Print on demand (just give us 2 weeks)

I’ve been meaning to try out the print on demand process, to see what it’s like (not for self-publication, but for an idea I have as part of my marketing plan).

Anyway, two weeks ago, I discovered a genuine excuse to try it out. I have a couple of beta readers lined up to gauge opinion on a novel. I planned on giving typescripts, but having given one out before, I know how cumbersome a ream of printouts can be for a casual reader. I also feel that casual readers would treat the manuscript more honestly as a book for review if it is actually presented to them as a book.

Aha! Now that’s a use for print on demand!

One reader was heading on holidays soon, so giving him a “holiday read” copy would be ideal (it’s probably the only time he’d find time to read it anyway!) So I chose Lulu because they can do private projects (where only the author can see and purchase them, and author retains all copyright). For safety, I retired the project after shipment. I’m sure publishers might balk at this behaviour, but – hey – I ain’t got that problem yet! This is my solution to ARCs for the unpublished! The trim sizes are a little limited, but I picked a suitably bookish one. For the cover, I left it all black with no title, no text .. nothing. I figure he’d love the kudos of reading an all-black mystery book in the airport lounge. A copyright notice figures prominently too, in case he leaves it there (that’s the disadvantage of giving less cumbersome review copies – maybe too portable!)

I can see why so many frustrated authors get sucked into POD vanity publication. It so damned seductive. Shiny black novel arrived this morning. Now, getting it to market – that’s not so easy, and not “on demand”! As a way of generating review copies though, it’s perfect, and seeing one copy in print might be a good catharsis to keep the impatient author submitting to agents just that bit longer.

A triumphant success. Just one problem – my reader left for holidays three days ago.

Yet again, “on demand” it ain’t. It takes up to five days to print, as I learned, and then there’s delivery time after that.

Oh well, maybe next holiday …

In the meantime, I’ve got a copy of my very own novel on my desk … to keep me going that bit longer.

Add comment April 21st, 2009


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