If you’re considering self-publishing for the first time, there are a lot of questions in your mind about the do’s and don’ts. When it comes to the question of printing physical books, there are many different opinions on the right way to approach this, but your answer lies within yourself. What works for one person may not work for you, so let’s take a look at the factors that are going to influence your decision.
First of all, what are your self-publishing goals? How much effort are you really going to put into selling books? If you’re on the fence about this, start small. You can probably offload a few hundred books relatively easily, without touring or pushing online marketing. But if you’re in it to win it you’ll want to consider this; prices drop as you order more books. As with all things, buying in bulk is going to save you money in the long run. If you’re buying 500 copies of your book, followed by another hundred and then a few hundred more, you’ll spend more which will cut into your overall profits.
Before you make your decision, consider also the genre of your writing. If you’re publishing a non-fiction piece that can be used as a reference guide for others in the field, you’re probably pretty safe to do a larger printing run. If you’re trying your hand for the first time as a fiction writer, you may want to play it safe.
Speaking of playing it safe, there is no wrong way to publish your book, except by not publishing at all. If you feel more comfortable printing a limited quantity, why not start out with a small order of 50 copies and get a feel for the market. You’ll start to understand how your book is received, while also getting an idea of how good you are at selling yourself. Not only will this give you the opportunity to feel out your audience, but also to make changes and revisions if needed.
The bottom line is that you can always order more, but you never want to end up with boxes of unsold books to contend with. Err on the side of caution at first, but prepare to be pleasantly surprised.