• Sarah

Self-publishing really has come on in leaps and binds

The last time I used a self-publishing company for a client, back in 2016, it was via Ingram's Lightning Source. We needed to employ the services of a typesetter and cover designer, which was all a bit labour-intensive, time consuming and bumped up the overall cost by several hundred pounds,

Four years on, the company has rebranded itself as IngramSpark and the online facilities are fantastic. There are several typesetting templates to choose from, so you just upload your Word document and, bingo, it flips it into chapters, gives you title pages and there's no faffing with headings or page numbers. You can then go in and tinker with each chapter individually, if needed.

Same goes for the cover. There are only a few templates but, once you get into them, you can customise pretty much everything, inserting text boxes and images wherever you fancy.

Long and short, even if you're not a designer, you can knock up a very decent-looking book for just $49 (about £37, as I write). That's to get your files uploaded and formatted. Then it's print on demand. They'll give you a free ISBN to get you started, so you can do a personal print run, but if you want to make your book available for sale & distribution - which they facilitate for you - you'll need to buy one (£89, from Nielsen).

The book shown above is A5 in size and 210 pages (70,000 wds), with a matte cover. The printing cost per book is just £2.96 for the Economy service, which prints in 5 days - although we actually used Express, at £3.25 per book, as we had an event deadline.

I realise I'm making it sound very easy...the caveat is that you do need to be relatively tech-savvy and have enough patience to check everything and make the necessary tweaks. But, for me, it's a great tool that allows me to offer my clients a much more complete service.

We're going to be doing some more tinkering with this book before possibly making it available for distribution; meanwhile, I'm encouraging everyone to head book-wards!

Screenshot of cover at the design/generating stage

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