Fragmentation of the book business has made it nearly impossible for writers to find publishers, unless, of course, they already have publishers who are willing to take chances on their new books. Publishers need to make money, and times are hard. As a result, conventional publication by major publishers has become nearly impossible for great numbers of aspiring writers who have no history of huge sales, or, quite possibly, no history of any sales at all. In an earlier post, The Dream of an Instant Book, I explored the promise of The Espresso Book Machine, a device that promises readers that it can give them any book in the world almost instantly. The same machine, as it happens, can pretty nearly promise writers instant copies of their new books, as well.
Not quite instant, but close. In December, 2009, my wife and I finished our new book, an account of our recent travels around the world. We had made a few fruitless attempts to find a publisher, either directly or through an agent, but we considered the book timely and wanted to get it out quickly. On November 23rd we contacted Shires Press in Vermont, a publisher who prints on demand with the use of an Espresso Machine. After numerous e-mails and a couple of phone calls, by December 18th we had settled details of format, cover, and pricing, and were ready to sign a contract. Copies arrived in December, in time for Christmas. It’s called AROUND THE WORLD ON THE QE2: The Last of the Great Ocean Liners, and looks like this:
So the book is now in print. For others who might be interested, it is useful to know that Shires has three publishing packages: Personal ($69 set-up), Publishing ($399 set-up), and Premier ($599 set-up). For each package there is also a reasonable per page fee, depending on the length of the book. Formats and sizes are nearly endless. Our book is 300 pages, perfect bound 6 X 9 paperback. Given the nearly endless possibilities for POD, it is very difficult to find out if our book could have been done for less elsewhere, or as well.
There remains the problem of marketing. If any reader can describe a quick, efficient, and reasonably priced way to solve that problem, it will be a boon to all of us.