Deciding to self-publish your book and get it into print is just the first step in a long journey. You’ll spend time writing and editing your manuscript, and when you’re done, you’ll get it typeset or designed so it looks great for your readers. Then comes the process of actually getting your book printed. In theory, it should be relatively easy, but it can be really hard to choose where you want to print your book with so many options available.
When I got my first book, Yoga for Runners, into print back in 2015, I was totally confused by the process. Self-publishing was still picking up steam and there wasn’t a ton of information out there to help me through the process. I had heard about a few book printing options on the podcasts I listened to, so I tried out those places first. I wound up paying a lot more to get my book printed than I needed to, and the whole process felt overly complicated. Plus, I didn’t have a great idea of what all of my options were, and what questions I should ask to find the right printer for me.
If the process of printing your self-published book has you feeling confused and overwhelmed, I’m here to help. And, I’m pulling in my friend and colleague LeAnna Weller Smith of Weller-Smith Design for her perspective, too. LeAnna has worked in the publishing industry for many years, and she knows a lot of the ins and outs of self-publishing. In this episode, LeAnna and I talk about the printing services we recommend for most of our clients. We also run through the big print-on-demand options and talk about the pros and cons of each service to help you pick the right one. And, we touch on offset printing, in case your book has unique features that print-on-demand services can’t fill.
If you need help finding the right printer for your self-published book, you’ve come to the right place!
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KDP Print has become the most popular print-on-demand option in the circles I run in, and it’s the first place I recommend my clients look into. (LeAnna recommends it to a lot of her clients, too.) Since CreateSpace stopped taking new submissions in late 2018, KDP Print has become the go-to for self-publishers who want to work with Amazon’s service.
Pros of KDP Print:
Cons of KDP Print:
IngramSpark is becoming an increasingly popular option with many self-published authors. IngramSpark prints both paperback and hardcover books, making it a popular choice for authors who really want that hardcover book. Its distribution channels are better than KDP Print’s, making it easier for bookstores to order copies of your book. (Actually getting your book into bookstores can be a little more difficult, though.)
Pros of IngramSpark:
Cons of IngramSpark:
Lulu is another print-on-demand service that I see self-publishers turn to when they want to publish a hardcover book. Lulu doesn’t offer as many trim sizes as KDP Print or IngramSpark, but the people I know who have used Lulu have been satisfied with the quality of the books they received.
I actually started out by publishing my first book in print using Blurb, which is also a print-on-demand service. I ultimately switched over to CreateSpace (and now KDP Print) because it was pretty pricey to order books through Blurb. Amazon’s prices were much lower, which meant that I could sell my book for a lower price. Blurb does have some software to help you design your book, which can come in handy if you’re not the most proficient with Microsoft Word, Canva, or other design software.
Sometimes the print-on-demand options just can fill the needs for your book. Whether you want unique finishes for your book (like foil added to the cover), you need a unique binding (like a spiral binding), or you’re just not finding what you want in print-on-demand services, you can always turn to a more traditional offset printer.
Pros of offset printing:
Cons of offset printing:
LeAnna is the owner and Executive Creative Director of Weller Smith Design LLC, a boutique design studio. She started her design career in advertising and book publishing and over time, as her clients needs shifted, she moved into the digital realm. She has 20+ years experience and has worked with clients ranging from corporate to cultural. Her and her team specialize in creating thoughtful design solution for print, branding, and web that reflect the client’s vision and mission.
Where you can find LeAnna:
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