Barbara J. Robinson

Barbara J. Robinson has published two POD books and continues to hone her craft through the Christian Writers Guild. At the completion of the Apprentice course, she had ten devotionals accepted for publication. Barbara is continuing her training with the Journeyman level. In addition, she graduated from Long Ridge Writers Group and is working on a novel. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), she participates in a critique group and lives in Florida with her husband, two cats, and two dogs. Visit her at

Publishing on Demand?
What’s to Gain?

“Did you know the trials you face today will be the treasures that enrich your tomorrows?” Janet Eckles illustrates this through her published-on-demand, or printed-on-demand, (POD) book Trials of Today, Treasures for Tomorrow.

Janet is not only a gifted writer, but also a gifted speaker. Had she gone the traditional route to publish her book rather than POD, she would not have been able to sell her book to her speaking audience. She chose the Christian publisher Xulon Publishing at She likes that POD publishing eliminates the problem of book storage.

My own POD publishing experience allowed me to learn to meet deadlines, gain much insight about writing and publishing, and publish two books. There are many advantages to POD publishing. Little or no upfront money is high on the list. I found Publish America (PA),, offers some of the best book covers I’ve seen, and they work with the author on designing them. I was able to use a digital picture for the cover on my second novel.

The price per book runs more than traditionally published books. The main drawback for me was the cost per book and not having my novels available in bookstores so customers could pick up the book and flip through it. When I buy books, I want to read the first paragraph, cover material, the inside flap, and scan through the book. To overcome this problem, online stores now allow readers to browse books.

When deciding the publication route, reasons for wanting your work published need to be considered. It’s the perfect route for publishing a certain quantity of books and for having your books available online. POD is an excellent method for learning about the publishing experience firsthand. Be sure to check reputable publishers by researching the company before investing time or money.

Janet, a former American Christian Fiction Writer (ACFW) critique group member, advises asking yourself questions to determine if POD publishing is the route for you:

1. What is the motivation behind your decision—disappointment, desire, or diligence? At first, I was excited to see my book published. This isn’t the best motivation, and I learned through my mistakes.

2. Is your book is different from those in the same genre? Do you present a different angle? Does your writing grab the reader?

3. Do you have the commitment or funds to market the book? The only marketing PA did was online. It’s up to the authors to market their books. The bottom line is if you want your book to be successful, you must market.
4. Are you willing to spend more time honing your craft? This was the question I should have asked myself early on. When I published my POD books, I learned how much I didn’t know about the publishing world. I discovered how important it is to identify your target audience, your readers.

Janet suggests investing in writer’s conferences and networking with other authors. I suggest using a critique group. My ACFW critique group has proven to be the most helpful for me. I’ve learned so much since actively participating.

I had the desire, the love, and the passion for writing, but I needed to work under a mentor. A colleague told me she’s never seen anyone with the passion for writing I have. I needed guidance and direction, and I found it through the critique group and the Christian Writers Guild classes with Eva Marie Everson as my writing mentor. Now I’ll strive for excellence as a life-long learner and continue to hone my craft.

5. Are you committed enough to work and present a well-crafted manuscript? Is your manuscript polished so that it’s comparable to traditionally published books?

6. Are you devoted enough to spend funds to market your book and begin a speaking platform?

If you can answer yes to these questions, you’re on your way to seeing your POD or self-published book soar to success. Janet is a perfect example of a lady who’s done her homework and succeeded. Visit her at Be sure to browse Trials of Today, Treasures for Tomorrow at or Barnes and Talented writer and gifted speaker Eva Marie says, “I chose to go with WinePress Publishing when I decided to write Word Weavers: The Story of a Successful Writers Group, rather than use traditional publishing because I knew the market—though large enough—was small in comparison to, say, my book about Israel, Reflections of God’s Holy Land (Thomas Nelson), or any of my novels, such as The Potluck Club series or Things Left Unspoken (Baker/Revel).”

My most valuable lesson learned was realizing my need to hone my craft and improve my writing skills, so I acquired my rights back from PA to rewrite it. As Janet says, the trials faced during my POD publishing time became treasures, nuggets of information to guide me on my writing journey.

John Grisham, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry David Thoreau, and Mark Twain all self-published and were successful. If you’ve the commitment and dedication for excellence, your POD or self-published book can stand out and succeed.