Traditional book publishing has previously been a difficult market to enter. It’s highly competitive and requires years of pitching your ideas to various agents.
The art of self-publishing, however, has become an incredibly accessible way for people to write and share their stories, whether locally or with the masses.
If you’re ready to take your story to the next level by making it public, here are several ways to print your first book.
1. Print Your Drafts First
After days on end of staring at a screen, your eyes are bound to get tired. This can lead to more mistakes or missing something during your editing process.
Before you make the large investment of printing your book, you want to make sure you take the time to print out a copy of your book to perform your edits.
Print a copy with spiral-bound book printing. This allows for easy editing and improves the overall quality of your book.
2. ARC Copies Through Barnes and Noble
ARC copies, also known as Advance Review Copies, are essential for self-published authors. It’s an opportunity for people to read your book before the official publishing date.
Normally this is done as a way to build hype for your book through reviews, both online and in print.
For instance, if you want to add a quote from a highly prestigious book reviewer, they aren’t going to take the time to read an eBook. Many newspapers such as the New York Times or Washington Post require a printed ARC several months in advance. And that’s if they decide to read it at all.
It’s also important to have ARCs available for other book reviewers, such as bloggers or social media influencers, who can help build the hype around your book before it’s released.
It’s the author’s responsibility to print and distribute these copies to reviewers. However, you don’t want these copies sold to the public, as they may not be the final version of your book.
ARCs typically have a stamp built into the design of the front cover stating it’s an ARC and is not for sale. This means you’ll need to have two variations of your book cover: one for your ARCs and one for your final product.
The most affordable way to print your ARCs is through Barnes and Noble Press. This is the company’s free platform that allows you to upload and distribute your self-published books.
The difference between B&N Press and other self-publishing platforms is that it gives you the option to print your books privately rather than making them public. This way, you can print your ARCs without making them available for purchase.
3. IngramSpark VS Amazon KDP
The two most popular online distribution websites for self-published print books are IngramSpark and Amazon KDP. Both of these companies offer print-on-demand options, but the two are vastly different.
IngramSpark doesn’t have great customer reviews. Users have complained about poor customer service, terrible reporting, ridiculously high uploading charges, and low royalty percentages.
Unfortunately, it was one of the only options if you wanted to print your book in both paperback and hardcover. It also offers the distribution of your book to over 40,000 bookstores, libraries, and universities.
Amazon KDP didn’t offer this option for a long time. At least until 2023, when the company released its new option. This has become a gamechanger for many self-published authors.
However, IngramSpark still offers more options when it comes to the actual printing of your book. You can decide on paper type and color, cover material, and binding options. Amazon KDP only provides paper color options.
Regarding hardcover options, IngramSpark takes the lead. The company provides dustjacket hardcovers as well, whereas Amazon KDP only offers case-laminated.
Lastly, one of the biggest downsides of using Amazon KDP is that authors don’t have the option of doing a pre-sale. This means selling copies of your book before the publishing day to help boost your total sales. It’s a tactic many authors use to get on best-sellers lists.
IngramSpark is the only platform as of now that offers self-published authors the freedom to have their book published in multiple formats, multiple countries, and as a pre-sale.
4. Draft2Digital Offers Print (Almost)
One of the largest ebook distribution websites out there is through Draft2Digital. Their primary goal was to be able to upload your ebook in one place while they distribute it to all of the major sites such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Scribd, and many more.
But in 2018, the company announced that they released their waitlist for their beta D2D Print. Unfortunately, it’s almost four years later and the company is still only using its beta version which you can only use if you sign up for their waitlist.
While it’s not an immediate solution for printing your books, it certainly is a viable one if their project becomes a success.
5. Local Print Shop
Many people who self-publish decide to steer clear of the major corporations and choose to solely work with a local printing company. This is completely understandable as it means the author can receive the highest amount of royalties.
Working with big print-on-demand companies means they’ll be the ones storing your books. They only print what is sold so there is never an excess of stock. This also means that they require a portion of the sales you make.
Instead, working with a local print shop means you get 100% of the royalties of your books. The downside is that you need a place to store your books to ensure you don’t run out since you can’t print on demand.
There are several different directions you can take when you decide to self-publish your book. Many authors typically use a hybrid of multiple platforms as well as local print shops.
What’s important is to decide what is the best option for you. Consider things such as your budget as well as the overall goal for your book.
If you want to try and get on the best sellers list, you’ll need to do a pre-sale. If you simply want to share your story and don’t care much about making a profit, you can do it for free through Amazon KDP or Barnes and Noble Press.
And don’t forget, if you want to improve your writing skills, make sure to print out a copy of your book during the editing process before you send it out into the world. You’ll thank us for it later.