Most of my posts gave focused on getting your memoir written. This time I wanted to jump ahead and talk about getting your manuscript printed once you finish writing!
First, the bad news: chances of a big publisher sweeping up your beloved work with a mega-contract are (generally-speaking) somewhere between slim and none, unless you’re close kin to Oprah. Sorry ’bout that. But name recognition tends to be the way of the publishing world.
That said, however, getting your book in print in “real book” form is nowhere near as difficult — or as expensive — as it used to be. A wide variety of printers now cater directly to authors as self-publishers.
Like anything else in this world, there are pros and cons for every printing option. But here are my thoughts on three different printers I’ve used — and liked — for my own books. (Nope, I haven’t been paid by any of them!)
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The 800-pound gorilla of the publishing world, hands-down, is Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. It’s free to upload your book; no set-up fees. And they’ve made the self-publishing process non-geek-accessible, a huge accomplishment in today’s high-tech world.
A few more “pros” about KDP:
- You can order a single print copy, if you like; there’s no ordering minimum. And the price per copy is generally cheaper than you’ll find with other printers.
- You can purchase “author copies” for just the cost of printing plus shipping.
- Friends and relatives can easily order their own copies online through Amazon’s regular bookstore.
- KDP offers a lovely “premium” paper option – I used it for my own family memoir and was so pleased with the result for interior photos.
On the downside:
- Ordering multiple author copies shipped directly to you can be problematic. Sometimes all goes smoothly, and all the books arrive neatly packed in a single box. On two separate occasions, though, I’ve had dozens of books arrive individually packaged in their own envelopes, many with bent corners and other damage from shipping.
- You get what you pay for. Though Amazon’s printing and binding are definitely acceptable, if you’re extra-picky, the end result isn’t quite as high-quality as with other printers, in my humble opinion.
For more information about publishing a book with KDP: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/
My go-to printer for my own books for almost ten years has been DiggyPod, a small self-publishing printer based in Tecumseh, Michigan. They offer free online templates for both interior text and cover design, and their instant-price calculator lets you know immediately just what printing will cost you, based on book size, quantity, and paper choice.
More “pros” about using DiggyPod:
- Their customer service and quality-control are both first-rate. They’ve caught simple upload mistakes twice for me before a book went to print. Yes, there’s a small charge to re-upload files if you do make a mistake. But it’s far, far better than having books arrive with (in my case) ten pages missing, for example.
- Their print quality is great. I’ve always been happy with the way books I’ve sent them turned out, and they package them well, so there’s no damage in shipment.
- They’ll happily send you a free sample book so you can see not only an example of their printing, but also how text and photos appear on different paper choices. They offer free video tutorials online, and can also assist with cover design for a small fee.
On the downside:
- DiggyPod has a 25-book minimum – hardly the end of the world for printing a memoir, as many writers will have at least that many friends and relatives who’d want a copy. To get free shipping, however, you’ll need to order at least 100 copies.
For more information on publishing through DiggyPod: https://www.diggypod.com/how-
BookBaby is a fascinating, huge one-stop-shop for everything an author might want, from printing to editing to selling your final book. It’s an à la carte menu, so you can pick and choose the services you need, and pricing is right there on the website.
More “pros” for BookBaby:
- They promise “humans helping humans” – an assigned specialist to guide you through the process.
- You can print a single book to make sure everything looks the way you want – with no shipping fee.
- Advice on book design and sample templates are available for free on the website.
- Their quality is great. And if you plan to sell your book once it’s available, you can use their online bookshop.
On the downside:
- BookBaby offers lots and lots of options – so many the choices can seem almost overwhelming, at first.
- There’s a bit of an upsell nudge built into their offerings, so be careful you choose only what you really need. (Do you really need a $990 “package”?)
- Cost per book can (in my experience) end up being more per book than with other printers, though the quality is first-rate.
- Even with an “assigned specialist,” at least one friend I referred to BookBaby still found the publishing process confusing and difficult to navigate. My own experience with them went flawlessly, however.
For more information on publishing through BookBaby: https://www.bookbaby.com/
These are just my own experiences; your mileage may vary. But I hope one of these options may help you get your memoir in print!