Friday, January 13, 2006


Printing vs. Publishing

If you're thinking about becoming a self-published author. You need to learn the difference between printing and publishing. Many aspiring writers want to know how much it cost to have a book printed with x number of pages thinking that's the only price involved with publishing a book. Wrong! Sure you have to pay to have the books printed but there are many variable costs involved at that stage and even before you get to that stage.

In order to have a book published, there are some things that must be done before you ever e-mail your text and cover file to the printer. First and foremost, you have to apply and pay for a business license and a registered business name. While you may love the art of writing, publishing is a business and must be treated as such. As with any business, you must have the proper tools which includes a computer, software, paper, printer, office supplies, etc. I'm surprised at how many aspiring writers don't have computers and/or don't know how to type. So this is another cost if you have to pay someone to type and format your handwritten work.

Then, you have to pay someone to edit the manuscript once it's completed. In fact, you may have to pay someone several times for this process before you're really satisfied. This is an important step that some self-published author's overlook and do their own editing. Please don't make that mistake because "two heads are better than one." If you can't afford an editor, at least ask someone you know with proofreading skills to look over your manuscript and give you some suggestions or feedback. Even with an editor, the two of you may not catch all the errors, but it will certainly help you cut down on the number in the final copy.

Once you feel that your copy is ready for print, you have to register and pay for a copyright and an International Standard Business Number (ISBN). Yes, that's another expense. And if you want your books to be carried in the library system, you have to register for a library control number.

Now that the manuscript has been properly edited, it's time to format the copy according to the size book that you wish to publish. Again, if you don't know how to do this, then you have to make a trip to Kinko's or Target and pay them to do this important step and save it to a disk as a PDF file. Then, it's time to work on your cover or pay someone to design it for you. This can be a very time consuming stage as well as an expensive one. The cover file will also have to be converted to a PDF file before submitting to your printer.

Finally, you're ready to hunt for a printer. There are many variables involved in the printing price. For instance, you will be asked the following questions: How many pages is the book? What color of paper do you want? What size is the book? Do you want a laminated cover? Do you want a paperback cover or a hardback? Do you want a picture on the back cover?

The day that your printed books are received, you become a published author. However, the process will begin a long time before that and so will the cost of publishing. But if you're still confused, you can pick up a copy of my book titled, One Sister's Guide to Self-Publishing: A Ten-Step Program to Success. Happy publishing!

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