Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Praying that Lightning Strikes Twice (and Then Some)

I mention all the time about how limited my knowledge of self-publishing is, so I'm still prone to making rookie mistakes.  One of the things I've neglected to do until fairly recently was work more on selling print copies of my books.

I know that there are many who eschew print altogether (and make a very good living focusing only on ebooks), but for me it's another market to sell to. Public libraries, brick-and-mortar bookstores, etc.  They're all out there - numbering in the hundreds of thousands - and since it costs practically nothing to do print versions, why not?

That said, getting into physical libraries and bookstores can sometimes require a little more legwork. Independent bookstores may only work with you on a consignment basis, and - other than those located near you - the large chains may only be interested if they can get your book through one of their distributors/wholesalers such as Ingram.  (For libraries, this would primarily be Baker & Taylor.)  Moreover, outside of something like Creatspace's Expanded Distribution, you really need your own ISBN number.

Bearing all that in mind (and the fact that I was getting double-digit sales of print copies on Createspace), I decided a few weeks back to sign up with Lightning Source, which is a division of Ingram. Lightning Source offers print-on-demand services, and through them my books are available via Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and others. Granted they are more expensive than CS's Expanded Distribution (and the set-up is more complicated), but I have more control in terms of setting the discount for wholesalers (20%-55%), as opposed to the automatic 60% at CS. (Not to mention the fact that CS won't make your book available to libraries/universities if you use your own ISBN.)

Thankfully, things appear to be working out in that I recently checked my Lightning Source account and saw that I had my first order. With any luck, it will be the first of many.

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