As a writer, the greatest challenge facing you after you've finished a project is getting it into the hands of readers. Traditionally, the only way to do this was to work with an editor who would find a publisher who'd then draw up a contract to print and distribute it. Things have changed though, and it's now easier than ever before for independent writers to get their content to their audience, and digital printing services offer you that opportunity, but before you get started there are some things you need to consider in order to be prepared to make the right calls.
Virtually anyone can put together a PDF formatted document and post it on a marketplace, but that's only the beginning of what digital printing services offer. With most services, you choose the level of additional help you get out of your relationship with that provider. They'll compile and format your work into something compatible with the various e-readers on the market, and help distribute it, but they can go much further as well.
In addition to putting it up for sale, you'll also want to look at how your book is being marketed, where it's being advertised, and the final appearance of any online ads. They can also put together cover art, which even e-books need to get noticed, and arrange any press interactions they can to get people to take a look. Be aware though, companies that offer these services also charge for them, either in the form of upfront payment or a reduction in your royalty payments from the sale of your book.
Traditional Printing Options
In addition to helping to get your book onto an e-book marketplaces, many digital publishers also offer hardcopy printing too. These services range from print on-demand services, allowing orders for physical books to be filled as they come in, to regional and national distribution to retailers. You can also choose to pay up front for your own copies to be printed, allowing you to handle local marketing and distribution on your own.
Many companies that do both traditional and e-book publishing offer author copies of the books they print. These are normally hard cover editions with high quality paper stock, though the quality of binding will vary between companies. Even so, it can be a nice way to commemorate the milestone, and may also be included in certain publishing services.
Digital publishing is just one way for new authors to make their work available to the public at little or no expense to themselves. Knowing what services you may have to come out of pocket for will help you avoid sticker shock at the cost of your initial effort.
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