[Publishing Advice] On printers
In Part 2: Printer pros and cons (posted in 2014), I go through various printing options and then give cost estimates for each.
Today, I really will just recommend print-on-demand. Especially if you’re self-publishing in the Philippines. Especially if you’re doing this for the first time. It’s 2022 and people have gone through a lot! It’s not their responsibility to buy our books, but if they want to, we should make it easy for them (and easy for us).
In the interest of making it easy for readers and author/publishers, I no longer recommend a large first print order, even if it seems like a thing to aspire to. Create your print books in small and manageable batches. My batches and orders are 20 books at a time (more or less), because that’s what I can personally manage and does not stress me out. Scale up and order more only after you fulfill your first small orders, and know for sure that the books were printed correctly and everyone is happy with their copies.
Do not print 100+ copies if you’re going to spend several years worrying about how to sell them. Do not print 100 copies if you do not have 100 buyers already. Print-on-demand exists and is wonderful. This allows you to print only what you need, or only what was ordered, and you can also make changes to the book if you want to change anything. (Printing 100 copies in a rush means an error that gets through is present in that entire batch. That is stressful and so unnecessary.) If your book is in English and you can use Amazon KDP or a similar service to make a print book available worldwide, do that. (Some “publishers” offer to do this…please if you have the time just go direct and do it yourself. Or read up on the “publisher” so you know what they’re really doing or not doing for you.)
I don’t recommend printing a large batch because that often requires a lot of work (to “market”, to pick up, to pack and ship) and a lot of money up front. It does sound like you’re getting a good deal because the cost per copy seems smaller…but you did not need to spend that much or do that much. If any of your sales were generated by putting pressure on family and friends to support you, it isn’t going to be a sustainable project either.
So yeah, in 2022 my updated advice is, go for the least stressful and costly option. If you’re just starting, let yourself learn through small and manageable print batches, and only print more when you’re ready to take on the additional work and you know the book is the best it can be. Work with printers/people who will print the number of copies you need, and not talk you into printing more if there are no buyers or readers for it yet.
And again if you’re self-publishing, remember that a printer is just a printer. You are still the publisher.
PS if this doesn’t sound right for your situation because you know you need 1,000 copies printed and shipped then great! You need a team and a registered corporate entity. This doesn’t necessarily apply to you. You probably want advice for a corporate partnership, which will be the topic of a future post.
This is an ongoing blog project where I return to my Publishing Advice column on Wattpad and add updated commentary! If this was helpful to you and/or if you want me to continue this, you can buy me a buko pie.
Tags: publishing advice