Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A New Kind of Publishing
by Grace Bridges

Hello from New Zealand!

A short while ago Gina and I got talking, and I mentioned that my books aren't CBA. "We promote some ABA authors too," she said, and I had to break the news that I'm not ABA either, but one of a new and possibly strange breed known by its proponents as independent publishing. So she's asked me to come and explain a bit about what that is and how it works.

view from Grace's office window

Technology is racing onwards at explosive speeds, as my colleague P.A. Baines wrote here on Monday. And that technology is in the process of turning the publishing world upside down. No longer is there only one way to get published: the search for an agent and publisher, paved with rejections and often ending in failure.

E-readers such as the Kindle, Nook and iPad, along with many smartphones, allow for the storage of huge numbers of books within one small device. Each type of machine typically has its own file format, though some can read multiple formats including PDF. Creating these files requires only average technical skills, and no ISBN is required – so anyone can publish a book, and there doesn't have to be a print version.

Self-publishers aside, there are a lot of small independent publishers doing just that. The key to success is having titles available in all the different formats so that any given buyer can get the file type necessary for their e-reading device.

But that's only a small part of the independent publishing model.

Heard of POD?

Print on Demand (POD) has unfortunately often been associated with vanity publishing, when in fact it is nothing more than a method for printing and ordering that is both economically sound and environmentally friendly. The publisher uploads the cover and text as files to a printer, who makes the information available to distributors – such as Ingrams – and retailers, such as Amazon, B&N, and the Book Depository, to name just a few.

You know the really amazing part?

NO stock is printed.

As orders come in from the retailer via the distributor to the printer, only then is a book printed. A single copy at a time. Digital printing presses have become so efficient that the unit cost per book, singly produced, is now no different than for traditional print runs that go into the thousands and end up being destroyed if they don't all sell.

I had it in my mind for some time to set up such an operation – all by myself, yes sir. Jeff Gerke of Marcher Lord Press got started before me and is doing a magnificent job with this same type of publishing model. I share his appreciation for speculative fiction: science fiction, fantasy, and supernatural. And that's what I publish. With time, other team members have come on board to assist with editing, design, and even soundtracks (!) so that I'm not doing everything alone these days.

Publishing is an exhaustive passion, consistently taking more time than expected. I've sat proofreading in the wee small hours, I've wrestled with last-minute cover tweaks, and wrangled with authors and editors. But each time a project is wrapped up and a brand-new author's dream comes true – that's a feeling like nothing in the world.

You can check out our titles at – and if you want to know more about my writing, there's a summary page at which lists my short story publications (most available online), my ongoing superhero serial, and my books so far.

Ever bought a POD book? If so, which one? What POD book are you looking forward to buying next? If you buy e-books, what's your favorite e-reader and why?
Grace Bridges is a sci-fi author (Faith Awakened, 2007, and Legendary Space Pilgrims, 2010) and owner of Splashdown Books, an independent publisher of inspirational sci-fi and fantasy at She's a Kiwi of Irish descent living in beautiful New Zealand, and a chocaholic cat-lovin' Trekkie, Jesus freak, repeat globetrotter, hack web designer, and all-round DIY gal who also takes care of the Lost Genre Guild blog.

www.gracebridges.blogspot.comFAITH AWAKENED

Have you ever wondered... if your life is designed? Coincidences, déjà vu, fate, God... what does it all mean? Have you ever wished you could go back and do things differently? Maybe you can. Maybe you did already. If you could design your own virtual world to live in, what would it look like? Is God a computer programmer? And can he take you to heaven... before you die?
Buy a copy today at Amazon or Book Depository!
"Just how badly would we wreck things if global society is governed as though humans were the highest power? Can technology apprehend the Divine? Bridges is a literary artist, who paints her dystopian future setting with a vibrant narrative-style brush. FAITH AWAKENED is a Biblical Sci-Fi classic, and I look forward to viewing more of Grace Bridges' futuristic works in my mind's eye." --Frank Creed, author of FLASHPOINT


  1. Hi Grace, welcome to the Inkwell. Oh yes, I know, morning for me means not morning for you!

    I'm glad you gave us some more information on all this stuff we need to know more about. I have to stop using the term "real" book to describe one printed and bound!

    Your story sounds interesting. The whole idea of mixing faith into speculative fiction/ sci-fi/ futuristic is fascinating. I don't think I'd have a clue where to start but I know there's a big audience for it. May God bless your work to go where no book has gone before.

    Love your view, too. Nice!

  2. Thanks for the info Grace! I always learn so much here at the Inkwell!!

    God bless your endeavors, cool stuff!

  3. I love the challenges and opportunities the industry is facing right now. It's such an interesting time to live in. (Wait a minute, isn't that a Chinese curse?)

    Either way, it's never dull!

    Thanks for hanging around the Inkwell with us today, Grace!

  4. Hi Grace. I have a Sony 700 eReader and also an iTouch with apps for Stanza, Kindle, B&N, etc, so I can read a variety of formats.

    Thank you for explaining how the POD system works.

    Hoping you have success with your books and printing endeavor.

    Anita Mae.

  5. Grace, thanks so much for coming by today. I learned a lot about POD from your post. It's exciting to read about creative appropaches to changes in the publishing industry.

    May the Lord bless your writing and printing!

  6. Sorry I'm late to the party. My head is still spinning from the ACFW conference. I own a kindle. There are definitely advantages and disadvantages to the e-reader. I love it for reading books out loud to me, and if I decide I want a book, I can download it in one minute flat. That's pretty amazing. To me the main disadvantages are that I split the kindle with the whole family, and I can't lend out my kindle books. The good news for your business, though, is that if I like a printed book, my husband will order it on kindle because he prefers it that much.

  7. Oh, I am having a hard time coming back to earth after spending time with great Inkies Dina, Jen, Lisa, and Anita Mae. Talk about classy, Godly, and fun ladies.

    Sure missed Gina, Suzie, Wenda, Debra, Gwen, and Nikki! for Grace, y'all, she's a lovely lady, gracious and giving and writes AMAZING stuff. I HAVE YET to get to her book but know that if she is behind a project, it rocks!!!

    So glad she landed her spaceship here today!

    Sigh. Will be severely curtailing blog visits till 11/15 and would appreciate occasional Inkie visits and prayers! Plot changes and two contracts force this cave dwelling behavior.

    Next step? TOTALLY unplug. With Google research, I don't want to go there!!!


  8. Patti, I'm so excited for you! Praying for you as you write like crazy.

    I missed seeing you, too! Here's to next time...

  9. Thanks everyone, and sorry I'm late in replying...I just got up! Hehe, these time zones sure do mess with the head. Lovely to see you all here, and be sure to catch up on facebook at the link in the post.

    There's lots of Christian sci-fi and fantasy out there, and I've got over 100 reviews of books I've read so far at the Splashdown Reviews blog if you are interested in finding out more about the genre.

  10. Hi Grace! Thank you for sharing. I just sat in on a writing forum where one of the authors talked about the difference between small press, self-publishing (independent), and large press. Your info definitely added to what I heard from the forum!
    Thanks for visiting!


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