Self-publishing thoughts

Since Shannon desperately wants me to update the blog so she doesn’t see the freaky mugshot picture right away, I thought I’d just write down some random observations and questions about the business of print-on-demand self-publishing.

Of the various on-demand, self-publishing services, the only ones I’ve seen that don’t charge for publishing your books are Lulu and CafePress. I did a quick survey on a bunch of others, and they all require that you pay $200 or more up front to get your book published; Lulu and CafePress are true print-on-demand services that are free to setup.

I’ve mentioned both before. In general, Lulu seems to have cheaper prices on regular books, and they definitely have a much larger selection of books to buy.

Question: are there any print-on-demand services for comic books?

You can do comic books on both Lulu and CafePress, but the price break definitely favors big, collected works or graphic novels. If you wanted to do “traditional” comics—folded “saddle stitch” covers—then CafePress is the better alternative (one of the few times they’re cheaper than Lulu). But it’s still spendier than a real comic book, hence my question on comic book print-on-demand.

Any ideas on the actual editorial quality of self-published books? Lulu has a rating system but it seems kind of rudimentary…

A neat experiment would be to take a bunch of classics from Gutenberg and package them up nicely—perhaps with custom artwork, commentary, things like that—and see how they fare on both sites. Or even how they fare at all.

Or even do a classics mashup… or crossover, a la League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the comic, not the movie). Mashing up War of the Worlds with The Scarlet Pimpernel might be fun…

I suppose fan fiction would be a big no-no on these sites… but man, if you could take the really good stuff from and bookify it, you could be on to something.