As you may know, POD stands for Print-on-Demand, which is a kind of self-publishing that involves books being printed up only when a customer orders them. No upfront costs, no piles of books stored in your garage. This summer, I decided to experiment with POD on one of my novels. It was a novel I was thinking of retiring, having a few other, possibly stronger works that I wanted to concentrate on for agent-hunting and traditional publishing. I thought the novel in question, Junction 2020: The Portal, was a solid enough story, and I liked it, but I had reached the end of my submission/revision road with it.
After researching, I landed upon Amazon's Create Space program. Here are some features:
1. Your book is sold through Amazon as well as a Create Space e-store site that can be linked to your personal website, blogsite, etc.
2. The rights are non-exclusive, so you can still publish the traditional way, later.
3. The books printed are all paperbacks with a laminate coating--no hardbacks.
4. You get to choose the size of your book, from 5x8 to 8x10.
5. Create Space assigns you a real ISBN that they get from the U.S. ISBN Agency, R.R. Bowker. It is registered with Books In Print.
6. You set the price for your book; the list price affects your royalty amount.
7. Create Space prints novels as well as picture books (I'd advise attempting the latter only if you know how to set dpi resolutions and/or have graphic experience--or know someone who does).
8. Templates to design a cover are available. You can personalize these with your own photos or graphics if you know how to set resolutions to 300 dpi and embed fonts. Alternately, you can download a cover guideline to make your OWN completely original cover the correct size (which is what I did).
9. You're allowed to purchase copies of your book at a reduced price. You can order a single copy or 500+. Postage is extra.
10. A proof is sent out for you to approve the final product before you activate your online sales. You pay for this proof, but it's at member cost rather than full retail.
11. A Pro Plan program is available for $39. With this plan, your royalty increases, and the price at which you can buy books is reduced.
12. With the Pro Plan, you can also opt to do Expanded Distribution, which lists your book where libraries, book stores, resellers, and distributors can see and purchase it. Create Space doesn't guarantee sales from these sources; it says they'll "be available" to these places. I have yet to see how this feature pans out. Your royalty decreases for books sold through this service because they are doing all the sales work--but you may sell more books in general.
13. On the e-store site, however, you get a higher royalty, since you are directing traffic/sales to the site.
14. Editing and book-shaping services are available for additional prices (probably not cheap).
I'm feeling good about my decision to publish this one book with POD. I can give copies to the neighbor girls who posed their arms for the cover, and I can give a copy to my niece who always read my stories in the 1990s. I can hand out the book to relatives, friends, etc. So if I never get published the traditional way, gee whiz!--at least I'll have ONE of my own books on my bookshelf. ;o)
If you have any questions, feel free to email (see sidebar) and ask questions.
Create Space features and info:
Junction 2020 Create Space e-store example (sales not activated yet; I'm at the proof stage):