fiction, or about one in five. Most books published today are non-fiction. These books and their huge sales numbers illustrate the power of the niche non-fiction book. Someone once said that to be successful in any business you must identify a need and then fill it. Niche book authors have successfully identified the needs and written the books that meet those needs.

Famous Self Published Authors

Self-publishing is an idea that has been around for a long time. Many authors, past and present, have self-published with astounding success. Authors of the past such as Mark Twain, Gertrude Stein, Zane Grey and Carl Sandburg, and more recent authors like Deepak Chopra, Tom Clancy and Jack Canfield have all been unabashed, self-published authors.
If your self-published book is well done and has good sales, it will be noticed by traditional publishers.
[note color=”#eedec5″]Virgin’s Note
Dan Miller, a prolific writer, life coach, consultant and podcaster (listen to Dan at 48days.com) tells a story about one of his books that was picked up by a traditional publisher. The publisher sold his book as part of a promotional package to a large retailer. Many of the books were not sold and were returned by the retailer to the publisher. Dan bought the returned, unsold books from the publisher for pennies on the dollar. He then sold the books on his Web site at steep discounts and made a great profit! This is just smart business. If your self-published book becomes popular, you may get offers from traditional publishers. If you do, make sure you can buy back returns cheaply. You also want to make sure that if the book goes out of print, that the rights to the book revert back to you, the author.[/note]Getting the attention of a traditional publisher can be a good thing—if you are smart about your contract. There are stories about successful self-published authors who have sold their books to a traditional publisher only to find that after a six-week flurry of advertising, the publisher does nothing more to promote their books. I have known authors who have had their books go out of print in six months after selling to a traditional publisher.

If your book is a memoir, a mystery or a children’s book, it can be self-published. The key to a successful self-published book is not just the type of book. A quality book with high production standards, great writing and smart marketing will sell every time!
With CreateSpace you can take your completed manuscript from your PC to a sales page on Amazon in a week.
So, take some time when reading over the next few chapters and get the right mindset. Now is your time, if you choose to take advantage of it!
[note color=”#eedec5″]Virgin’s Note
What is the overall trend for self-published books? We, as reading, book-buying consumers, are trending toward information and technology. The modern day reader wants to be better informed, better educated and more competitive in his or her field—and is willing to pay for it. What does this mean for you as a writer? You need to focus on solving a problem for your reader. Look for niche markets. It is better to write about an Anatolian Shepherd than to write a book about all breeds of dogs. Find a niche or a group of people who have a problem, determine what that problem is, and then write the book that solves the problem![/note]

 

Click here to download a PDF version of this article.

Article by Peggy DeKay
Peggy DeKay is a former newspaper columnist, award winning writer, and the author of Self Publishing for Virgins: The first-time author’s guide to self-publishing. DeKay is a book coach. She guides new authors through the maze of self-publishing and promoting—profitably. She is also a blogger and podcaster. You can read her blog at http://www.tbowt.com, or subscribe to her podcast, The Business of Writing TODAY.
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