Self-Publishing Guide: Print on Demand Services

by Rachel Sawden
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Print on Demand Services changed the game for self-published authors by eliminating a need for authors to purchase quantities of published books to sell them.

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Now that your book is nicely formatted I’m going to advise these two routes and only these two routes. I will also say here that if a publisher ever asks you for any money – run. They are a vanity publisher. Invest that money in self-publishing, and only use Print on Demand publishing services.

Print on Demand simply means that a book is printed only when it is purchased. You as the publisher will not have to pay for a big stock of books to be printed and then hopefully sell them.

1. Printing with Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (formerly CreateSpace)

This is Amazon’s print-on-demand service. Log into your KDP dashboard and press “+ Paperback”. Fill out all of the information Upload like you did the eBook and you’re all set.

Make sure to link your eBook and your paperback book so they appear on the same page and will have tabs for customers to toggle between the formats. You can also set your eBook price to $0.99 just for verified purchases of your eBook, which I recommend you do as it can boost sales.

2. Ingram Spark

Bookstores will not order from Amazon, they only order wholesale from Ingram. Ingram is the world’s largest book printer, any book you’ve found in a bookstore was printed by them.

Ingram Spark is Ingram’s self-publishing side of the business. Please note that It is more difficult to navigate than Amazon and there is a small fee at the outset. Go to www.ingramspark.com and you can click to get started. It costs $50 to upload a book, and then there are fees if you want to make changes to your book once uploaded later on. You will also be able to print Hardcover books.

I will also say that Ingram’s quality of printing is superior to Amazon’s.

With Ingram, you can also upload your eBook through them as a distribution channel but I preferred to manage my Amazon and Ingram sales separately myself. If there was a problem with Amazon I can deal with that on my own, rather than trying to get ahold of someone at Ingram which has been a struggle for me in the past with handling minor issues.

Once you have successfully uploaded your books, request an author proof from both. This will be the first time you see your book. I highly suggest when it arrives, film the moment of you opening the box and seeing your baby in the flesh for the first time. This will serve for two purposes – so you can have the moment for yourself. And so you can use it in book promotion. More on that later.

When your proofs arrive, go through both of them with a fine-tooth comb. This is your last chance to spot any formatting or graphic issues and spelling errors. I would highly recommend giving it to a few other people to look at. You’d be surprised how many issues fall through the crack but that one eagle-eyed friend will spot something you haven’t.

I signed up with both services. The majority of my sales come through Amazon, but I had my heart set on having my novel available in bookstores so I also signed up with Ingram. This was a good route for me. My novel was picked up by Barnes and Noble’s website who makes purchases through Ingram. Yay!

Next up in my Self-Publishing Guide: Pricing, Royalties, Taxes, and Getting Paid.

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