I published both Being Good and Barry’s Cherries with iUniverse, a print-on-demand publisher. Before using them, I checked out a couple of other self-publishing options, most notably Xlibris because I have a friend who used them. At the time Xlibris was more expensive than iUniverse and I was not impressed with the quality of their books. They may have improved since then, but I was so happy with iUniverse that I stuck with them for novel number 2.
“So what’s the deal with print-on-demand publishing?” you may ask. Quite simply, instead of the old route of self-publishing where an author pays to print out a thousand or so books and tries to unload them himself, with print-on-demand publishing an author pays a publishing company to set up the book and individual copies are printed when ordered.
Here’s what else the publishing company does for me: they secure an ISBN for me and make the book available through Barnes & Noble and Amazon and anywhere really since any bookstore can order the book with the ISBN. Then it’s up to me to promote the book.
Traditionally with self-publishing an author kept all his royalties since he’d paid completely for the book. Not quite the same with print-on-demand. I get a higher royalty rate than I might with a real publisher but I pretty much gotta hustle the book myself. Since I’m not paying for the actual manufacturing of the book, most of the money from the book sales goes back to iUniverse.
I like the arrangement. I’d hate to have boxes of unsold books lying around the house. And my original investment is obviously much less than it would be if I’d paid to print a thousand copies of a book. Also my deal with iUniverse is non-exclusive so if I do get a publishing contract, I can give my books to the publishing house. And for now, I own all the rights.
So on to the timeline. The way the whole thing works is this: I submit a complete, edited manuscript along with copy for the back cover and the cover art and author photo via a nifty online submission process. (I submitted Barry’s Cherries on 30 March.) Within a day a PSA (Publishing Services Associate) from iUniverse contacts me to tell me the schedule. Within 7 to 10 days, designers layout the book block of my novel. (This is where my book is now.) Then iUniverse sends me a proof of the book block. I have 14 days to return my corrections to the novel. iUniverse takes another week to make my changes. Within another week after that, iUniverse will have the book in final production. Once that is completed, I will order my author copies of the book. It will take a week or two before I have them in hand. Total time: about six weeks. Not bad, huh?
It takes another month to six weeks before the book will be listed with major retailers but in that time, it is available directly from iUniverse.
I hope that’s the least bit interesting.