BAM! Publish: A Vanity Press?

#PublishingFoul Logo Indies UnlimitedIt’s a common dream among first-time authors: you walk into your favorite local bookstore and there’s Your Book, sitting on the shelf for everyone to see – and buy. Alas, it’s unlikely to happen if you’re an indie author. If it happens at all, it will require a lot of hard work and persuasive energy on your part, as well as a store manager who’s willing to take a chance on an unknown author.

Books-A-Million, the second-largest bookstore chain in the United States, has developed a route for indies to get their books onto store shelves – but there’s a catch. Continue reading “BAM! Publish: A Vanity Press?”

Bookstore Spotlight: Tattered Cover Press

Tattered Cover BookstoreNot so long ago, when a reader wanted to get a new book, they would head on down to their local independent bookstore. Then came big-box bookstores like Borders and Barnes & Noble, and local bookstores took a beating. Many of them lost out so badly that they had to close. Now it’s the big-box stores that are struggling (full disclosure: I still miss Borders), and the field is ripe once again for indie bookstores — particularly those that cater to local readers.

One of those is the Tattered Cover in Denver, Colorado, which has been in business since 1971. It’s now a local chain with several stores, including locations at Union Station and Denver International Airport. It has stayed in business by offering great customer service, an interesting selection of books, and, through its Rocky Mountain Authors program, shelf space for local authors. And since 2011, it has offered print-on-demand services through its Tattered Cover Press. Continue reading “Bookstore Spotlight: Tattered Cover Press”

NOOK Press for Print Books

Nook Press logo newThis week, NOOK Press announced it would begin “publishing” print books.

There’s a reason why I put “publishing” in scare quotes. For indies, the news isn’t as big as one might think at first glance.

First, the good news: NOOK Press will indeed turn out a print book for you, in a variety of trim sizes and cover types – including hardback, which CreateSpace doesn’t offer.

NOOK Press also provides a handy-dandy formatting guide, which looked pretty comprehensive to me when I skimmed it: covering everything from headers and pagination, to what the heck front matter and back matter are, to how to size the spine. And it actually appears to be written in English, not typeset-ese, which I thought was a problem when I originally looked at Lulu’s directions.

Now, the bad news. And there’s a lot of it. Continue reading “NOOK Press for Print Books”

Choices in Publishing: Paperbacks

publish buttonFor the past two weeks, I’ve been writing about choices for indies who want to publish their work as an eBook. But nothing beats the rush of holding in your hot little hand an actual, physical, dead-tree book with your name on the cover. Particularly if you’re planning to do book signings or any other type of personal appearance, a paperback edition of your book is essential.

Authors who want to create a paperback edition have several publishing options. But first and foremost: DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH A VANITY PUBLISHER. Here at Indies Unlimited, we have had our fill of stories about these vultures, which sometimes also call themselves hybrid publishers. They prey on newbie authors with their slick websites. They say they will take you under their wing and do everything you don’t know how to do, from editing your book to promoting it. It sounds terrific. But their editing work is often substandard, their promotional efforts are slim to nonexistent, and their contracts are extremely difficult to get out of. And they will charge you hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege of doing this to you. The saddest part is that in today’s publishing climate, you can do everything yourself, for free or cheap. I don’t know about you, but free and cheap are my two favorite prices. This article will show you how to spot a scam.

The following three print-on-demand services are the ONLY ones we can recommend. And even then, there’s a caveat. Continue reading “Choices in Publishing: Paperbacks”