[This posting originally appeared on the Authors Guild forum. Since that’s exclusive to AG members, I reposted it here for my blog readers.]
Several years ago, when Print On Demand (POD) was becoming practical, I started my self-publishing “company” — Mulberrry Knoll — and produced my first book, a collection of poems (start small!) called Cave Paintings. Create Space didn’t exist, and Ingram had only Lightning Source, which they were already willing to make available to self-publishers. LS didn’t, however, initially realize how much hand-holding would be required as people with no prior experience in book production suddenly began experimenting with self-publishing. This spawned IngramSpark, specifically designed to serve newcomers to publishing.
Since I do have experience in content and copy editing, and in the technical side of publishing, and have designed book covers and interiors over the years, it was tremendously satisfying to have total control over the whole process. This, of course, meant that I saved thousands of dollars (and paid myself nothing), but I got the books I wanted, and since no initial press run was involved, it cost about $100 per title.
To my surprise and delight, I found that Ingram’s long-standing business relations with Amazon, largely through the massive Ingram Catalog, meant that without doing anything at all further, I could have my book listed as “in stock” and “sold by” Amazon. No special arrangements, no contracts, just $12/yr to keep the listing in the Ingram Catalog, and suddenly my book was available to the entire planet. What’s more, Amazon offered my books at a modest but worthwhile discount. (That discount changed, and is still changing, but it’s a long story.)Continue reading