By Leah Price
Daily Press (Newport News, Va.)
NEWPORT NEWS, Va.
Several years ago Miles Lambert of Williamsburg, Va., self-published two wine books, “Desert Island Wine” and “Tokaji Wine-Fame, Fate, Tradition.”
He used a commercial press for printing and arranged for distribution through a wine guild that offered channels in the United States and abroad.
Thinking that would hit his target market (wine enthusiasts), he said he ordered a print run of 2,000 copies of each at his own cost. What he hadn’t considered, he says now, was the guild’s lack of overall reach.
Because the guild “focused on a niche market, they do not have any clout. For instance, they cannot get their books onto the shelves of Barnes & Noble,” Lambert said via email.
The result: He is left with hundreds of copies of his books, and he is giving them away. “I have donated copies to numerous libraries around the country, and entire boxes … to university wine programs. I also hand out free copies in front of the Williamsburg Trader Joe’s from time to time, which is sort of fun because of the people I meet.”
Thanks to advances in technology, today’s writers have choices that limit their out-of-pocket expenses but provide them with access to global distribution of their books.
With Print on Demand (POD) publishing, writers can order as many or as few copies of their books they like. Retail distributors can fill an order for a single copy or a case and more, usually within two weeks’ turnaround, and ship them worldwide.
One of the most popular platforms for POD publishing is Amazon’s CreateSpace (createspace.com). Amazon offers fee-based production and design services, but basic softcover book set-up as well as changes and corrections are free. Distribution is free as well, and titles are automatically placed for sale at Amazon.com. Expanded distribution, which places a book for sale on other retail websites and in wholesale catalogs for libraries and schools, is an option, but can raise the price of the book on those sites. CreateSpace also places several conditions for its expanded distribution, including trim size, so make sure you read the fine print.