If you’ve known me for a while… you’ll know how much I value TRIBE’sters.

I’ve never been comfortable with the idea of ‘followers’ or ‘fans’ (both words that social media seems to like).  And I guess I don’t like the idea of ‘followers’ because I don’t like the idea of ‘leading’.

I don’t want to walk ahead and lead anyone.  I also don’t want to walk behind and follow someone.

I want to walk with and alongside like-minded people.  I want to journey with.

I have met some ridiculously awesome people through this blog and my website.  Flippin’ awesome people… from all over the world… who I now consider my friends… (even though we may not have actually met in person).

I call these ridiculously awesome people my TRIBE’sters.

Tribe’sters are… simply put… people who *get* you.  People who *see* you.  And *hear* you.   People who resonate with your story in some way.  People who accept you – as you are – flaws ‘n all.   People who laugh at your strange jokes because they also find them funny.  People who are interested in the same kind of things you’re interested in…  folk who support you and encourage you – and allow you just to BE who you truly are…!

We all need tribe’sters in our lives.

 

How do you afford to print a monthly zine?

I don’t.

Thanks to the wonders of technology, there’s now this fabulous thing called “Print-on-Demand”.

Although larger companies and publishers still print thousands of books (or magazines) at a time… (and then sell them one-by-one).

Print-on-Demand offers small companies (or individuals) the option to print tiny quantities (even a single book if need be)… so there’s no longer a need for a massive financial outlay (to pay for the printing of thousands of books).

The printing machines and technology that big companies (like Amazon and Ingram) now have… are able to print a single full-colour book… and the quality is so brilliant that only a few people will be able to tell the difference between the book printed on the fancy digital Print-on-Demand machine…. and the books printed by the traditional 4-colour litho machines.

There are a number of companies that are now offering Print-on-Demand.  The two that I’ve been working with are:

  1.  Createspace (owned by Amazon)
  2. Ingram Spark (owned by Ingram)

Here’s how it works:

  • I design and illustrate my books or zines and create a print-ready PDF.
  • I upload the PDF onto the server of Createspace or Ingram Spark (Createspace does not charge a set-up fee… Ingram Spark charges about $25 per book that I upload).
  • Depending on the size of my book, the number of pages in my book, the paper I choose… and whether I’m choosing to print in colour or not…  I’m given a cost price for my book (Ingram Spark allows me far more paper and print options than Createspace).
  • I can not try to sell the book for less than the list price allocated to my book by Createspace or Ingram Spark.
  • I can choose to add an extra dollar or two (on top of the list price) in order to make a bit of profit.
  • Once I’ve agreed to their pricing… and the percentages that I’ll get as a royalty… I click “yes”… and voila! – the book or zine is now available on all of their distribution channels.  Everything from Amazon to Barnes & Noble to online bookstores across Australia and New Zealand!
  • Customers from anywhere in the world can now order my book from any one of those stores.  The books don’t pass through my hands at all.

Using Createspace as an example – here’s where all the money goes:

  •  A large portion goes to Createspace themselves for the cost of actually printing and binding the book.
  • 55% goes to the book distributor or retailer (in this case,  Amazon) for the privilege of using their massive online store & database.  Amazon processes the payment from customers and packages the book.
  • In the case of “How Heather got her HAT’ness back” – I get $3.65 every time somebody buys my book off Amazon for $16.  Of that $3.65, 30% is automatically deducted for tax.  Then it gets deposited automatically into Payoneer (a payment gateway that allows me to accept payments from anywhere in the world)… and – of course – Payoneer take their cut too… so I end up with about $2 in my pocket.

Pro’s of Print on Demand:

  • For me… this means that I can create as many books and zines as I like without needing to crowdfund… or raise all sorts of cash to afford the printing of said books.
  • Probably the BIGGEST pro (for me)… is that it’s an admin-free process.  I love-love-LOVE that other people do all the admin-stuff that I suck at.  Using Createspace/Amazon as an example:  they print the book, package the book, process payment from the customer… and ship the book.  They handle any issues (if something arrives damaged or if the clients want a refund).  They handle any issues if the book just doesn’t arrive.   I LOVE that I can just design books… upload them on a server… and the rest is taken care of.  My royalty payments are deposited directly into my bank account.  I don’t need to worry and obsess about all the other admin involved!

Con’s:

The biggest con is (unfortunately) the cost.  Print-on-Demand books are significantly more expensive than books that have been printed by the thousands in China.  For my 212 launch edition of FODDER… Createspace came up with a list-price of $39.29… per book.  This means that I cannot charge LESS than $39.29 for that particular book.  So I rounded it off to $40… and even then – my cut from that $40 ends up as $…

So… I decided to print FODDER through Ingram Spark…. who allow me the option of choosing a cheaper paper (which is much less expensive than Amazon