As I’ve said before to all who would listen, you have to know what you don’t know. I started down this book trail five years ago. I first contacted AuthorHouse to be my ‘straw man’, in terms of learning what this effort involved. Time passes. In April, when I decided to move forward, I again contacted them to understand what the current project looked like. I also started to learn about their competitors, and evaluate Publish on Demand (POD) companies. As it turned out, I had started to “eat that (publishing) elephant” from the wrong (author) side. I should have been looking at it from the ‘reader’ side. In other words, how is the general market going to find our book? How is the market going to evaluate our book? How are we going to deliver a book to the reader without ‘stigma’ and without any negative impressions of it, even before the industry sees the book – nay reads the book?
I have since learned that books delivered through the POD vehicle carry some ‘baggage’ with them. They are rarely stocked in bookstores. POD’s say that they will submit to bookstores but that is not the same as being ‘stocked’ on the shelves. Further, in terms of getting the general literary community to read, review and comment on our work, chances of them wanting to do so are lessened by the fact that the author went the POD route. In fact, ISBN numbers assigned to these publishing houses are stigmatized by the very fact that they are ‘owned’ by one of these publishers! The ISBN is the standard identifier for the book industry – all over the world. It has been for almost 40 years. It’s what uniquely identifies your book as yours.
What I should have done is to just go to a few libraries and bookstores, and looked for books published via the POD’s leading publishers. What I also should have done is to more carefully read the literary reviews, looking for these same publishers. Lastly, no matter how much research that you do, if you don’t listen carefully to those whose shoes you aspire to walk in – you are less likely to be guided by them!
OK, another Lesson Learned.
I’ll continue this story tomorrow. It has a GOOD ending!