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Seven Things to Think About Before you Go With Print on Demand

Is Print on Demand all you think it is?

You, like many other authors who don’t want to go the long hard road with traditional publishing, and who like the low cost and seemingly easiest and best way to publish a book, Print on Demand Publishing looks good. They print one book at a time when it’s ordered. But, think again. After many years of authors coming to me saying they did not make money going with a POD, and my research noticing the poor payoffs from Print on Demand, as an author’s advocate, I say, think again.

Top Seven Things to Think About Before you Go With Print on Demand

1. Notice how many other authors and books are listed on the POD web site.

Like a brick and mortar bookstore, your audience won’t go to the Print on Demand site looking for your specific book. In fact, the people who go are other authors like you. They don’t want to buy your book, they come because they think this is a simple way to be on a website where one can sell books. So who will buy?


2. Notice that when you do get listed you get only a hundred words to describe reasons people should buy your book.

That’s not enough to compel your visitor to buy your book. Without a doubt, the authors that make real money are the ones who put up a book web site. Talk about simple. You can create a short book sales letter site that when marketed, will bring only prime prospects to it.

3. Print on Demand Publishing Means Printing.

These companies aren’t really publishers just because they take your book and create digital copies for you. They are printers.

If they are printers, then they are really charging too much. And, they have control of your book and can charge you 40-50% commission before you get multiple copies of your book. If you go Print on Demand, it’s much better to go with a POD printer such as where you maintain full control of the book.

4. Research the POD company well.

Does it have a solid track record? If it goes out of business, your book goes out too. The list of Print on Demand sins is long. An example: One popular POD company may be cheap, but you cannot talk to a real person for customer service. Many companies charge little to publish, but require extra money for editing, proofs, art work, and marketing kits.

5. Check the quality offered by the POD company.

If your cover is amateur, your book won’t sell. Be sure to have a cover designer help you. If you didn’t get feedback on all the parts that go into a quality book, don’t expect the POD company to fix it. Be sure you include an order page, a testimonial page, and a copyright page. Get help from a book coach on these. Although it seems like a lot of steps, when you choose a pro to assist along the way, you will save thousands of dollars in mistakes as well as a lot of wasted time.

6. Think about editing, proofing and what you will get for your money.

Most POD companies do not edit. They merely print your book as is. These flaws when printed point to you as an amateur. If you do pay $100 or so to get 25 corrections, remember, you will probably pay a lot more after that because more corrections are needed. It’s best to use a professional. You’ll save money in the long run and raise your confidence you are on the right path.

7. Be sure you can sell this book before you spend time and money with Print on Demand.

Hindsight is expensive. Most authors charge into the Light Brigade writing a book they want to write. Too bad, because they needed to make sure a ready audience needed and wanted the book first. When an author writes a book for a preferred audience, the book will be well organized, engage its readers each paragraph of each chapter, and will be well recommended by their 24/7 sales team-the ones who finish the book and love it.

Before you leap, know that bookstores don’t like POD books because they are higher priced than traditionally published, mass-produced books and if they don’t sell, can’t be returned.

It’s natural to fear something you don’t know much about. Yet, the only way to take a so so success to outstanding is to market your book on the web. Take a teleclass, get a mentor, or hire a book coach.

Remember, you can be your own publisher with a little coaching help. You don’t have to go in unrewarding direction with POD.

After the traditional route not working, and the POD route with too little payoff, like me, you can find a new path that will work for your quality book.

To learn more about self-publishing visit my coaching pages and I’ll show you how to do it!

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About the Author, Judy Cullins

Book and Blog Coach Judy Cullins helps you gain confidence and transform your ideas into life-long money-making content. Author of 14 books for business people and authors include “Write your eBook or Other Short Book–Fast!”Judy offers free, up-to-the minute weekly publications on book and blog writing and online marketing at

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  • ntathu allen

    As usual, thoughtful and well researched pointers – so much to learn as a newbie…good to learn the ropes from a pro.

  • Judy Cullins

    Ntathu, Thanks for the comment. Always a lot to learn for books-writing, publishing and selling them! Glad to short cut people’s journey for great book success!

