View Full Version : Self Publishing

09-26-2005, 12:36 AM
I had a few lined up, but Xlibris wanted me to sign up for their September sevices. I felt pressured in doing so and now I'm considering Infinity. When I called them I went directly to a publishing consultant instead of dialing for options or an extention.

What are your views of these companies and who do you recomend for new authors?

James D. Macdonald
09-26-2005, 12:44 AM
For new authors?

I recommend submitting your work to publishers who actually get books into bookstores, and to agents who sell books that actually get into bookstores.

No variety of vanity publishing (and both Xlibris and Infinity are vanity presses) is a good idea for a new author.

09-26-2005, 01:50 AM
. . . now I'm considering Infinity. When I called them I went directly to a publishing consultant instead of dialing for options or an extention.

What are your views of these companies and who do you recomend for new authors?

I assume you are writing for a narrow niche market. If not, you need to explore more options.

I've used Infinity three times and found them to be honest. However, before you consider a POD publisher, you should know that POD works best if you can sell at least 200 but not more than 1,000 books. My best-selling POD has sold 400 copies; my worst selling has sold 265. If you can't sell at least 200 books, go to a copy shop.

If you can sell more than 1,000, self-publishing is a better deal. I've sold over 1,500 copies of my self-pubbed book, now in its second press run. I'm close to maxing out my readership. If I sell out this run, I'll use Lulu for future copies of this book instead of doing another full run.

All my books are for very narrow regional niche audiences. Many of my readers are older and don't use computers, so they are unlikely to order online. I need hard copies available for them. POD lets me do that without having to store a thousand copies in the garage.

Before you POD, you should already have a readership in place (I write a local newspaper column, and the area where I live has many retired people who read and buy books), have places that will sell your books (I live in an area with lots of gift shops but darn few bookstores within 50 miles), and have a lot of organizations available who invite you to be a guest speaker and who will let you sell books after you speak (I do). If you don't meet any of those conditions, selling a POD/self-pubbed book will be tough.

The owner of the only bookstore in my county told me that readers don't care who publishes a book—they just want good books. She's right; my self-pubbed novel is the best selling-novel in her very small bookstore that sells mainly regional books. But you have to be able to get your book to readers. Bookstore owners are unlikely to take a chance on unknown authors; several times I have had to leave a book to preview before a store owner decided to order.

A couple of regional gift shops now order my POD books directly from Infinity, which "prints" in-house, has a toll-free number, and prices its books lower than most PODs. Plus it gives them 40% off the retail price. Infinity also has a return policy, and they give a discount on set-up fees to repeat authors.

One of the reasons I like Infinity: I can call them on short notice when I need books for a reading. I always order 20 (the minimum to get free shipping) which I get at 40% off. Since I get a 10% royalty for books I buy, my discount really comes to more than 40% off. (Infinity has recently increased its royalties on books bought from them or from Amazon.) Recently I called Infinity toll-free late on a Tuesday afternoon to order books for a speaking engagement I had on Wednesday of the following week. When I talked to Michelle Shane (people at Infinity have both first and last names), she told me I'd have them by Monday. I had my books at noon Friday—within three days!

I haven't lost money on my Infinity books (and I've actually made a modest profit), though I've made much more on my self-pubbed book. However, writing is not my primary occupation and I don't depend on it for an income. Hence, POD works for me for certain situations.

I am pitching my next book to a commercial publisher. This book has considerably wider audience potential than my previous books. However, if I'm unable to sell it commercially within a year or two, I will probably use Infinity again.

Cathy C
09-26-2005, 02:09 AM
While your Title is "Self Publishing," the fact that you mentioned two subsidy publishers indicates that you don't understand the distinction between the two terms. As Jim states above, Xlibris and Infinity are both subsidy (what some call vanity) publishers. In order to be SELF-published, all you should be seeking is a PRINTER. You will never feel pressured when YOU'RE the one in control.

Here are the elements of true self-publishing:

1. You have contacted RR Bowker or a third party dealer and purchased a block of ISBN numbers to use on this and future books.

2. You have created a formal publishing company with an imprint name that goes on the spine of the book. This publishing company will show as the publisher of record in the Library of Congress, and on bookseller sites and catalogues.

