The first question friends ask of me when they see my private publications in my library…how much?
Answer: nothing but time, until of course you buy your own book. Then you pay the cost price plus postage. This is the emerging, exciting world of POD…Print On Demand books.
Exciting is not an embellishment. Unwrap your neatly-packed package from the post and its simply wow! I’m published. My material is compiled, compressed into a high-quality soft or hard cover book…and copy-protected. And its all done from your home-computer.
Via the internet, there are many POD services and a few have set up in Australia. However, at this point I stay with the two that have thus far served me well. Lulu.com and Blurb.com. I discovered Lulu after an article in The Australian newspaper, profiled it then as a pioneer in modern publishing. Since my first foray into self-publication now about two years ago, I’m simply hooked.
Both services have complex websites to allow a diversity of treatments of your book. On Lulu, I have opted for orthodox book sizes where there is emphasis on large volumes of text, plus a few pics.
You can use your Word program to integrate photographs at appropriate places within the text, instead of confining them to centre pages as is the case with most publications.
You can either use Lulu templates for cover design or tweak your own at home via Photoshop or similar graphics software. Once completed you simply follow lulu pricing guidelines and your book automatically gets parked on the Lulu site for sale or simply for your own records. At any time you can re-edit and upload at no cost. I have used Blurb for a major project. A photo-essay on a dive-trip on board the Odalisque took me on a memorable visit to the south-west. Hundreds of photos and bad food later I used Blurb to record the event. In appreciation of the invitation I produced a high-quality hard-cover permanent record of the expedition. Also got a grand insight into how hard the abalone divers work, always against time and tide…a matter of eat, sleep and dive; sleep only disturbed by the dread of the reality of what fishermen call, ‘the man in the black and white suit’.
Whatever you are
If you’re a photographer, a writer of fiction, a recorder of fact; a poet; a dabbler; a vigilant dilettante, an artist who wants to produce a portfolio; tomorrow’s best seller who wants to test his/her own novel on an objective collective, produce an album of your best pics, then fulfillment is as close as your computer.
Its really a matter of make contact with the POD service, ensure you’re not paying up front (its why I choose Lulu and Burb), write your stuff, follow directions, upload, tweak your cover with your design, or their freebie templates. That’s it, you’re self-published.
From there, depending on your purse and a confidence/vanity consultation with yourself, you can get a wide range of services and assistance from those who provide the service. They will evaluate and promote world-wide at a price. If its for the universal market an ISBN number will be attributed to your book and it will find its way onto web-based book sellers of all languages world-wide.
I have had satisfactory sales with one book, which was recently converted into a e-book by Lulu, submitted and accepted by iTunes for its iBook stores in the USA, Canada, UK, Germany and Australia.
Remember your library
In Australia, you are legally required to place your book with the National Library and the State Library. But this is a good thing for posterity, knowing that not only are you cyber-published but in the archives. The State Library has since purchased one of my books and made it available regionally. The National Library has listed two of my books publicly, one of which gains unsolicited reviews from many countries.
Any questions the Tasmanian Times readers may have can be attended by me in blogs.
Just say it
The opportunities are limitless. The Lulu and Blurb websites carry many stories of self-publishing success. If you have something to say, in this day of cyber intrusion into the orthodox world of publishing, you can say it.
Some images of the self-published books online: