Sunday, June 17, 2007

POD is not Vanity is not Self Publish

POD is a technology. It's a way to print books. It's quite useful for printing small quantities, particularly if there is intermittent demand. LOTS of publishers who are not vanity houses or scam mills use POD technology. University presses spring to mind, as do very small limited runs of very tightly focused books. POD is not evil.

Vanity presses can use POD technology OR they can use webfeed technology. Vanity presses are essentially printers with some support staff. They'll help you print up nice editions of whatever you want. You pay for this. It's called vanity because they don't acquire the book. Acquire means there is an editorial staff choosing particular books to publish. Vanity houses do not maintain lists, issue catalogs or sell books in bookstores. Vanity presses are not evil

Self publishers can use POD technology or webfeed technology. Self publishers are not vanity presses in the everyday sense of the word. They are "vanity" in the sense that there isn't an acquisition but the two phrases are used to mean different things in publishing. Lots of people self publish for a lot of reasons. Self publishing is not evil.

POD/scam mills are companies set up to persuade you, the author, that printing your book with their company is the equivalent to having it acquired by a publisher. They charge you money. Unlike a respectable vanity press, they don't copy edit or produce high quality products. They are out to make money on volume. They prey on author's insecurities and lack of knowledge. POD/scam mills are the scum of the earth.

Whether a company is the scum of the earth depends on how they run their business, not how they print their books.

There are several POD companies that do not try to persuade you that you have but to print up books with them to be on your way to fame and glory. Lulu and CafePress come to mind. There are others I'm sure.

There will be a quiz.

posted by Miss Snark at

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Self Publishing At Speed Of Thought

Publishing, both electronic and hard copy, from articles to books, has come a long way in recent years. I used to be fascinated by anyone who had become a "real" author of a book. For that matter, anyone who had been published in a magazine or newspaper!

The whole thing seemed so validating for authors, yet getting published, so cryptic. How do you become "published?" How did you get someone to take your subject so seriously that they gave you a retainer to finish your project and then published and sold your books for you?

These and many other questions always flew around my head in the years that it took me to figure out how publishing, the traditional kind, worked. Then came the internet. Then everything changed.

And the changes today are more radical than ever before. You can completely publish your own work from the first sentence you write to the first time you flip through the pages of your book, all through the internet.

In fact, self publishing your own book is verging on common place these days. And publishing your work entirely on the web, with blogs or through a regular website is almost old hat to many people.

Some very famous people today are "bloggers." People who have a site that they constantly and instantly update with their articles and blurbs on politics and trillions of other subjects. If you don't have a blog in some circles, you are not even considered worth talking to.

If you are an aspiring writer and are mystified by traditional publishing "rules" fear not! You can take the bull by the horns and publish on the web by choosing from all kinds of software and services that suit you best.

If you want a book you wrote to be published, to hold in your hands and give to friends and family and even stock in Barnes and Noble or sell at Amazon, nothing is holding you back anymore! You can literally control the whole publishing process from start to finish yourself.

There are print on demand services that cater solely to self publishers these days. You can have a batch of books printed in runs as small as 50 books at very reasonable prices. Here is just one source of valuable self publishing information I found with a quick search engine query:

There are myriad free sources of information on the web that teach you how to get your own ISBN and UPC codes so you can sell your book in major and minor bookstores anywhere in the world.

I know people who have taken their self published books and gone to #1 on Amazon with them through savvy, guerilla-style marketing campaigns that really aren't that hard to learn and master.

If you aren't into paper it is even easier to get published and become known through the internet. You no longer have to be a geek to figure it out and there and tons of resources out there to help you figure out which method of online publishing is right for you.

If you are an article writer you can become an almost overnight success just by learning how to get syndicated all over the web, possibly being picked up by a very major online or offline publisher. I know people who's entire lives have changed over night, literally, after syndicating their articles to choice publishing "clearinghouses" on the net.

Below are just a few of the hundreds of sites that can help you get started learning about publishing online and offline.

Tale Chaser Publishing is a self publishing directory and information library on various self publishing topics for people looking into getting published online or off. is an online promoter's Valhalla. Although there are many specialized marketing resources there for people to learn about marketing their websites, there are a few gems of information for self publishers including links to places that can have your work in front of every major online publisher you can imagine.

You can also find some syndication and promotion tools at Webmaster Traffic Tools.

Want to write the perfect press release for your website, blog, or book? Then take a free press release writing course at

Bottom line is: There are no more excuses for not getting your work published. With some work and research into the new technology and avenues for publishing that are available to anyone these days, you can become known in a very big way without having to pitch to major labels.

In fact, if you really do your homework, you can learn how to have the big publishers pitching YOU for deals!

About the Author
Jack Humphrey is an author and marketing consultant. More information at


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

How to Self Publish Your Book

It doesn’t matter if you’ve written the great American novel or just want to publish a coffee table book filled with pictures of your cats, you can easily, and affordably self publish your book thanks to the wonders of POD printing.

What is POD mean?

Print. On. Demand.

POD printing is actually making its way through several markets, from t-shirt printing to DVDs, and yes, Books. In all honesty, I imagine POD will be the ONLY way to publish or print small runs of books, dvds, t-shirts, and calendars in the near future.

Just because it is designed for small print runs, though, doesn’t mean that you have to give up on having a high quality product. In the early days of POD printing (you know, a few years go) sometimes the publications looked muddy or cheap, but with the rapid advancement of this technology, you can print ONE COPY of your book that looks as good as anything you’ll find in Barnes and Noble.

Here are some steps to help you get started publishing that masterpiece we already told you how to write.

1. Write the book
I know we already covered that, but seriously, you’d be surprised how many people try and skip this step.

2. Find a Printer
Ok, there are a few choices out there, but the first thing you need to do is read the fine print when dealing with these POD printers. A lot of them will call themselves PUBLISHERS. They ARE NOT publishers. If you’re marketing your book, you’re writing your book, you’re editing your book, and you’re selling your book…they are nothing but printers, and don’t do business with any of them that say otherwise.

3. Format and Edit the Book
If you were intending to self publish from the start, you may have already formatted as you went, but if you were originally writing a manuscript, you need to make several changes from your manuscript format to your final printed format.

For example, your book should not be double spaced. Single space the book, and choose an easy to read font. Some people will tell you a Times font, others and Arial, or still others will swear by Courier fonts. Just make sure it’s easy to read, and that it looks good, and is legible at the final size of your printed material.

You will also need to fit all of this within the template for the size of book you have chosen to publish. is very helpful with templates, and it is not as daunting as it sounds. You don’t have to be a professional graphic designer to pull this off.

Finally, in formatting, don’t forget to include a copyright page. Take a look at the formatting of the books that you own for reference…but also remember, this is YOUR book. You don’t have to go by the rules here. Just make sure people can read it.

4. What About the Cover?
You have options here. Most of the printers will have template designs for those of you that aren’t artistically inclinded, but don’t want to seek out an artist. If you’d like to try and find an artist, you can do so by looking at Devianart (a collection of AMAZING artists of all skill levels…not always Safe for Work, though. You have been warned) or (same about the NSFW here too…artists…gotta love ‘em). Most of these artists are struggling artists like you’re a struggling writer, so you can get some good work pretty cheap…just remember, they gotta eat too.

5. Upload Your Book and Order one!
After you have your formatting finished, simply upload your book to the site of the printer you have selected, and order a copy of it! You’ll get a fresh, crisp production copy of your book in the mail very soon. After you have checked everything over, made sure their were no spelling errors or pages that printed funny, you’re ready to market!

…but marketing is a whole different article.

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