Printing Your Self-Published Book: How do I find the right printer for me?

It’s Wednesday again and Trish, the Book Division Manager at Blitzprint, wraps up her discussion of choosing a company to print your self-published book.

How do I find the right printer for me?

The important factor in this question is for me. You have to find the right fit for all your needs and requirements, not just your print run needs.

For instance, CreateSpace and Lightning Source are Print on Demand companies that essentially meet the same function, printing one or two books at a time. However, Createspace doesn’t have anyone available for you to talk to. Literally. All you can do is send an email and wait for a response. There is no way to just pick up the phone and get someone to chat with if you have a question.

Lightning Source, however, has great folks who will answer your call or give you a ring back, at least, and talk with you one-on-one. That being said, they don’t want to hear your story. They want to know what they can help you with. They are used to dealing with distributors and other people involved in the publishing profession so they expect the professionalism level to be up there. They will be more than happy to answer your questions and clear up any confusion or concerns you may be having.

CreateSpace may be just what you’re are wanting, though! Not having to talk to anyone is a plus for some people.

Research both options carefully because, chances are, one of these two Print On Demand printers is going to be the better fit for your needs.

When it comes to Short Run POD Printers and Offset Printers, you will more than likely get human contact. Make an appointment if you can, to sit down with them and see what they have to offer. Ask all your questions. Ask to see samples of their work. Ask for quotes.

If you can’t make it to the printing office in person, ask if you can make a phone appointment so can get to know who you are dealing with. Be sure to make an appointment for that phone call. If you call up without an appointment, the Book Manager may not be able to give you all the time you need because (s)he may be in the middle of dealing with something for another client.

I know that I always try to give my clients as much time and attention as they need, but that’s not always possible during an unplanned phone call. An appointment for that initial call allows me to set aside the time, without distractions, to settle in and focus on your needs.

With that being said, if you are having a Code Red scenario or need an answer to a question right away, then don’t worry about an appointment. Just call in!

During your phone appointment, if you want to see samples, ask for them to be sent to you. Don’t be surprised, however, if they say they can’t send samples of the books. Many printers retain no rights or ownership to the books they print so they don’t have the right to send you a sample. Make sure you use a printer who has that policy!

If samples can’t be sent in the mail, ask the printer if you can send them a page or two for them to print up a sample for you. There may or may not be a cost associated with this, depending on the printer and the number of pages you want in your sample. Ask and ye shall receive!

During these appointments, whether in person or on the phone, gauge your comfort level, your confidence in them and whether or not they made you feel like your questions were answered. After several of these conversations, you will know which printer to choose.  It doesn’t mean the others are bad companies, it just means they aren’t the right fit for you.

In the end, get quotes, ask questions and really educate yourself. When all is said and done, you’ll be thankful you took the time to do this at the beginning of your publishing journey.

Good luck!

Trish Romanchuk is the manager of the Book Division for Blitzprint Inc. For more information on their book printing products and services, please visit their website, www.blitzprint.com or contact Trish directly at trish@blitzprint.com.

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