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.
It 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
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
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 an
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.
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
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.
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 www.thewildrosepress.com.)