I've been reading for several years about Print On Demand, the nifty new techology where you put in PDF files on one end (One for the cover, one for the insides) and a beautiful, perfect-bound, bookstore-quality book comes out the other. I've even seen the technology in action at an document imaging tradeshow (that's my profession, by the way.)
I've known other people who have used Print On Demand (POD) as a way to self-publish, including my own father. My problem with that is I have no room in my garage for books, I don't want to get involved in the process of selling and shipping books, handling returns, etc.
Suddenly, while Googling something a week ago, I stumbled on some fantastic Goo. Amazon, the online bookstore, has absorbed a POD publisher named BookSurge, making it a separate Amazon division. Now I could take my book project, upload it to Amazon/BookSurge, pay a fee, and VOILA! my book is on Amazon for everyone to buy. It ships within 48 hours, BookSurge pays me a 25% royalty within 60 days, I can even buy five copies for my mother at a discount!
I emailed BookSurge and was assigned an account manager, who I will call Joseph (since his name is Joseph). I inquired about the details of publishing a book. For $599 I could get the hand-holding, send us your manuscript version of the publishing, or if I was brave, courageous, and could format my own PDFs, for $99 I could use the Author's Express program to upload my book projects.
Since my book creation project was designed to be the forerunner of many more titles, $99 seemed like the way to go.
I ran all over the site, downloading example PDFs, submission guidelines, and anything else I could find. The site recomends using Adobe -something or another- for text formating, and Adobe Acrobat 6 (not 7!) for PDF creation.
I decided from the git-go that Microsoft Word and PDF Factory Pro would have to work for me, since that is what I had on my desktop, and I don't want to spend weeks learning yet another desktop publishing application, although I am sure it is a good one.
Besides, I was already thinking about writing this page, and I wanted to come up with a process most anyone would be comfortable with.
The only real shortcut I took is that my cover is plain text, with no images on it. I figured my first book is going to sell mostly if not entirely on Amazon, and a pretty cover is not that important there. In any case, I can always go back and upgrade my edition (The additional fee for resubmitting either the interior or the cover is $50, once the book is published.)
The files in the lefthand column are the files I created in this process. You can use the Word documents as templates for your own book (mine is 5.5 by 8 inches, by the way.)
I'm going to provide a step-by-step explanation of what I did, starting on the next page
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