Using a Local Printer vs. POD

As indie authors, it can be really difficult to decide where to get our physical books printed. For my two novels, I have been using Draft2Digital’s print on demand (POD) service. It’s an easy way to get the books distributed since I don’t have to handle any of that myself, aside from when booksellers or readers buy from me directly.

D2D uses the same printer as Ingram Spark (I found this out when my books got mixed up with a nice lady in Kansas who writes cowboy stories), and so far I have been happy with the quality. And being able to order as few books at a time as I can afford has made it much more accessible for me.

But there isn’t much involvement on my part once I send the files and click print.

For the Horns and Rattles anthology, “Fish Gather to Listen”, which is coming out in like two weeks (bit of internal screaming here), we are getting to use a local printer, called Hero Printworks.

And when I say “local”, I mean I didn’t have to take any main roads from my house to their shop and can just get there through my neighborhood.

The process has been amazing. Having a real life person to talk to on the phone any time we have a question has been wonderful. None of us have done this part of the process before, so working with someone who is not only knowledgeable, but patient and enthusiastic about the project is a dream.

We even got to take a tour when we went to pick up the proof copy and he showed us around the shop. Walking around the machines that are going to make our book was like jumping into an episode of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood when they go visit the crayon factory. My kid even got to tag along and did his best to lift a stack of magazine pages.

Not having to pay shipping is a huge help as well. Nothing like putting 100 books in your cart and then seeing the price jump when it’s time to check out. And we don’t have to worry they’re gonna get half of the copies sent to a farm in the wrong state.

I will say though, that this is only possible because of the funding we worked on getting (auction, grants, and kickstarter), and the confidence that we can sell 1,000 units. (That number makes my eyes bug out).

With my own novels, I typically buy them 25-50 at a time. But because we’re using professionals in a small business, rather than the POD services, the cost of set up, proofing, shop hours, etc is much higher. So, as you buy more, the cost begins to level out and it just made much more financial sense to buy 1,000 copies.

If I had the money to use this printer for my solo novels, I absolutely would, but the cost is out of my reach for the time being. But I highly recommend looking around at local options for everything from cover art, the printing, to the design. Even if you don’t have 5k to drop on copies, you might find valuable connections and resources you hadn’t even considered.

Stay weird, nerds.

Published by jesmccutchen

Hello! I'm an aspiring author of humorous books about space gays and alien invasions. I might occasionally toss in a dragon or mermaid, and I can't wait to share my weirdness with the world.

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