Betsy St. Amant

Betsy St. Amant loves polka dot shoes, chocolate, and sharing the good news of God’s grace through her novels. She has a bachelor's degree in Christian Communications from Louisiana Baptist University and will have two novel releases in 2009 with Steeple Hill Love Inspired. Betsy resides in northern Louisiana with her husband and daughter and enjoys reading, kickboxing, and spending quality time with her family. Visit her blog at

POD Publishing: Untold Secrets

My name is Betsy St. Amant, and I’m a POD author.

That’s right. I got my start in publishing through The Wild Rose Press. At the time, they were fairly new and an unsung option in the publishing world. I didn’t know much about them, but I wanted my story to have a chance, so I did my research and decided to give them a shot.

Midnight angel8It paid off. The Wild Rose Press contracted my first full-length novel, Midnight Angel, in 2006, and shortly thereafter, two e-stories entitled If Wishes Were Dog Biscuits and The SS Grace. Overall, my experience with The Wild Rose Press was wonderful. I formed a good friendship with my editor, whom I still keep in touch with today. I have no regrets of my time there.

But there is more to the story.

For those who don’t know, POD stands for print on demand. It’s a method of publishing that simply means the book is ordered before it’s printed. It’s a popular means of printing with small presses because it helps keep their costs low. They don’t run the risk of printing a large number of books that don’t sell, which they would then have to absorb the cost.

Yet POD has gotten a bad reputation. Some authors/readers automatically assume that POD means lower quality and that anyone, whether they can write or not, can be published; others think that POD means self-publishing or that the author must pay to be published. This is not the case. The Wild Rose Press, for example, is a royalty paying press that doesn’t charge their authors a fee. They don’t give advances, but their authors receive a standard royalty as they would with traditional publishers. The Wild Rose Press also requires the same submission process as a traditional publishing house, and gives more rejections than they do contracts. However, because they have fewer costs and are able to publish more books per year, they are able to contract more stories and encourage new authors to submit.

The many benefits to POD publishing include not requiring anSS Grace author to be represented by an agent for submitting, offering both print books and e-books (the story’s word count will determine if it goes to print or not), and allowing the author more involvement in the details of their books, such as the cover art and back cover copy.

But as with everything in life, there is the bad with the good. Unfortunately, the negative reputation of POD publishing and self-publishing still exists, and authors who walk the POD road don’t usually obtain the same level of respect that authors publishing with a traditional house do. Hopefully, in the future this will change, but for those who haven’t yet developed the much-needed (in this industry anyway!) thick skin, this truth could cause a few hurt feelings.

Also, with many houses involved in POD publishing, the author is almost completely in charge of marketing. Most publishers like The Wild Rose Press work with their authors to provide online chats, giveaways, and contests, etc., to help with marketing, but the vast majority of it falls on the author’s shoulders. For some authors this isn’t a problem, but for many new one who don’t have marketing experience, this could mean the difference between making good sales—or not many at all.

I did very well with Midnight Angel. And here’s a secret: It wasn’t because of the incoming royalties. Those were almost unnoticeable. I joked about buying a T-shirt with my first quarter profits and writing on the front in bold letters I PUBLISHED A BOOK AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS STUPID T-SHIRT (ha!). No, the secret to sales with a POD press is ordering a large number of books at your author discount and selling them at the listed price yourself (just be sure to keep up with your numbers for tax purposes!).

Obviously, this method won’t work for everyone. You have to have the money up front, and you have to be fairly certain of earning it back to make the effort worth it. It worked for me because my church threw me a huge book signing party in which I sold eighty-something copies in one afternoon. Then I sold another mass of books at a speaking event at my parents’ church months later.

If Wishes Were Dog BiscuitsAuthors need to choose for themselves which path to take. In today’s shaky economy, many writers are feeling the tightening of the publisher’s belts and are losing hope of breaking into the ever-shrinking market of traditional publishing. POD publishing is a wonderful new option for these authors who have a story to tell but are having trouble finding an agent.

I believe my experience with The Wild Rose Press taught me a lot about the industry, and while my experience wasn’t a completely perfect one, it provided me the stepping stones I needed to progress on my writing journey. In September 2007, I signed with Tamela Hancock Murray of Hartline Literary Agency, and now have two contracted stories with Steeple Hill Love Inspired, both due to release in 2009.

Maybe POD publishing with a house like The Wild Rose Press is the right decision for you. Before you decide, pray about it. Do your research. Considers the pros and cons, and I beg you—please do not make rash judgments out of hearsay and gossip. Talk to people who have been published with that house and get the facts.

Taking a single step like this could be the move you need to launch your career. Or maybe you’ll dive in and realize it’s not for you after all. Regardless, you’ll never know unless you try.

My name is Betsy St. Amant, and I’m a POD author.

And I’m not ashamed of it.

(For more information on submitting to The Wild Rose Press, visit their Web site At