StrangeArk blog
Cryptozoology, BioForteana, Zoological Oddities, Unusual Natural History

Publishing Cryptozoology Books
Using Print-on-Demand Technology

We are, without a doubt, at the beginning of a publishing revolution. Technological advances allow specialty books with a limited audience to be published easily and inexpensively, and this has already affected cryptozoological publishing. Self-publishing has a long tradition within cryptozoology, as regional publications on Bigfoot and lake monsters, among other subjects, are rarely financially viable for the traditional publisher's requirements. With the rise of print-on-demand publishing, authors now have alternatives to create a decent product with wider distribution, for reasonable up-front costs (if any).

What I'd like to do here is set out the basics for print-on-demand publishing for those writers who may be considering this avenue, as well as for authors who may want to go ahead and set up their own print-on-demand publishing company.

First, what is print-on-demand publishing? There is a mistaken notion that POD publishing is a form of subsidy publishing, like the vanity presses that bilk people out of $1,000s, leaving them with hundreds of copies of a book they can't give away. Don't make that mistake.

Print-on-demand is a technology. It just means that rather than the traditional offset process of publishing hundreds or thousands of books at a time (then offering them for sale or distribution), the books are created digitally, and only printed out as they are ordered. If you want one hundred copies, you receive one hundred copies. If you want one copy, that's all you need to order. There are, of course, different kinds of POD publishers, just as there are different kinds of publishers using traditional presses.

Why consider print-on-demand? While there are some quality limitations, you can produce a nice book at a reasonable cost, within a much faster time frame than a traditional publisher can usually offer. POD books are sold primarily through online vendors (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.), so they have a wider distribution channel than traditional self-published books that are only marketed regionally or through advertising in cryptozoology newsletters. POD books are not usually sold through brick-and-mortar stores, due to discount requirements, but this really has little effect on a properly marketed book. As with any published book, traditional or POD, the author is the primary marketer, but there is no need for the author to actually handle the sales transaction personally (though you can make a bit more profit that way, if you choose).

Here are some of the main areas of POD publishing worth exploring:

 

Questions? Email Chad Arment