Guest Author - Glenda Schoonmaker
If your reason to self-publish is to speed up the publication process so that your book will be in bookstores much faster, then don't self publish. It is true that your book will be in your hands much faster by self-publishing or POD, but you need to ask, "What am I going to do with my book?" To determine which type of publishing is best for you: self-publishing, print-on-demand, e-book, or traditional publishing make a list of the purpose of your book, who your target audience is, how many books you'll likely sell, and how much money and time do you have to invest in marketing your book. Also, consider "how" you will be marketing your book.
To help determine if self-publishing or print-on-demand is your best option, consider these ideas.
If you are writing a family memoir, main-stream publishing won't work. Actually, print-on-demand publishing where you can purchase the exact number of copies you need is probably the best option, whether you need one book or 150 books.
If you are starting a business and need a book to validate your business, self-publishing can be successful. Your book acts as an authentic promotional or marketing tool. Plus, having a book establishes you as a credible person on the subject you are writing about, which in turns leads to more buying customers.
You can market your book more easily to businesses or agencies with the idea of them partnering with you in using your book for company seminars, workshops, gift items for sales people, etc.
If you want to and are able to provide excellent quality in editing, cover work, distribution (selling) and all other aspects of the publishing process, then self-publishing is a plausible option.
You'll have to buy your own ISBN numbers which you purchase from Bowker.com in lots of 10 at a time.
If you have a thriving speaking ministry or conference circuit, self-publishing can provide you easily with many books to sell at the back of the room.
If you can sell your books, self-publishing provides you with exponentially more profit per book than royalties received from traditional publishing.
Print-on-demand or publish-on-demand are both called POD. This is a reliable and cheaper option if you don't want to buy huge quantities of books to store around your house for the next several years. Print-on-demand is much cheaper than self-publishing if you are only buying a few books. Once you are ordering 500, and even more at 1,000 books at a time, self-publishing costs dramatically go down and it becomes more viable (cost-wise) than POD.
Your name will be listed as the publisher on self-publishing. If this will not be a detriment for you, then it's no problem. Or you can create a name for your self-publishing business.
You have unlimited possibilities with self-publishing your own book, with one exception. Most brick and mortar book stores will not carry your self-published book, unless it's in your own home town or locale. If you become a master at marketing, you might be able to convince some to carry it, but you do have an uphill battle in trying to do this. There are usually no physical stores which will carry print-on-demand books. The two major on-line book buying places, Barnes and Noble.com and Amazon.com will sometimes carry self-published books, but in the past couple of years, Amazon has begun to set some stipulations on how it is self-published before they will consider carrying the book in their on-line medium.
If you want your writing to be credible, vanity (or now more commonly called subsidy) publishing is probably not the best option. Vanity or subsidy publishers often call themselves POD companies, but POD is simply a process of printing. It's easy to be confused. Because the large subsidy publishers use a printing company called Lightening Source (owned by Ingram Distribution), they can offer your book to be carried by the leading on-line book companies. However, the author's profits will be far less by going through a subsidy publisher, and it carries the stigma of having the subsidy publishing name as the publisher. If you consider self-publishing, eliminate the middleman (the subsidy publisher) and get your book self-published on your own.