Print on Demand. You may have heard this phrase, especially if you're a writer or in the publishing industry. What is it and how does it benefit the author? Read on for more information about print on demand publishing.
Print on demand, or POD, is exactly what it sounds like. Being able to print up as many or as few books as needed at any given time. In fact, POD publishers can print one book at a time if they're so inclined. This is proving to be the answer to many aspiring author's prayers. Because there's no major risk, as there is with traditional publishers who have to order large print runs, almost anyone can be a published author.
There are drawbacks with POD publishing. When an author is signed to write a book with a traditional publisher, that author will, in most cases, receive an advance check to help pay for expenses until the book is published and begins to make money. In addition, publicists and editors are provided. With POD, the author does most of the work herself. She may also find it's difficult to get her book reviewed, as many reputable newspapers and magazines refuse to recognize print on demand services as a legitimate publisher. In fact, they're more or less regarded as vanity press.
For some, the benefits of POD publishing far outweigh the risks. The first, of course, is that it's relatively inexpensive. Books are printed quickly and cheaply. This savings is passed on to the author who receives a higher royalty rate than she would have if she went with a traditional publisher.
Going with a print on demand publisher means you won't have to hire an agent to schlep your manuscript around from publisher to publisher. No schlepping means the book is on the market faster, which means a better chance at making money. The author also retains creative control over most aspects of her book. This means she won't be surprised by overzealous editing or an unattractive cover.
Of course, this means that it's up to the author to gather her own publicity. Book signings, speaking engagements, and reviews all become the job of an already busy writer. While this means the author won't have to make public appearances she doesn't want to, it also means she'll have to promote her book herself without a highly-regarded publicist's large Rolodex full of contacts.
If you've always dreamed of being published and you're unable to go the traditional route, you might consider a POD publisher. To find out if it's for you, do the research. Talk to other authors who have used print on demand. Research different companies to find out which one best suits your needs and avoid any POD publisher who has received negative comments or publicity.
In the past, if an author was rejected by a publishing company, she wouldn't be published. Now she can be — with print on demand.