Proud of being a POD Person - print-on-demand, that is

How much stigma is attached to publishing with a print-on-demand press? I've realized the stigma may be greater than confessing to a psychiatric diagnosis (in my case, bipolar disorder). But I believe that's changing rapidly, and that traditional publishers are stuck in the last Millennium. What do you think?

Personally, I'm delighted to have published two mysteries POD. I'd say more, but I've already been online far too long today, and I encourage you to read my thoughts elsewhere. My garden is calling and in need of a drink.

Julie Lomoe's Musings Mysterioso

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Unfortunately, that's what many people don't know...that POD is simply a technology. They throw every digitally produced book under one big umbrella! There is a world of difference between a self-published book that is printed utilizing the POD technology, but perhaps not edited well or in some cases, even written well, and a small or medium press utilizing the POD technology instead offset printing. Somehow there is a mentality that if the publisher is committed enough to spend thousands printing books that may never sell out, then it's a "REAL" book.

While I have read some wonderful self-published fact I'm reading one right now written by one of my author friends...unfortunately many self-published books have not been edited, and contain spelling and formatting errors, unless the author has been very diligent and gone through the book several times. No matter how good a writer you may be, professional editing is imperative in my mind. A reputable small royalty-paying press, such as my publisher L&L Dreamspell, puts out a well-edited quality product that happens to have been printed digitally rather than by offset press.

Unfortunately many bookstores don't differentiate when they say they won't accept POD's. The Silver Sisters Mysteries are available in every format from paperback, Kindle and e-book to CD and MP3. They are carefully edited and formatted, just as a larger press would demand. One of these days the distinction may be based upon the quality of the book and the writing...not the way it's printed. And when will that day be? When the larger presses start (and some have) to quietly utilize POD for certain releases.

Ditto Toni, POD is a printing technique used by all publishers to some extent. It is a tool that prints books, not a marketing philosophy and certainly no longer limited to the vanity publishers.
I didn't know that Toni (don't consider myself an expert in this area), but isn't it true that most POD books are self-published?
Self-published is another term that can mean a lot of different things. To me, it means really hands-on involvement through all phases of the process, and that's something I'd never want to do! My publisher, Virtual Bookworm, has a good description of the various terms on their home page.
I don't know about most, Eric. A lot are, but then again, a lot of small presses use POD technology, too. Then there are the self-pre-publishers--meaning people whose books were published traditionally but have since gone out of print.
Jeez, another new term! And what do you call these authors when they get their books back into publication through POD technology after the biggies have dropped them? I know people doing this too. Are they pre-published-self-post-published?
Sorry, I meant that to be self-re-publishers, which is to say those authors who get their books back into publication after being dropped. Just a typo there, and far too ugly a neologism to ever use again.

But my point was meant to be that if you're reprinting a book that has already been traditionally published, I wouldn't put you into the same category as a self-published novel. (Not that anybody is asking me to do the sorting, mind you.)
Aw shucks, I was going to add that to my list of definitions!
I know how you feel, Julie. I just reissued my only published novel, IDENTITY CRISIS, through Lulu and I almost feel duty-bound to explain to people that it was once published by a small press, just so they know someone actually chose to publish it and it was edited before its release.

While some people and certain entities which I won't name continue to turn up their noses at people who go this route, I think a lot of former disbelievers are warming up to it more. It takes determination and relentless promotion and marketing, but if you write a great story and manage to build a following, it is entirely possible to land a traditional publishing contract. If nothing else, the experience will make you better prepared for doing even more of the same once you land that contract. Because, in reality, most authors don't get the big promo $$ from their publishers.
Another excellent post, Debbi. Again, I'd like to quote you. How do you like Lulu? That was one of the ones I researched before choosing Virtualbookworm, and it's one of the best rated.

One reason I chose Virtualbookworm is that it's not only highly rated, but it's a small operation compared to some of the giants, and I was hoping for more individualized attention. And that's exactly what I got. They've grown, but the CEO still answers my e-mails the same day, and is very supportive. (I told him he might be getting some queries because of my posts on this topic. If you do contact them, please mention my name!)

Julie Lomoe's Musings Mysterioso
Feel free to quote me, anytime, Julie. :)

I just released my book through Lulu this month. I found the publishing process a bit less than transparent at times, but maybe it was just me blundering through the process. Anyway, the book's in their system, so now I'm just promoting and marketing like crazy.

Virtualbookworm is one I didn't know about. I heard about Lulu because my SinC chapter reissued its anthology CHESAPEAKE CRIMES (in which I have a story) through Lulu after the publisher went under (the publisher who originally released my book).

Have you gotten good distribution through Virtualbookworm? Lulu distributes through Amazon, other online retailers and Ingram, I believe.
Virtualbookworm distributes through the major online retailers and uses Ingram and Baker & Taylor. But I have to do all the marketing. That's true for many authors these days even with traditional publishers, though.

Again, I'd love to quote you. How about you just send me copies of both your posts, maybe cobbled together (about 500-600 words) and a little bio info, and I'll stick it in? That would make you my first official guest blogger! I'm open to other guests, too - just e-mail me at the address below.

You raise a major point about traditional small presses - they frequently do go under! Can you name names?

Me e-mail is


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