The article fails to mention the great bug-a-boo of POD: a publisher willing to "punt" on an author lends a legitimacy to the final product.* It's one thing for, say, Stephen King to dump his publisher and start selling books through Lulu. It's quite another thing for King Stephen to try it.
* whether such legitimacy is justified is a different question.
August 15th, 2006, 08:12 AM
How about this view from Stan Nicholls:
From the Write Fantastic blog. (http://community.livejournal.com/writefantastic/3594.html)
August 15th, 2006, 12:51 PM
The matter of POD really does stir folks up one way or another.
Personally I think you make up your mind, pays your money and live with the results one way or another.....
August 15th, 2006, 01:20 PM
I see a few new publishers using the POD business model. Not vanity pubs but publishers who send rejections. And the big boys are using POD to keep their authors "in-print" long after the print runs are finished. Could be POD is making more sense.
August 15th, 2006, 01:58 PM
POD is definitely making some changes in the publishing industry, or perhaps reflecting changes is more accurate, but it seems to be more of an evolution than a revolution. Articles like that linked at the beginning of the thread have been coming out for quite some time now, exclaiming that POD has/will changed everything.
It may very well make sense for some writers to turn to POD. It certainly makes small press publishing much more viable than just a few years ago. Look, for instance, at this Interview (http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/nonfiction/intsw.htm) British author/publisher Sean Wright. Keep in mind, however, that Sean is one success among many anonymous failures.
Even so, the big fight for the POD'er is to achieve any measure of legitimacy in the publishing world. That means being able to get your book reviewed (and not just a review by your cousin's former flatmate in the local free paper). That means being able to finagle a certain level of media attention. That means getting your books into the bricks-and-mortar stores where lots of sales and name-recognition are accumulated by browsing, which means getting a distributor to take it, which means accepting returns.
Martin Wroe should have kept his focus on the cachet of being a "published" writer as the motive force behind going POD. Take another look at the article. "Profitability has been factored around millions of sales by hundreds of authors; in future it may be based around hundreds of sales by millions of authors." Yeah, profitability--for the POD company that is. Hundreds of sales mean continued obscurity for the writer as well as a newly-lightened wallet.
Should one go the POD route? Maybe. It might be for you; it might even be for me one day. But do it with your eyes open, knowing that there is no easy and sure road to fame and fortune as a writer.
August 15th, 2006, 02:20 PM
Check the POD-dy Mouth blog. Particlulary the Publisher's Weekly entry and how the authors of the POD books -- most done a la vanity -- have now secured bona fide literary agents. Doesn't happen in most cases but there does seem to be some upswing momentum.
Scroll to: Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Entertainment Weekly beats the Golden Needle?
POD-dy Mouth blog (http://girlondemand.blogspot.com/)
August 15th, 2006, 02:46 PM
Yes, and that makes my point: that POD carries with it a (mostly deserved but sometimes regrettable) lack of respect. Some POD books land the author an agent and even a publishing contract. That's like saying that some humans have gone to the moon. True, but . . .
August 15th, 2006, 03:48 PM
Helpful (http://booksandtales.com/pod/index.php) site for deciding to PoD or not to PoD, where to PoD, what contracts to sign...
Take a look at the articles, too.
It looks like a well-made site.
PoD is a printing technique that seems quite appropriate for small print-runs, but the problem is that there are no established business-models yet, and the publishing and retail world still functions with traditional methods.
Personally, I would never publish without an editing service, and I wouldn't pay to be published. I'm a writer, not a publisher. Selling my own stuff is not a skill I have. But then some small presses use PoD instead of traditional "print-runs", which makes sense because the numbers of issues sold are often in the hundreds rather than in the thousands.
PoD isn't compatible with the bestseller mentality:
"Profitability has been factored around millions of sales by hundreds of authors; in future it may be based around hundreds of sales by millions of authors." Yeah, profitability--for the POD company that is. Hundreds of sales mean continued obscurity for the writer as well as a newly-lightened wallet.
This is true. You should never invest money you can't afford to lose. The question is in the fees; and when you balance the costs of submission fees against PoD fees (if there are PoD-fees) it may not come out that bad, after all. You lose money to postage, printer cartridges, paper and SAE's, too, if you go the conventional way.
As always, you need to know what you want.
What makes this business so difficult is that PoD is a printing method that has lower fixed costs, but higher variable costs, making it viable for small print runs. But, since the industry is currently structured with traditional printing methods in mind, distribution can be a problem (and in many cases relies entirely on online sales).
I doubt that PoD is the future of publishing, but I do see an unmined potential for small presses and special interst publication, once publishing and retail catch on and stop equating PoD with Vanity Presses.
One of the possibilities I could see are virtual bookreading stations in book-shops that include PoD books (or excerpts) in PDF format to read for free, with the possibility to order it. Since the strength of PoD is not having to print the books before they're bought, it should be possible to order books in bookshops, browsing them like regular books, etc. You won't be able to take a "book" home straight away, of course, but you could burn the book onto a CD/DVD for a discount and take that home (or send it to your e-mail address for an even greater discount). PoD is a very flexible publishing method; publishers and retailers just have to notice this opportunity, to incorporate it into their respective business models.
As always, it's quite complicated, and nobody really knows what comes of it.
August 15th, 2006, 07:24 PM
POD is just the latest technology for self-publishing, and self-publishing has been doing well for about two decades now. What POD is battling with is not the curse of self-publishing, which lingers but is mostly gone, but the curse of vanity presses, which are thought to be con operations for the most part. Because you have these companies putting out a lot of POD titles for a fee, there are concerns about what they produce, which tend to tar anyone doing it. But some of these companies may well turn into solid publishers, just as many self-publishing/small press operations became larger presses.
I'm not at all an expert in the POD market, but I do have a friend who has a small press of what are mainly her own non-fiction titles, and she gets her books into stores, has a distributor, etc., on her own. She even turned down an offer by a major publisher to reprint the series. And a lot of this sort of thing seems to be going on. In the last Entertainment Weekly issue, for instance, they profiled a woman with a website/blog and she reads and reviews POD self-published works and they reprinted the POD titles she recommends, complete with copies of their covers, in the magazine. That's something that I was surprised to see.
If someone can sell a few hundred books on their own, and are willing to do the work, probable expense, etc. of doing it, self-publishing and things like POD can do very well, and may not be that far removed from working with a small press. And it is possible for self-published works to get into bookstores -- they've been doing it for awhile, though it's not the norm. An established press is always going to be better, but for some authors, self-publishing works for them, and the Web does offer a lot of opportunities.
There is also the reality that very little editing is now going on most of the time by any publishing house -- the responsibilities placed on authors with publishers and on authors who are self-publishing may not be that far apart any more. For SFF, which always had to rely on a national market, self-publishing was not a very viable option, whereas other type of fiction had much better chances to do it. But with a small press industry springing up for sff, that situation may be changing. It's still too early to tell -- give it another five years.