  • Borneo Tom


    From what I have read, the best way to do this is write the book, find a great editor, usually a local high school English teacher, hire a master web site designer, a great marketer, print about a 1,000 copies and distribute from your living room. Use neighborhood kids to stuff and address padded enveloped that hold the book. And blog, blog, blog!

    How far off am I?

  • Judy Cullins

    Tom, I wonder what you’ve read about writing saleaable books? And what is your book topic?

    As to the book business, I think you are fairly far off the mark.

    1.Don’t just write the book. Write all compelling engaging chapters that you know are good (editing not from an English teaher-most all I learned there, I chucked). You need someone who has the long-term experience to work with you as a partner who knows the ropes. Then, you won’t make stupid mistakes.

    After much research and teaching book writing and marketing seminars for 10 or more years in San Diego, along with writing my 13 or so books for business from my business experience.I sell them at my site and they bring in 1/3 of my income. My best audience? business people who want what I offer.

    2. Hire a webmaster but do most of the online marketing yourself. It’s expensive to delegate this and web work.

    3. Print far less than 1000 copies if you are new to this. I think of for that. You need a biz plan to know you’ll sell 1000 or more.

    4. Yes, blog, blog, blog, but be sure it relates to yoru book’s niche and your expertise.

    Not all books written, sell well. You need to do a lot of pre-marketing research before you leap.

    They are business experts and you need one for your book!

  • Ken Guentert

    I agree with your assessment about going with PODs that position themselves as printers rather than faux-publishers. I haven’t heard of Do you like them better than

  • Judy Cullins

    Hi Ken, I wonder what you do for publishing? Deharts is a top quality for low runs of digital books. While many like lightening, Deharts focuses just on the printing and doesn’t say they’ll promote or sell books. Have you read my article on Rethink POD? It’s posted on my book group at LInkedin. If you can’t find it let me know.

    My view is anyone can self publish with a little book coaching and that’s what I do-EAsy if you have great, inexpensive resources for your clients as I do.

  • Zhana

    Excellent points. But with Lightning Source, you choose your returns policy, so you can allow bookshops to return your books.

    It’s a good idea to cultivate a relationship with the bookshops. That way, they will be more enthusiastic about selling your books. That’s what Jacqueline Susann did, and it worked for her.

  • Roxie

    I Love your articles that are always informative thanks for posting them

  • Pingback: The Pros and Cons of Print-on-Demand Publishing

  • R.C. Beckom

    Hi Judy, all you have said about Pod publishing is true to me, I’m one of those that went pod without knowledge of the situation and am caught in the web of pod publishing with a good novel and don’t know how to get out of it to a real publisher, you stated that if the company go out of business, your book goes out of business, can it be republished or picked up by another publisher or printer? I need help getting my pod novel out there, everyone who have read it liked it. I need help with the promotion part of it, if you can point me in the right directions with my pod novel, it would be a big help

  • Fidencio E. Aguirre

    hello Judy. I just received my first POD children’s book titled, Danielito, and was not happy with all the yellow pages in the book. I was advised that I should have taken that into account before agreeing to print. I didn’t. A discussion over the problem was aired out only to discover that this POD will receive 50% of commission?! I did not look into this company well and now have a mess in my hands. I love and enjoy writing, but now what do I do with problem I am so wanting an answer to. Could you give me some advise in what to do now. The company is asking $150. upfront for a re-submission. There is no editing and the company seem to be run by people from another country with an accent! I can’t understand them sometimes. Oh please help me if you can. Fidencio E. Aguirre fidencio.
    [email protected]

  • Judy Cullins

    Fidence,You are in a pickle for sure! That’s why it’s good to get a session from a book coach who knows the ropes and you don’t’ make those costly mistakes. I really don’t how to tell you to fix it. What you can do is drop them first, then put put book in Create Space a free print program by Amazon—go to their site to find out more on how to do this. I don’[t know your budget, but you have a long way to go because the marketing is so important and takes time.I advise my
    clients to do ebook first to get kinks out of book at low cost. Hope this helps you.

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