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What is Self-Publishing today?

Until recently self-publishing a book required a substantial upfront investment, both on the production side and in the marketing efforts. The traditional printing and binding of a book costs thousands of dollars, because hundreds or thousands of copies must be printed to keep the unit cost down. 

Today’s technology allows virtual amateurs to self-publish almost anything with very little monetary commitment. Digital printing and “zero-makeready” binding machines have created a huge marketplace known as print-on-demand publishing. In this world, one sale of your book creates an order to print and bind that one copy.

Virtually all of our clients take advantage of these new tools, whether they are creating a book for a large audience or an audience of one. It has never been so easy (or so much fun) to transform our ideas, thoughts, images and beliefs into a beautiful professionally made book-store quality volume. 

Obviously this is a wonderful advancement in many ways. But it has also created an illusion that the whole process of publishing a book to a wide and unsuspecting and as yet undiscovered audience has also become simple. Certainly, you can get your new title listed on Amazon and elsewhere within weeks,  But who will know it is there? 

As opposed to a traditional publishing house with an established network with PR, Marketing and Sales departments, you will be dependent on your own ‘platform’, via social media, professional networks, etc. According to The Guardian, the average self-published author makes $1,00 a year. This includes well established authors with multiple books targeting large fan bases. 

So this better be rewarding to you in other ways, because it is not likely to be a get-rich-quick scheme.

How can we help you?

At BookCreate our core business is book design, not publishing. But we cannot ignore your next steps, if we want to truly help you be successful. So we have always monitored all viable book production outlets, especially in the emerging print-on-demand arena. This enables us to help you find the best fit for your specific situation. We will also warn you of the folly of your ways, if we notice potential upcoming folly. 

Good example: A coffee table style art or photography book in large format with a hard-cover, of 100 pages will cost anywhere from $100 to $300 each, when printed on-demand. If the production cost is $100, the book should list for at least $250 for any money to be made. The seller will take more than half of the list price, while you pay for the writing, editing, design, printing and marketing with your 35 to 45 percent share. You won’t find anything selling on Amazon under “photography books - coffee table style” for more than $60. 

So that’s out. But we can help you position that same book when used as a portfolio piece, or a client gift or for direct sale at a showing. It just isn’t practical yet for mass distributive sale.

The best genres for print-on-demand self-publishers are those with little or no imagery. Here, production costs can be under $10. Your book can probably be printed in-house with IngramSpark ( or Kindle Direct Publishing ( They will also distribute the listing globally, which gives you some street cred as an author, but it doesn’t sell books. You still have that job. 

We also know of print providers with offerings between these two extremes. So that’s how we can help - advice, consultation, connections.

We look forward to hearing from you!


Check back soon, as we are preparing a comparison page for print and distribution providers.


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