You have an idea for a a course in miracles… NOW WHAT? You’ve seen what’s out there and think to yourself, “I can do better than that. If they are published I should be, too.” Easier said than done when it comes to actually being accepted by a traditional book publisher. There is another option available to you – Self Publishing.
When you self publish a book you actually take it upon yourself to find others to offer the services you need to create, print and distribute your book. The first step is to determine what services you will actually require.
COPYWRITING is the writing of the actual text of the book. Will you be writing the outline, creating the final text, editing the content and length, and proofing the final text, or… will you need someone else to perform some of these tasks?
PROOF PAGES are the finished pages ready for printing. Will you be creating the final pages, paginating each (numbering in order, left and right pages) and checking for quality, or… will you need someone else to produce the final pages?
COVER ART is the artwork on the front and back covers of your book. Will you be creating custom artwork yourself, using art or photos from a supplier, overlaying the text, or…will you have someone do all or a portion of the needed services?
INTERNAL ARTWORK is the artwork which appears within the text. Will you be creating custom artwork yourself, using clip art, or having someone else provide custom artwork?
PRINTING your book involves taking your electronic files and printing hard copy pages and covers, and binding them. Will you want to print just a few final books to distribute to specific media to create awareness and take orders, or do you already have the confidence and interest in your book to print thousands of final copies (a much larger initial investment)?
DISTRIBUTION is how your books get into the hands of the final readers. Will you be distributing the books to retailers, online distributors or directly to customers yourself, or will you rely upon a professional service?
Sounds a little complicated, but there is a way to test the waters prior to making such a large financial commitment. You can create electronically printed Proof Copies, and THIS option dramatically reduces costs for your initial printing and gives you options for future printing that are not available when you offset print thousands of advance copies. Here is how it works.
1. Determine how much of the work you will do yourself. If you can take your idea, create final copy, edit, proof and paginate the final pages then you not only save a substantial amount of money, you can control more of the final output and make changes faster. You get more of what you actually want in the end. If you get stuck there are many services available to handle any part of this process which you cannot. There is also software available which will automatically paginate your pages for you, making this once tedious project extremely simple.
2. Cover and internal art for proof copies is always as important, but not nearly as important as when you are offset printing thousands of four color covers at a high cost per cover. Since the electronically printed proofs are printed on demand as you need them, a few at a time, you can continue to make changes to both the cover and inside text as you print the proofs.
3. Printing your book becomes very simple. Electronic printing differs quite a bit from traditional offset printing. Offset book printing involves a very high one-time setup cost, but as you print thousands of copies the cost per book drops substantially, and the quality is extremely high. You cannot make changes once the printing process has started. Electronic printing allows you to print only as many copies of your final book as you need at that time. The cost per book is much lower than offset printing but is always the same, whether you print 1 or 1,000 books. At some level the cost for higher quality offset printing per book is the same as the cost for slightly lower quality electronic printing. At that break even level you should move to offset printing. Electronic printing also allows you to make any changes to your book instantly because you are only printing as many as you need. So you can continue to tweak your book until you get it just right and then move to offset printing.
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