Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I’ve been meaning for a while now to mention a pretty cool website called It’s a way to self-publish books, and to sell them as well. If I wanted to, I could technically claim to have had a book published, because I used the site to create a book about my trip to Australia last year that is officially for sale on the Blurb site.

Had I really intended to sell any of these books, I would have done a lot of things differently, including making the book shorter and smaller in size. The format I picked is the most expensive. This choice drove the price of the book up so far that I don’t realistically expect anyone to purchase it.

Still, the idea is great. It’s possible to create and sell very affordable books without putting any money down. Posting your book file on the site is free, meaning you avoid all of the costs usually associated with vanity publishing.

The way it works is that whenever anyone orders a copy of the book, the site prints one up and sends it directly to that person, meaning an author also avoids a lot of the logistical problems associated with self-publishing, like basements and car trunks full of inventory.

In my particular case, I also expect to avoid typical author hassles like keeping track of earnings, because I don’t think there are going to be any. If anyone should order the book, though, the site would send me my profit directly. Best of all, I get to determine how big that profit is. The site sets a base price, and I, as the author, get to say how many dollars extra I want them to tack on—I get to keep that.

Believe it or not, I actually set a very modest profit margin for myself. I just made the mistake of picking an expensive layout with a high base price. But I don’t really regret it, because I’m very happy with the coffee-table quality scrapbook I now have of my adventure.

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