POD

I am using booksurge to publish my book. They are a Print-On-Demand publisher. They are not really a publisher at all in the traditional sense like Faber & Faber or Bloomsbury because they’ll publish anything. Copies of the book are created as they are ordered – on demand. It is a kind of “vanity publishing”, but it is a much better deal for the author because of the distribution potential. Booksurge just happens to be owned by Amazon and all booksurge books automatically get an Amazon listing with the “look inside” feature enabled.

I liked the idea of skipping all the rejection letters that I would inevitably get from the “real” publishers. If I went down that route I think I would never be able to get any closure on the project. After many rejections you could be pretty sure that your project is worthless but there would always be a niggling doubt that maybe they never really read it, and maybe they just give contracts to their mates or maybe their criteria for what’s good or bad does not match what sells/bombs. Harry Potter got rejected several times before finding a publisher and sold millions of copies – so something must be wrong with publishing. Going the self publish route feels like it should be fairer, like an IPO – Let the market decide the value.

I’m a bit worried about the price of the book, which is not yet set, that they will charge too much. The booksurge business model is based upon the idea of the “long tail”, i.e. selling small numbers of thousands of different books. They don’t care about keeping the price low because they know only friends and family will buy the book, but at any price.

The POD books that have done best so far are the niche non-fiction books like “The History of Wavlerly Road, Scunthorpe” or “Fly Fishing” by JRR Hartley. Obviously because when people are looking for a book on a very particular subject they will be less hung up about the quality of the writing.

So, the odds are against me because I got a very mainstream fiction book to sell. The kind of book that conventional wisdom says needs a massive marketing budget or a lot of luck. But we’ll see, maybe it’s about time there was POD bestseller in the mainstream fiction category. If it’s not my book, it’ll be some else’s. Traditional publishing is dead!!

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