Sunday, January 30, 2011

Demand Publishing

Demand Publishing. Yes, I’m sold on it, although my first two books, BREAD IN TIME and BREAD ON EARTH were first published by a small publisher, I really prefer the new technology. Sure, it’s nice having someone publish a book for you, but you really lose a lot of control. Once you ship your manuscript off, you generally have little say about layout, design, editing and distribution. You also make very little money after copies are sold, and generally you don’t get anything until the publisher recaptures his expenses. We all can’t be Stephen King or Steig Larsson.
With demand publishing, you have absolute total control of your work. You decide what the book will be about, and then you write it. Or if you’re really crazy, you can decide what it’s about after you write it. Photos and illustrations are yours to add, and that includes the front and back covers. Also, you choose the size of the book, hard or soft cover, the layout, and all the other decisions it takes to bring about the reality of your book.
One very important consideration is that you don’t have to pay out one penny to do your book, but you do need lots of time. If you feel that your time is worth something, then maybe you shouldn’t be writing a book. You just can’t count the hours it takes to write a book, rather, if you can, allow yourself to be consumed by your project. And don’t expect to make a lot of money. If that’s your goal, then I suggest Wall Street or the banking industry.
Another thing that really appeals to me about demand publishing is the fact that your book doesn’t even exist in a solid reality. It appears to hover in the electronic ether and only comes to hard core existence when someone clicks on the purchase or download button.
For me, I decided to write BREAD EARTH and FIRE without even thinking about publication. I knew beforehand that I was going with demand publishing, and that I found to be highly liberating. I was done searching around for a publisher; I did not enjoy the process. Besides, there may not have been anyone who would publish the book, and I wasn’t about to bang on doors.
You might say that now, since it’s so easy to publish a book, there must be a lot of stuff out there that you would find not only unreadable, but that you would have no interest in. I would totally agree with that statement, but also consider what it’s like to browse a bookstore or video rental store. What percentage of what you see are you really interested in? For example, have you looked in the cooking section of large bookstores recently? The books seem to be getting bigger and more garish. Most attempt to tell you how to bake bread and cook great meals in less than five minutes a day. Is this what it’s really about?
If demand publishing is something you’ve considered, but need a little help, then feel free to send me an email.