To try and make up for scaring so many people with my workshop on self-publishing, here is an article from CNN on-line about successful authors who used Publish-on-Demand.
(excerpt) "If you believe in your book, I think you should give it a chance," Genova said. "Still Alice" "was a book that people already identified with and [Simon & Schuster] saw the book's potential in a very real way."
Genova is not alone. As the economy takes its toll on traditional publishing houses -- HarperCollins dropped its Collins division in February, losing major executives and editors, and Random House continues with cutbacks -- more authors are looking to online self-publishing companies.
Companies like Author Solutions or Lulu.com allow any budding author to submit a digital file of their manuscript on any subject matter. Unlike traditional publishing companies, these publishers only produce hard copies of the books when a customer buys one, a process known as print on demand
Go to the article for the full story.
I'd like to clarify something, though: what this article is reporting on is actually PUBLISH-ON-DEMAND, not Print-on-demand. If you want to publish your book via Lulu or XLibros, you are using a Publish-on-demand company. Print-on-demand is what I use to digitally print my books one at a time as the orders come in (I like Lightning Source for this). Let's all be clear on the terminology.
(And yes, I know there is no standard, industry wide definition of either and they are used interchangeably. I'll be very surprised if I don't get a few comments from publishers and writers arguing with me about my definition. The debate over the difference between publish-on-demand and print-on-demand still rages, but this is the definition I mean when I use those terms.)
In the article, Lisa Genova, author of Still Alice, talks about her frustration when trying to get her book published traditionally and why she turned to Publish on Demand. Lisa's book was eventually picked up by Simon & Schuster and is now a New York Times best seller.
But this article isn't just about one self-publishing success story. The article also interviewed Melinda Roberts, author of Mommy Confidential: Adventures from the Wonderbelly of Motherhood, who comparatively has had lower sales, but still expresses feeling successful.
Publish-on-demand isn't cheap, in fact, the only one earning a living is the publish-on demand-company. The article explains the process and some of the costs. But it is often the best choice for authors who are tired of banging their heads against the traditional publishing wall, or who don't want to deal with managing their own publishing company. It all depends on what you want and how you define your own vision of success.