Thursday, August 1, 2013

101 Thoughts on Self-Publishing -- 011: Put It In Print

The eBook revolution really is a wonderful thing. It has not only made self-publishing finally viable for most people, but for readers, it has opened up an entire new world of possibilities. 

But this also means that as eReaders become more popular and affordable, people will buy fewer and fewer print books. I know a lot of people lament this fact and worry about the possible extinction of print, but I don't think that will happen.

Humans will always have a need to surround themselves with things, and for readers, those things will include books. I see eBooks and print books having a relationship similar to the current relationship between hardcovers and mass market paperbacks.

Hardcovers (or nicer, larger-sized trade paperbacks) are the books you buy to keep, the books from your favorite authors, the ones you display on your shelves. The mass market paperbacks are meant to be read then sold, traded, left on airplanes, packed away in boxes, etc. If you're at all like me, you've discovered a favorite book via mass market paperback that you then wanted to buy a nicer copy of, a copy to keep, a copy to admire on the shelf.

I think eBooks will eventually replace the cheap, mass market paperbacks, but not books altogether. Our casual and exploratory reading will happen digitally, and the books we love we will seek out in print.

This is why I think it's a good idea to put your books out in print. If your experience is similar to that of most self-published authors, the lion's share of your sales will be in eBooks. But if you use a service like Amazon's CreateSpace, you will see some sales of your print books. They may be slow, but they'll add up over time. Plus, signed print copies are great gifts for your fans and are a crowd-pleasing prize for contests. You can also sell signed copies from your website and boost profits a bit that way.

Keep in mind that formatting for print can be a bit tricky, but if you don't have the time or patience to learn how to do it yourself, there are people who will provide the service for a fee. You also have to design (or have designed) a wrap for the back cover and spine. I think the time (or money) is worth it, however. In addition to having something available for your die-hard fans, there's really no experience quite like ripping open a box and seeing your book in print. It exciting to see your eBook go live, but it simply cannot compare to holding your work in your own two hands.

Until Next Time!
Michael K. Rose


If you're enjoying the series so far and would like a single page to bookmark, I'll be adding each of my 101 Thoughts on Self-Publishing here. Also be sure to subscribe by email (see the box in the sidebar) to be automatically notified about my new posts.

You might also be interested in my new eBook, Building a Promotional Package: How to Prepare for Your Successful Book Launch. Details about it can be found here.

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