I became a … in 1974, when I started the … … In 2001, I turned to … … better named POD … … have now … four b

I became a self-publisher in 1974,PRINT-ON-DEMAND PUBLISHING IS PARTNERSHIP PUBLISHING Articles when I started the Word
Doctor Publications. In 2001, I turned to Print-on-Demand (POD)
Publishing, better named POD Partnership Publishing.

I have now published four books this way, through I am glad I did so and pleased with the results.

These books include my new biblical novel, “Abraham, The
Dreamer – An Erotic and Sacred Love Story,” new editions of two
self-published books, the retitled, “A Jewish Novel About
Jesus,” a spiritual self-help book, “Sparks of Spirit – How to
Find Love and Meaning in Your Life 24 Hours a Day,” and a
contemporary comedy-drama (screenplay), “The Messiah of Midtown

Why did I switch from independent- or self-publishing to
partnership publishing? I have three reasons: occupational
preference, economics, and longevity (book survival).

After 40 years of working for a living, I was free finally to
choose what I wanted to do full-time and how I wanted to do it.

OCCUPATIONAL PREFERENCE: While I find everything about books
fascinating, I realized that I truly prefer writing to
publishing. I’m a writer. That’s my passion. I decided to
concentrate on writing.

ECONOMICS: The best thing about self-publishing is that it
gives the author total control. But the economics of self-
publishing are something else again. They are not as glowing as
they often sound or as rosy as they are often painted. There is
a great economic squeeze play that cuts deeply into profits.
Take a book that sells for $14.95, for instance. A distributor
or wholesaler requires a 50 percent discount, and more. That
leaves you with $7.50 (rounded off). The printing cost can be
anywhere from $2 to $3 a book. That leaves you with $4.50 a
book. Out of this you may have to pay shipping costs (media
rate is $1.42, for one pound or less, USPS). Then there are
publicity, promotion and marketing expenses. You may even have
to accept returns of books that didn’t sell, for credit or
refund. It takes skill to operate a profitable business. I
preferred the challenges of writing to the challenges of

LONGEVITY: This is a very personal, subjective matter, an
“author-thing.” Writing, at its deepest level, has to do with
making a statement about life, asserting one’s identity, seeking
immortality. Commercial publishing is about the bottom line:
Can the book make money, preferably big money? If not, it does
not get published. If it does get published, it is given three
to nine months to succeed. If the book does not make it within
that time period, its life is over.

Self-publishing, on the other hand, allows for a book’s
nurturing and longer lifespan . But when a company changes
hands or goes out of business, a book’s life may end.

That is where Print-on-Demand Partnership Publishing provides
an ideal answer. The new digital technology eliminates the need
for costly inventory. A 300-page book can be printed, cover and
all, in less than 30 seconds.

POD printing/publishing allows books to be kept alive
virtually “forever.”
-It allows books to be discovered and rediscovered.
-It allows one or many copies to be printed instantly, on
-It allows ongoing profits to be made, by all concerned.
-It allows authors to take control of the writing and
marketing of their books, while the publisher provides the
technical support and services -including printing, online
bookstores, author websites, listings, order fulfillment, sales-
and royalty- reports, and various forms of author support.

Years ago, vanity publishers existed to publish the works of
amateur writers at a high cost, paid for by the writer. Few of
their books were actually printed and even fewer sold. These
books had little if any value and were generally shunned.

Some refer to today’s POD publishing as vanity publishing, or,
more politely, as subsidy publishing. True, the decision to
publish lies with the author, not the publisher. It involves a
nominal fee, which means that anyone can get a book published,
including amateur writers.

However, POD publishing attracts a great many professional
writers, with excellent track records. POD-published books get
picked up by commercial publishers. POD books also generate
significant media attention.

When the self-publishing movement began in the 1960s and 1970s,
self-publishers were often stigmatized as vanity publishers.
Today, self-publishing is a major, economic force. Estimates
vary as to the actual number of independent publishers, from
25,000 and up, and from one-title firms to firms with 2,500
titles in print.

Why would professional writers go the route of Print-on-Demand
Partnership Publishing? There are several reasons: their book
may have been turned down by their own commercial publisher;
they may not have been able to find an agent or commercial
publisher; or they may not have wanted to wait the nearly two
years it takes to get a book published by a commercial
publisher, when they could get it published within two or three
months through a POD publisher. (My third POD book was in print
within three weeks, from the time of submission!)

