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nwhitehe
06-15-2007, 01:46 AM
I'm interested in self-publishing some academic works such as lecture notes, workbooks, and monographs, and was wondering if you had any advice.

Basically, I have to come up with lecture material, problems, articles, etc., for my teaching and research. I figure it's not that much more work to type them up and do all the page layout and typesetting, then publish them for my students and anyone else that's interested. OK, maybe it's a lot of work, but I'm obsessed with typesetting and book design. It's not work if you're having fun!

POD seems like a good fit for this. I can produce print-ready PDFs myself but perhaps not great covers. The reliable market is very small, about 20 -30 students per book. I anticipate that some books might be reused in later classes or by other instructors, but there is no guarantee.

Which POD publishers (or subsidy/vanity publishers) are a good fit for me? Ideally the books would be available on Amazon and easy for libraries to purchase, but maybe that's unrealistic.

citymouse
06-15-2007, 03:58 AM
nw, if you can do your own interior layout and have cover art ideas then Book Surge offers a $99 package. A cover artist can easily format a cover with ISBN placement for you for ~$100 (if you already have the front art and back blurb/author's bio in hand).
The $99 includes ISBN so you don't have to get one. They supply the link once the $99 is paid.
C

Medievalist
06-15-2007, 05:06 AM
Skip Booksurge; go with Lulu.com.

ResearchGuy
06-15-2007, 07:24 AM
I'm interested in self-publishing some academic works such as lecture notes, workbooks, and monographs,. . . POD seems like a good fit for this. I can produce print-ready PDFs myself but perhaps not great covers. The reliable market is very small, about 20 -30 students per book. I anticipate that some books might be reused in later classes or by other instructors, but there is no guarantee. . . . .
Sounds like a perfect candidate for www.lulu.com (http://www.lulu.com), especially given that you like to do the layout and design. Covers are easy, actually. That sort of thing might be fine with a plain text cover, or one of Lulu's basic gallery covers (one without photos or involved artwork).

My recommendation: go for it. Experiment. Order A copy once you think it looks right, and examine closely. Revise as needed. When you are sure it is what you want, then order copies in appropriate quantity (a discount kicks in starting at 26 or 27 copies). The distribution package can probably wait, and you might do better to simply sell directly, or via the Lulu storefront, or both.

I am using Lulu to print a booklet/brochure called "The Pursuit of Publishing," which I use mostly as a person-to-person marketing tool and to enlighten some of the clueless writers I meet with in local groups. It is the cheapest booklet-printing option that I know of for the purpose. I have also set up one of my unpublished monographs at Lulu, for sale at printing cost (and free download). Very handy. But it took some experimentation to get it right.

--Ken

nwhitehe
06-15-2007, 11:03 AM
Thanks for the replies. One thing with lulu I'm worried about is appearing too unprofessional. Showing up at the first day of class with a big box of books and telling students to give me $20 cash for a book doesn't present the right image! Maybe I could put a nice lulu storefront url in the course description, then let students order the book from the storefront before class. I've looked at a few lulu storefronts and they didn't seem great.

The other consideration is that the more "professional" the book appears, the better it looks on my CV (yes I'm shallow). That makes me want to at least consider booksurge or the various lulu distribution options. If I'm willing to pay $100 for the distribution, is there any reason to not do it?

Why is "published by you" $50 while "published by lulu" is $100? Isn't it better if your book is published by your own small publishing company?

ResearchGuy
06-15-2007, 06:04 PM
Thanks for the replies. One thing with lulu I'm worried about is appearing too unprofessional. Showing up at the first day of class with a big box of books and telling students to give me $20 cash for a book doesn't present the right image! Maybe I could put a nice lulu storefront url in the course description, then let students order the book from the storefront before class. I've looked at a few lulu storefronts and they didn't seem great.

The other consideration is that the more "professional" the book appears, the better it looks on my CV (yes I'm shallow). That makes me want to at least consider booksurge or the various lulu distribution options. If I'm willing to pay $100 for the distribution, is there any reason to not do it?

Why is "published by you" $50 while "published by lulu" is $100? Isn't it better if your book is published by your own small publishing company?
Please feel free to email me directly (email address is all over my website, and is in my profile here). We can set up a time to talk on the phone. That would be WAY more efficient than tryihg to carry on a conversation by post here.

One quick comment: you can most likely provide the book to the campus bookstore at trade discount. Let the bookstore sell it to the students.

One other: if I were you, I would NOT think in terms of the book as in any way, shape, or form a publishing credit. It is no more a publishing credit than it would be if you had copies printed at Kinko's or Office Max.

Contact me. Let's talk through the issues. Call it a professional courtesy.

--Ken

Medievalist
06-15-2007, 06:06 PM
Thanks for the replies. One thing with lulu I'm worried about is appearing too unprofessional. Showing up at the first day of class with a big box of books and telling students to give me $20 cash for a book doesn't present the right image!

You might need to check with your local authorities -- it may be an ethics violation for you to directly sell to students.

Your school doesn't, via the bookstore, coordinate the production, printing and sale of "readers" made by faculty?

veinglory
06-15-2007, 07:43 PM
If this is supplimental reading for students I think it would appear odd. You would get a much better deal and the work would be more accessible if you used the campus print shop--they generally will collate copy and bind at or near cost. In many cases you could also then bill it to the department to save the students some money.

James D. Macdonald
06-19-2007, 03:04 AM
Why is "published by you" $50 while "published by lulu" is $100? Isn't it better if your book is published by your own small publishing company?

Published by you, you supply the ISBN. Published by Lulu, you're buying one of their ISBNs. That's the difference, as far as I can see.

ResearchGuy
06-19-2007, 06:26 AM
. . .
Why is "published by you" $50 while "published by lulu" is $100? Isn't it better if your book is published by your own small publishing company?
FYI:




How much does retail distribution cost?
Lulu offers Published By Lulu Distribution Service for $99.95 and Published By You Distribution Service for $149.95. For all the details see the Distribution FAQ (http://www.lulu.com/help/distribution_faq).

http://www.lulu.com/help/index.php?fSymbol=lulu_basics

It costs more to use your own ISBN. Darned if I know why.

--Ken