Self publishing

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Mon Oct 06, 2008 7:33 am Post

Has anyone had experience with the following:

One of my clients wants to self-publish 1,000 copies of his daughter's novel.


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Mon Oct 06, 2008 1:20 pm Post

I have not had any experience with any of these, but a friend of mine had a good experience publishing his book through xlibris (

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Mon Oct 06, 2008 2:55 pm Post

These are all print on demand publishers. While the equipment they use is much more economical for short runs than conventional presses, their per copy price is still relatively high. If your client is sure he wants a thousand copies, he might get a better deal by working with a traditional print shop.

Read all terms and conditions carefully. Since he wants a relatively large run (for print on demand), it would be worth his while to check and compare quantity pricing. On the downside, there have been some cases of print on demand publishers charging outrageous prices for low value services, or pricing things a la carte that really should be included. Caveat emptor.

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Mon Oct 06, 2008 3:57 pm Post

Thanks very much for the feedback!

If you do go to a print house, are there any templates you suggest for formatting the text.

BTW, although the novel was not written in Scrivener, it was edited in Scrivener, every obe of the 65,000 words! What joy, what rapture.


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Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:22 pm Post

You might want to check out a recent post by Hamish MacDonald

Or go directly to his extended write-up of various options for self-publishing, which is a fascinating read anyway.

You can't conquer stupid — or cure it — with more stupid.

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Tue Oct 07, 2008 8:56 am Post

I published a lot of my music on Lulu. Your books and cd's are being shown in what they call a Store, I think it looks nice and it's very easy to set up.


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Tue Oct 07, 2008 3:23 pm Post

Cheers for the nod above.

My two pence on this is that 1,000 books is a lot of books! I had 500 copies of my first novel printed and, honestly, it was too many. While it's a nice of the client to endorse his daughter's book in such a big way, unless either of them is prepared to devote a lot of time to publicity and distribution, shifting that many books will be difficult and maybe even dispiriting. I'd suggest a much smaller run if you decide to go with a traditional printing process and the print house/press is willing to do a lower volume.

I'm not a big fan of Print-on-Demand because most people aren't designers and as a result trust in the "they'll do everything" promise of PoD. Frankly, the covers most PoD books I've seen are dog-ugly -- a generic piece of artwork with a nasty font overlaid over a putrid solid colour, all output on high-gloss fingerprint-catching card stock.

I'm also uneasy about this business of profiting from people's literary ambitions. Print-on-Demand can, at best, be a perfectly viable means of production -- and quite democratising -- but at its worst it can be a predatory form of vanity press.

Personally, I'm too finicky about the result to want to do everything online and be stuck with whatever result at the end, but I recognise that micropress publishing is a lot of work, and not everybody's bag.

I guess my advice is to take some time and do a bit of homework on the numbers. PoD might be the best solution, but just because there are lots of pre-rolled options online doesn't necessarily make them better than a local print shop -- or a small press who are willing to offset some of their costs by doing production of others' books (this is how I had my first book printed). And don't overlook the importance of cover design. Finding a designer who can do it well is arguably even more important than the production of the inside pages.

As for those inside pages, you don't necessarily have to do much work at home: you could output them with the proper imposition as a PDF using Cheap Impostor, then have a copy-shop print and guillotine them.

There are lots of options!
- Hamish MacDonald

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Tue Oct 07, 2008 4:31 pm Post

The information and feedback I'm getting is beyond valuable - it is a reflection of what Keith and Amber and Tony and the pirate dog and Scrivener itself stand for.

Many, many, many thanks - it makes me proud to be part of such a community.


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Tue Oct 07, 2008 8:33 pm Post

I`ve read numerous accounts of the disappointments endured by people who`ve made bad choices, when it comes to the Self Publishing scenario. Like Hamish says, 1000 does seem an awful lot. I`d be more than inclined to seriously heed his advice:
hamishmacdonald wrote:I guess my advice is to take some time and do a bit of homework on the numbers.

Also! There`s a multitude, nay a plethora, or even a myriad websites such as this: ... -and-cons/ devoted to the pitfalls of POD. Whatever your client decides, Good Luck to him.
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Tue Oct 07, 2008 9:22 pm Post

This here is Amazon's POD service:

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Tue Oct 07, 2008 10:52 pm Post

I ordered 15 copies of my own 2 novels some years ago, I gave away some and the rest is still on my shelf... I was very excited those days because it was the first book I had ever written and that blinded me. Glad I only ordered 15.


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Wed Oct 08, 2008 2:58 pm Post

I plan to have a book printed through some time in the future. A friend has published his, had 20 copies printed and gave them away, asking for input and comments so he could improve it. Seemed like a clever thing to do.

I personally just want to get my book printed, in a nice format, with my own illustrations and all.
I honestly don't care if other people have crappy cover designs or something else 'off' due to PoD or self-publishing, they just may not care about it as much. And I don't have to buy their book, so does it matter if they indulged in some vanity press? advises to have a print made after you think you're done, so you can check the real life product. Once you feel satisfied, you can put it in your shop and sell it. Or not.

I'd take it easy and not have 1000 printed straight away though ;)


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Thu Oct 09, 2008 12:00 am Post

I have had a book printed through Lulu - apart from the "fingerprint-catching glossy cardstock cover", I'm quite happy with it.

Mind you, I wanted and printed exactly one copy, which is what Lulu is perfect for, and I knew going in that they are a printer - nothing more, nothing less. I made sure I was happy with the design before I sent it in, because they weren't going to check it.

If you do want a full thousand, I suggest talking to a local print shop about the size of runs they do and the price per unit. Lulu doesn't offer much in the way of volume discounts as far as I know, and if you order more than 25 they warn that it may not get done as quickly.