The other day I wrote an article here about book publishing. I want to write some books, and have been exploring the idea of how to handle the publishing end of it. I have also been thinking about the format that the books should take, electronic or paper.
I have come up with some answers, thanks to my friend Dave. Of course, the comments on my last article were very helpful too. Dave left a comment there, but he also took the much appreciated step of sending me a book from his personal library to assist me in making the decisions needed.
The book that Dave sent to me (via LBC) is entitled “How to Write, Publish, & Sell Your Own How-To Book” by John T. Reed. John has been a self-publisher for decades now, and a lot of the things in the book really enforced things that were already in my mind. I believe that I have now made a decision on what path I will pursue when it comes to writing.
In his book, John talks about one method of shoestring publishing that appeals to me. Write your book using typsetting software (heck, even with Microsoft Word, or Open Office you can accomplish this these days), then start advertising it. When you get an order for the book print it on your laser printer, bind it with an Ibico Comb Binder, and send it off! After a while, you will have an idea of how the book sells, and if necessary you can then order a run of printed/bound books to sell. Alternatively, you can always still just print the books out at your house, bind them and send them off.
One of the reasons why this method appeals to me is that it kind of mirrors a business that I was doing some 20 years ago (wow, was it that long already?!?). Back in those days, I had designed a series of maps that showed the location of Amateur Radio repeaters all over the USA. I self-published these maps, printing them on one of the earliest models of a color-inkjet printer. I would then laminate the maps in plastic, and sell them myself. They were very professional looking, and sold very well too. I advertised the maps in Amateur Radio Magazines, and also sold them through Amateur Radio stores around the USA. I even went to trade shows around the country selling these maps. What John Reed describes in his book practically mirrors what I was doing with the maps, and it worked well. The idea of doing this with books really appeals to me.
So, what about the digital vs. paper debate? I’ve decided on that too… I’ll do both! Whoever orders can take their choice between paper or electronic. Each method has advantages for the customer, so it will be their choice as to what will be best for them!
Because I am in the Philippines, and my target customer will be abroad, I am toying with the idea of also using Print on Demand to fulfill orders. Companies like Lightning Source or Lulu come to mind. Having them do the printing will be more costly than having the printing done here in the Philippines (or doing it myself), but there is also an advantage in that it would save immensely on postage costs, and also speed up delivery time. One advantage, though, of shipping from here in the Philippines is that I can then offer signed copies of the books too, which I feel some people will want.
So, what do you think about my publishing ideas? Let me know by leaving a comment. Pro or con, I want to hear your opinion – it’s just one more thing for me to consider!