Here are some examples, for instance, of professional writers
who have been published through iUniverse:

RIANE EISLER – whose non-fiction book, “The Chalice and the
Blade” sold 600,000 copies world-wide – published “The Gate”
through iUniverse, a fictionalized, dramatic new memoir of her
years growing up in pre-Castro Cuba after a narrow escape from
the Holocaust in Nazi Europe.

COLLIN KELLEY’s poetry book, “Better to Travel,” is currently a
nominee for the Georgia Author of the Year Award.

LAWRENCE BLOCK, author of the iUniverse book, “Random Walk,” is
an award-winning crime fiction writer, whose published works
include 50 novels.

RON CUTLER is an award-winning filmmaker and author of nine
novels, including iUniverse’s “The Firstborn.”

JOYCE MANARD’S iUniverse book, “To Die For,” was originally
published in 1991 and made into an acclaimed film, starring
Nicole Kidman.

Some iUniverse authors, who have had their books picked up by
commercial publishers, include:

LAURIE NOTARO, author of “The Idiot Girl’s Action Adventure
Club” (2000), which was picked up within a year by Random House
and hit the Top Ten on the New York Times Best-Seller List.

MIKE HAWLEY’s first book, “The Double Bluff” (2001), was picked
up by Penguin-Putnam as a mass market paperback under the Onix
imprint. Hawley was given a contract for two more books.

BILL PURCELL’s book, “The Dark One,” was picked up by Wizards
of the Coast, after they had turned it down originally. Purcell
was signed to a four-book deal, with a terrific advance.

POD publishing is here to stay. iUniverse, for instance,
currently has 11,367 authors and 15,515 book titles. It
publishes 400 new titles a month. It received the Editors’
Choice Award from PC Magazine, with a five out of five-star

There are other POD publishers, so you need to check them out
and evaluate their various services carefully.

There are pros and cons to any of the three publishing models:
1) commercial publishing; 2) independent, self-publishing; and
3) POD partnership publishing. Some I have already mentioned.
Following are others:

With POD partnership publishing, authors are totally
responsible for publicizing, promoting and marketing their
books. That’s a lot of work, if you do it yourself. It takes
know-how, time and money. Or you must hire a book publicist to
do this for you. That costs money.

Yet you’re not much better off with commercial publishers, who
will only do a certain amount of publicity, promotion and
marketing for your book. If you’re not one of their superstars,
your book will just get some basic publicity, promotion and
marketing. You need to supplement what they do, or your book
will fall through the cracks – and disappear quickly.

That’s what almost happened to ANITA DIAMANT, author of “The
Red Tent,” published by St. Martin’s Press. When Picador USA
decided to bring it out as a trade paperback, St. Martin’s
announced it would remainder the hardbacks.

Diamant pleaded with them not to do so but use them for
promotion. She suggested that they be sent out to clergy.
Diamant got the lists and the publisher paid the postage,
provided the books, and mailed them to female rabbis in Reform
Judaism, followed by a mailing to male and female rabbis of
Reconstructionist Judaism.

Diamant also had the publisher send around 200 copies to
Christian women ministers in New England. That made the
difference. The book went on to sell 1 ½ million copies in the
US. and was published in 18 countries.

The other serious problem is media bias against POD partnership
publishing. Some trade and consumer publications actually have a
policy against POD published books – they will not review them.

There are now 150,000 new titles and editions published every

Yet commercial publishing does not guarantee that your book
will get reviewed.
The Library Journal, a major trade publication, receives 40,000
new books published every year. It reviews 6000 of these,
representing only four percent of the 150,000 new books
published every year!

Consumer publications review even fewer books. The Los
Angeles Times, a major metropolitan newspaper, only reviews 1500
books a year, representing one percent of the 150,000 new books
published every year!

What, then, are the chances of getting published commercially?
HarperCollins Publishers, one of the major publishing companies
in the US, reportedly receives 10,000 submissions a year. Of
these, only 75 books, less than one percent submitted, get
published. Even then, the chances of success are slim. While
the figures vary, they indicate that only 1 out of 7 or 1 out of
10 books published commercially make a profit. These are among
the reasons why other publishing models came into being.

Once authors were at the mercy of agents and commercial
publishers. No more. That changed when the independent self-
publishing movement came into being. Today, thanks to digital
technology, POD partnership publishing provides a legitimate,
additional choice.

Authors can now get published. Then, through effort and
resourcefulness, they can find ways to connect with their readers.

In the final analysis, there are only two kinds of books and
writers: bad books and good books, bad writers and good writers.