Getting to the Distributor

For those of us living in the U.S. and working, odds are you have seen a substantial change in your paycheck.  It is awful, and to someone like myself who is not on the full-time payroll but works full time hours without benefits and accrued paid time off, it is worse. Since I am not guaranteed hours it difficult to judge what my next pay check will look like.  Then enter the costs of publishing and marketing which takes from said paycheck.

I wake up on a daily basis and ask myself what I can do different.  If invention is the mother of necessity, then I must find something to necessitate.  Ugh! Then I started looking into publishing The Surviving The Writing Apocalypse manual in physical print.  Which channel to go through? Createspace? Vanity press? Staples and spiral bind it? Bookbaby for personal sales? There really are a lot of avenues.

But what about micropress? What is a micropress? These typical have book runs of less than 5 books, which is more like self-publishing to the bare bones.  You do it all yourself. Impossible? No.  Hella difficult? Yes.

First you have to find a distributor, like Lightning.  next you have to learn all their formatting rules not only for the book, but also for the cover.  It couldn’t be as easy as a Word doc though, no they use some bizarre PDF thingy that looks more like the name of some Matrix movie than a program.  Luckily, they have a manual.  Brilliant! Yeah, about as brilliant as reading an Ikea how-to-build-your-bookshelf guide in Swedish.

All sarcasm aside, after reading the manual ten times and deciding I would have to buy at least two new programs, it isn’t impossible.  You follow the instructions, they give you a format, you follow that, upload all the finished products, submit some basic payment info (for your royalties) and they place it in their catalog.  Whala, self-published book that places such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and others can place in their catalog. The retailer takes their cut, the distributor takes manufacturing costs, and you reap the rest of the royalties.  Since you are the publisher, you take all royalties and don’t have to share with agreggators or publishers.

ls_logoPhew. So, if you are truly looking to be self or independently published, it looks to be worth the work. I am going to try this with my manual just to test the waters and report back with more info, pros and cons alike.

By the way, the break down is like this:

$0.90 per unit (book), add $0.013 per page and you get the manufacturing cost. (example at 150 page book is $2.85)

Next, take the cost of the book retail, say $15.00 for paperback and subtract the retailer discount (Amazon asks 55%, most don’t ask more than 20%). So at worst, Amazon takes their 55% off $15.00 which is $8.25, then add the manufacturing cost of $2.85= $11.10. You then get the full rest of the royalty of $3.90, which is much better than my $1.25 with a vanity press.

All books are returnable, so if you are paying for a return program it is bogus.  Any returned books will be deducted from the author’s royalty payment.

Look into it authors.

Tania L Ramos


Follow me at and

Twitter @tanialramos and @writingapocalyp



2 responses to “Getting to the Distributor

  1. Lightning source … very interesting. I will have to check them out. Keep us posted!

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