Lightning Source - fee based POD

An author friend of mine, Thomas Hollyday, uses Lightning Source as the system for his print-on-demand books. The books are then listed in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other systems. The base price is $10/yr for each book to be live in the system. There are also setup fees and change fees.

Tom first began using them when there weren't other free options available, and he has stayed with them as he's comfortable there. I wouldn't personally recommend someone choose a for-money choice in modern times, with the many free options available, but I did want to share Tom's thoughts on Lighting Source.

Here is his Facebook page for the books -

River Sunday Romance Mysteries

Tom says:

Lightning Source is part of Ingram so I get the marketing help (listing opportunities). I also feel that I have some freedom compared to Amazon. As far as cost, when the reader buys, they pay the cost as part of the purchase as it is a just in time publishing. Marketing is so much a part of writing today that the publisher who can give you a little help is worthwhile. I should say also that my publisher puts me on amazon and barnes and noble automatically. As far as the kIndle lulu and google thanks to Lisa, I load them myself but they are freely on there without any control by those firms.

[in terms of Lightning Source] There is a small setup fee for paperbacks. None for ebooks. The books are made as ordered so you can have a just in time inventory setup. Of course if you want fancy book work then they have some fees. Better to go on their site and see. They are a part of Ingram and you can work with Ingram on various marketing ads and so forth. By using Lightning source my paperbacks get on ingram and barnes and noble distributors, and on a flurry of sites automatically including barnes and noble and amazon for the paperbacks which are the big places. Obviously it costs but it is standard industry stuff. They are also worldwide and do the big book shows. The same with Baker. These folks sell to the bookstores such as they still are. Editing is still the province of the writer. If you get an agent and find a big publisher willing to do the editing then that is great but I think most agents won’t touch anything that needs editing. If a writer wants to spend the money there are hundreds of people out there willing to take it and arrange all kinds of promotions. The trick is to get as much promotion as you can afford and to choose wisely where you spend your money. As I mentioned to you long ago, nothing is free even if it seems that way. All the systems have the same costs and they get it back from you. Studies have been made of all the ways to sell books and in my opinion the lightning source still comes out as a good reasonable way to start out, and then find ways to get reviewed and promoted as much as you can to get on places like Goodreads and shelfari. With the ebooks that is different thing as many of these Kindle and Lulu will do that at practically no cost. But whatever you do, always ask yourself about the marketing. It doesn’t mean much if you don’t have anyone see that nice printed book. For me I do know the amount of seeing I am getting. Unfortunately it doesn’t always get me sales but at least they know I am around. Takes time.

[I asked about marketing, that it usually costs extra] Yes I think you are right. Ingram has its own program and so does baker and taylor for bookstores. A lot of this is not really useful anymore as the market shifts away from bookstores. Used to be that you had to have amazon approve your book So I guess that is changed now. Many of the agents now are getting into the ebook marketing to make their commissions. Pretty much the same thing applies. They help with the marketing, get money from the publishers who expect to make money on your sales, run the review and ad programs in the regular sites, and so forth. The money I think today is in getting a good enough story that can interest agents and be made into a screenplay. I was just watching a show about James Paterson who makes 97 mil a year on his books. He says he couldn’t care less about the literary market, has a team of sub writers helping him churn out his novels And has entered the children’s book market. I am sure he pays a lot of marketing folks to help him out. I also know that he has one or two books in the kindle direct program. So you figure out what way is best.

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