New paradigm for publishing outdoor books

By Kevin • January 10th, 2012

At the Northwest Outdoor Writers Association conference in Bellingham, Wash., I was asked to participate in a roundtable session covering self-publishing outdoor books via print-on-demand (POD) services. Our table discussed “old paradigm publishing” – the customary long wait and agony of trying to persuade mainstream publishers to embrace our titles, the miniscule signing bonus, the small advance that rarely pays minimum wage for the time invested to write a book, and quarterly royalties that may not be enough to cover visits to Applebee’s for burgers and beer.

Our focus covered niche outdoor titles, and common denominators were identified for publishing mainstream or for self-publishing. For either, the author must have a great idea, be professionally edited, have outstanding cover design, have a viable marketing strategy, and be willing to promote and work the plan.

We defined “new paradigm publishing” as a combination of do-it-yourself self-publishing through POD services while hiring outdoor-writer peers to help with post-writing duties including preparing files for publication. POD printing permits authors to print affordable books, and the technology makes it difficult to tell the difference between more expensive offset printing over digital printing used by POD services,  all while allowing authors to minimize financial risk by printing books one at a time, as orders come in.  Also, POD provides a means for authors to self-publish for about 25-30 percent of old-paradigm costs.

We concluded our session recognizing that outdoor authors must do more to achieve success with niche outdoors books, and print on demand offers an affordable means to self publish and test the market.


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