Can You Publish a Profitable Book in Days?

No, really. Nancy Fulton asked “Do you know how to publish a profitable book (and get it on Amazon) in days?” on LinkedIn. She was hoping for additions to a list of POD she had in a blog post on HubSpot that’s no longer available (I’ve made the publish date of this post the date that I answered the original question, but it’s really September 2009 as I type this).

There was a point I made in my response that I think it’s worth making again here:

The process of getting a book printed is very simple these days. Profiting, on the other hand, is more challenging, because of the increase in the number of books printed: there’s a lot of competition for readers. And even though producing a book through, say, Lulu, costs very little, there are still enough costs associated with making the book publishable (your time in writing it, hiring an editor, hiring a designer) that you’ll need to sell quite a few copies in order to realize a profit from book sales.

On the other hand, if having that book gets you $50,000 of new business in the next year, it could be very profitable even if you give copies away.

In any case, profit doesn’t depend on how you publish, but on the quality of the book and—much more—your own marketing skills.

It’s also worth mentioning the Best Answer for this question, provided by Inna Red. Authors who use a POD house like Lulu or Amazon’s own BookSurge automatically get their books on Amazon, but if you print your books yourself, you need to sign up with Advantage or Advantage Professional, depending on the type of books you produce.

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