Joyce, it's mostly aimed at nonfiction, because that's what is most able to take advantage of opportunities on Amazon and in self publishing in general. But much of it can be used by fiction writers too, and I've tried to add tips specifically for fiction where I could.
Steve, for this book, I'm "updating in place." That means, if you buy a new copy from Amazon, you automatically get the latest version, regardless of the listed publication date. At the moment, buying a new copy means you get version 2.1, from August 2009.
Do you give any guides useful for someone publishing a full color children's picture book? I realize this is unlikely to sell well through Amazon, but I want to publish several such books as cheaply as possible - and format (eg "landscape" eg horizontal 12wide x 11 vertical) and full color inside is important. Back when, Xlibris (along with their other problems) only offered a vertical format or a square format. Do you touch on any of this and will Lightening Press still be the place to go?
Hi Byron. I don't have anything like that yet, and I also don't recommend Lightning Source for color printing. At this time, the most promising service for that is Baker & Taylor's TextStream (a revamp of the old Replica Books). Though I haven't yet tried its color printing, the prices and options place it in a class above anything else available. It doesn't offer landscape, though. As far as I know, only CreateSpace does, and that's only with a maximum width of 8 inches.
Thanks - for a really quick reply! I'll check out TextStream. If the only landscape at CreateSpace is for eight inches, I'll probably have to be "creative" :-) with a vertical format... perhaps black bands across the top and bottom. I'm getting your 2.1 and look forward to your companion book. If the latter provides an efficient approach to self-publishing ok-enough books in various categories, it will be another valuable aid to the self-publisher. Thanks again!
Byron, if the companion book you're talking about is Perfect Pages, I hope you're not thinking of using Word for children's picture books. Use anything but. Versions from 2004 back were mostly OK, but the new versions degrade graphics on import. I recommend InDesign (which is what I use for such books), or Pages if you're on a Mac. But nothing Microsoft.
Thanks! This is the sort of practical heads-up which is invaluable for someone getting started - it can save learning the same through bitter experience! I'm somehow not surprised by your comment about Word. I take it that on a Mac, the best course is to use Pages and then go to Lightning -for books with bw interior - or TextStream, for color picture books - but not whatever little print packages Mac offers as part of iLife.
By the way, by your companion book I meant your future upcoming book you've split off from 2.1. :-)
Byron, I don't use Pages at all. That was simply an alternative for color picture books if you don't want to spring for InDesign, which would be best. But for straight text books, or books with minimal illustrations, I nearly always use Word. I would not try Pages for that, because it does not have the kind of long-document capabilities that Word does. And in fact, neither does InDesign, though it has other advantages. My book "Perfect Pages" is all about using Word for such books.
Oh, THAT companion book. "POD for Profit" should be out by March.
Aaron, I'm now completing a how-to book with full-color illustrations. I have the price sheet from TextStream and they are very competitive with CreateSource, but the paper choices are limited to 45#, non-glossy. I would be willing to accept that because I can set a low discount, but only if their books are available on Amazon.com. Do you know if they're listed automatically, as LS books are?
By the way - your book "Aiming at Amazon" is an incredible resource. Thanks for writing it.
Jonni, they're working on setting that up, so it shouldn't be long. Right now, Amazon will pick up any book in stock at Baker & Taylor, but B&T is not stocking all TextStream books. Later, B&T will have virtual stocking of all TextStream books, just as Ingram does for Lightning Source. So, you should be fine.
The 45# figure, though, is wrong. According to TextStream's tech guidelines for color printing, paper weights start at 50#. It's really not clear which papers are available for which prices. I've asked for clarification but haven't gotten any. It is one of many errors and contradictions in TextStream documentation.
Note, though, that the matte paper they offer for color printing is coated, even if it's not glossy. That should help a lot.