Thursday, October 07, 2004


So I have been intrigued by the concept of Print On Demand (POD) publishing for several years now. And with my new death sentence, I thought it might be useful to archive some of my writing into a POD site so that it would be accessible to my friends and family who might want to read my stuff in future years. And to anyone else, for that matter.

I also want to scout it out so that my buddy Thrill can put his greatest novel up there, put all his novels up there, and make them easier for people to buy.

I thought that my collected poems would be the best place to start.

I have found this place called Lulu which looks ideal to me at the moment. But if any of you have warnings or just get a bad smell from it, let me know. They say it's free to put your book on their server, but the ISBN service that gets you listed on Amazon and Barnes and Noble costs $149. Which sounds good to me. They also make their money by taking 20% of your sales. For most people that means you and your mom ordering copies. That's a business. It's vanity publishing, but without the embarassing box of books in your basement. And if you have ever had a book contract (and I once did) you know that keeping 80% of sales is phenomenal. Normally you'd be lucky to get an agreement for 6% of net, and that's before all the lying and dancing start.

My criteria were, (by weight):

50 Sales through Barnes and Noble
30 Quality book format
15 Reasonable cost
5 As little jocular conversation with the publisher as possible

To test the first criterion, I searched the Lulu site for titles with the string 'brain.' I got a bunch of hits. So then I chose three pretty much at random and tried to find those titles at Barnes and Noble. All three showed up.

Regarding the quality of the book format, I guess I will just have to order one of their existing titles and have a look.

The cost is very reasonable.

It looks like I can largely manage the process myself, without talking to anyone, even regarding the cover photo.

"We have the ability to do no-touch publishing, where the text goes from author to printer to customer without any intervention," said Young, who previously founded the open-source software company Red Hat.

The company now has more than 12,500 book titles in print, and adds an average of 50 new titles a day.

Apparently, they even accept dirty books. Though my poems are mostly about flowers and other nice things.

OK, I've ordered this one via Barnes and Noble. Largely because the author doesn't seem like a complete illiterate. Or a Christian.
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