If this kind of self publishing is for you, then a print-on-demand publisher is exactly what you’re looking for. You don’t need to spend much (or any) money upfront – all you really do is publicise your book and the buyers can get one made when they want it. Meanwhile, you could be making a small amount or a large amount in passive income and it hasn’t cost you much except your time spent writing. Sounds good?
Choosing your print-on-demand (POD) book publisher is another thing entirely. In the end, it comes down to your needs and your particular book. For instance, some publishers are better at printing novels or photography books than others. Some will give you better royalties, while others will do a better job of helping you with promotion. To help you choose, here’s a list of four of the best online print-on-demand book publishers and a few of their key features.
Blurb is well known for its full colour photography-based books, however it also offers a couple of black and white text novel options. You can either use their online software to prepare a book or you can upload a pre-prepared PDF. Whichever option you choose, there’s no upfront costs.
When you sell the book, Blurb takes a small fee. Plus, you can set your own prices and thereby choose your own profit margin. Blurb offers payments through PayPal.
Lulu is one of the larger publishers and will happily cater for many types of books. You can easily publish a novel, a cookbook, or simply create a photo book for your family. They have the ability to publish and sell eBooks on your behalf and claim to have the largest distribution channels of all online publishers. Useful free services include consultations, while paid services offered include cover design, ISBN purchasing and distribution. If you choose to sell in the Lulu Marketplace without an ISBN, your upfront costs are negligible.
You can also set your profits by choosing your own royalties and Lulu makes its money by taking a small cut from your sales. Lulu pays royalties via Paypal or cheque. Read more about publishing with Lulu here.
Wordclay offers a basic DIY publishing service which is free for publishers. If you wish to pay a modest fee, services such as editing, ISBNs and distribution are available to you as well.
Again, you can choose your own royalty and Wordclay takes a cut from your sales. Wordclay sends US cheques.
4. CreateSpace (aka Booksurge)
CreateSpace offers a DIY “no fees upfront” royalty-based publishing option to complement their regular publishing offers. They are actually part of the Amazon group of companies, so there’s no extra fees involved to distribute your book through Amazon. ISBNs can be obtained for free via CreateSpace.
CreateSpace also claim to offer the best royalties in the business “” plus they allow you to choose your own royalty. Royalties can be paid by US cheque or to a US bank account.
Words of Advice
When choosing your publisher, make sure you research well and ensure it’s a good fit for you before you commit your time and money or sign any agreements. Companies such as these do have the occasional unhappy customer but it’s not the norm. Here’s a few important things to look out for:
- For non-US citizens, remember that different companies have different tax witholding requirements and that the cheque fees and your ability to deposit US cheques may de-value your earnings somewhat.
- Having your book formally listed with an ISBN will often require you to ensure the quality of your book. This may require you to purchase a copy of your book each and every time you make a change (this can include price or directory changes). If you sign up for an ISBN, read the fine print, be prepared to purchase if required and don’t make changes to your book after this unless it’s very important.
- No-frills DIY publishers will endeavour to make money from added extras such as cover art, editing and ISBNs. If you want to use these services, ensure you compare the prices between publishers and the cost of doing it yourself.
More about Self-Publishing and Writing
You might also like these articles on publishing and creating books:
- How to Actually Make Money Selling eBooks
- Become A Better Photographer with Online 365 Days Groups
- NaNoWriMo.org – Write a Novel In 30 Days!
If you’ve written your own book and have self-published, let us know about your experiences with the publishers. Who did you choose and why? Were there any unforeseen problems? Were you happy with the book quality? Let us know in the comments!