3. You have designed or have contracted with an artist to create cover art, back cover art and spine art.

4. You have researched and retained a printing press (POD, or offset press)

5. You have formatted your book for hardback, trade paperback or mass market paperback and have given the completed document to the press to print.

6. You have contacted on-line and brick/mortar bookstores, plus distributors and wholesalers to advertise your company's products.

7. You are paying the bills (where necessary) to each of these entities individually, and will claim the expenses on your taxes as a debit against business income.

If you aren't doing at least five of these seven, you're not self-publishing. Wander around the Self-Publishing/POD forum to find out more about how to truly self-publish. Good luck!

09-26-2005, 04:12 AM
While your Title is "Self Publishing," the fact that you mentioned two subsidy publishers indicates that you don't understand the distinction between the two terms. As Jim states above, Xlibris and Infinity are both subsidy (what some call vanity) publishers.

Actually a subsidy publisher is another variation on vanity. Subsidy publishers are much more expensive than a POD or complete self-publishing and do a lot more (editing, design, etc.). I was able to self-publish a thousand copies for less than half of what a subsidy publisher (recommended by a friend who used this particular one and did get a beautiful, albeit costly, hardbook) would charge for the same run.

After reading a lengthy contract for this subsidy company, I figured that I couldn't make any money with them until I'd sold the thousand copies, so I self-pubbed. I hit break-even at 500.

I didn't actually have to design my self-pubbed book. The printer had a person who did that (I picked the font and paper, though) and another person who set my disk into Pagemaker. It was kind of neat actually being able to see the printing press that did my book. Unloading a truckful of books, however, is not fun on a hot day. Printers' costs vary tremendously and each offers something slightly different. Be prepared to spend several days visiting printers, talking to reps, and actually looking at books they've done.

With Infinity, after I pay the set-up fee and buy 200 copies initially, I hit break-even around 180. Money usually flows back to me within six months of publishing. With Infinity, the contract is pretty straight-forward. It's even posted on their web site.

When you go with a POD, essentially you hire the POD company to produce your product and have it available for you or others to order. With subsidy, you "enter into a partnership" with them (except you're putting up a big chunk of money) and you don't look for a return on your investment anytime soon.

Some subsidies do, however, manage to get bookstore placement—or at least one I know of did. A local newspaper reviews subsidy books on its book page, but not POD or self-pubbed. (I have, however, gotten mine mentioned as "noteworthy" paperbacks, with a nice sentence or two recommending them.)

Anyhow, if you think your book has commercial appeal and wide marketability, try to find an agent. If not—and if you have a readership and all the other things I mentioned in my earlier post—then you can try POD or self-pubbing. If you have scads of money (think the cost of a car), don't want to see a return on your investment anytime soon, and want a nicely done hardback, subsidy is there.

POD and self-pubbing take about 2 months; subsidy is more like 6-8 months.

Doesn't this thread belong in the self-published books or POD section? This isn't actually a "beware". . . .

09-26-2005, 12:34 PM
Check out this entire thread "Diggory Press" in the "POD Self-Publishing and E-Publishing" forum for another report on a great POD company. Especially look at the comparisons between some of the previously mentioned POD's as far as costs and services go.

It will depend on your topic's appeal but I had money flowing back to me before they even cashed my check - that is I broke even and then some through pre-sales of my book through my web site before Diggory Press even cashed my check for the setup.

James D. Macdonald
09-26-2005, 05:55 PM
Ah! Another ad for Diggory!

Are you on their payroll?

09-27-2005, 02:08 AM
Doggone it James I do not mention Diggory unless it is applicable. I highly respect and value your advice and opinion. PVish placed two quite lengthy "ads" for Infinity to a post entitled "self-publishing". Why was my brief, in comparison, recommendation to check out Diggory immediately branded as "another ad for Diggory" and the entire thread moved?

Just my 2cents but I think a moderator should be impartial for one and helpful for another. You have been very helpful to me with advice for interviews and signings and what to watch out for as far as scams go. If I am mistaken tell me so but it seems evident to me that whenever I share my success or publisher info where it is appropriate - just as PVish did - you have a derogatory comment and a movement of the thread waiting. Is it the topic of my book? Did Diggory screw you? Or do my posts and your 'bad days' just happen to coincide? What is the issue?

I'd like to correct it and share a peace pipe with you.