The Self Publishing Gold Rush

The Self Publishing Gold Rush

There are thousands of self-publishing companies out there.  Traditional publishers make more in selling author services than selling books.   A one time author – overnight  – becomes a publisher and sells their publishing services to writers.  Agents understand they can make more from self publishing than from book touting; even bookstore chains like Dymocks entered into self publishing as a service to prospective authors.  All scenarios hope to monetise the writers rush to be an author. Hence, the self publishing gold rush.

On the whole, what authors don’t know is, every aforementioned company or individual ALL use the same printing and distribution channels.

So when prospective authors ask us who they should print and distribute with, there is only two channels that we recommend: IngramSpark and occasionally CreateSpace.

(In the interests of disclosure, Pickawoowoo Publishing Group is an approved author service provider for Lightning Source /IngramSpark. Furthermore, we’ve published hundreds of authors plus our own publishing imprint since 2005.)

Between these two companies, any self-publisher can create a printed book. Quite often they need the assistance of an author services provider, like Pickawoowoo. We assist them in the creation and set up. Each channel is appropriate for a different kind of author/publisher and this determines what we recommend to our authors.

Pickawoowoo has many FREE Pdf magazines. Including a self publishing checklist, which can guide you in your decision making. Email us and request the FREE Pdf support sheets.

Here’s how we help you decide:

Lightning Source

We recommend Ingram Book Company’s print on demand vendor, Lightning Source or Ingram Sparks when the author/publisher:

  • Intends to treat their book as a product.  A publishing business and has longer-term plans.
  • Plans to hire professionals to assist in the creation of their printed book.  Or seek guidance on DIY options compatible with this platform.
  • Already has an ABN (or willing to obtain one, no fees involved with this). The set up fees with Lightning Source are approximately $200 or Ingram Sparks $50- per title. (90% of our author/publishers now select Ingram Spark)
  • Require distribution channels for their book (ability to reach39 000 online retail outlets including Amazon at no extra charge, optional)
  • Wish to liaise with an Australian division of Ingram (Melbourne)
  • Has already started thinking about their next book


We recommend Amazon‘s print on demand vendor when the author/hobbyist:

Intends to produce only a few books in the foreseeable future (for their own personal use)

  • Is not computer-savvy and does not have any technical support.
  • Want to do the DIY approach (with the support of the Pickawoowoo Group .ie editorial services)

Are happy to distribute their book only via Amazon.

  • They have little or no budget.

Important Note: Australian authors please realise that the costs are FAR greater to post your books from the US. There are tax and conversion rate implications on sales when working with a US based company.

Are they my only options?

What about my Local Printer?

We recommend you do your research before you commit to this avenue:

  • Most printers are general printers not book specialists, they do not offer publishing protocol advice on your book.
  • Most will convince you that there is a minimum print run.
  • The set up costs of one book, one hundred books or one thousand books are usually the same. You pay this each time you print (with Print on Demand it is a one off set up fee for the life of your book).
  • You don’t need an ISBN with a printer. However, without these obvious requirements (publishing protocol) your book will scream self published and bookstores cannot stock without an ISBN. Legal requirements like CIP are also not the responsibility of the printer they are yours.
  • Printers PRINT… designers design, publishers publish and distribute. It is not a printers role to tell you of publishing standards, nor distribute. Many are unaware of such requirements or that online distribution platforms are readily available to you.

Usually quick but expensive.


QUESTION: Do I have to use a self-publishing company and their imprint. A subsidy publisher. A co-operative publisher or vanity press to publish my book?

ANSWER Absolutely not. You have access to Lightning Source/Ingram Sparks and Createspace. The same print and distribution channels that these organisations use for your book. You only need the services of a competent publishing professional to access these platforms (i.e. design, book cover, editing etc). You don’t pay a middleman at inflated prices for what you can set up for yourself as an author/publisher.

If you are still tempted to use the services of a third party as your publisher (pay to publish) then please undertake due diligence. For one thing, type into Google the name of the company + complaints and visit Self-Publishing Index for Author Solution Services or this indispensable POD, Self-Publishing and Independent Publishing blog, where each company is analysed independently.

In any event, we are not suggesting all self-publishing companies are of no value. Again, some have good intent and talented people creating great books for their authors. Some don’t.  A few are only in the business of selling you services (also known as monetising the writer slush pile).   Others have been around for a while, and some have been around for a week. Without due diligence on your part you won’t know who’s who.

Furthermore, don’t be convinced by any third party who tell you that they will sell your book for you. They don’t. They only utilise the distribution channels available to you via Ingram. No publisher sells your book, you do.

So why not reduce your upfront costs. Go direct to these channels and we can provide professional help, where required and give your book a head start.

Both Lightning Source and CreateSpace are owned by much larger companies. Each of which is a dominant force in the publishing industry. Lightning Source is the largest Print on Demand company worldwide. Ingram is the largest book distributor worldwide. Amazon, of course, is the largest retailer online. Pickawoowoo, as your publishing partner, can help you set up with Lightning Source/Ingram and utilise our bulk discount codes. With our help and Ingram’s distribution channel, your book could be available for ordering at almost every bookstore in the country. As well as up to 39 000 online distribution channels, including Amazon.

In Conclusion

On the bright side.  At Pickawoowoo we want you to know your options upfront. We don’t see any persuasive reason to recommend anyone besides IngramSpark. Especially for serious authors producing books expecting to sell in the marketplace. Moreover, you’ll get great customer support in a business-to-business environment. Access to all the customers of Ingram, and the capacity to do colour books, hardcover’s, or ebooks. We can help even with offset runs of larger quantities if this is what you envisage for your book.

That’s our opinion. We hope you see us as your publishing partner and allow us to help you move your book confidently into print.

Disclaimer: Pickawoowoo has a ‘Pay to Publish’ division of the company – however we encourage all authors to consider self publishing independently first via  Through our author services division we help writers become authors and self publishers. It is the fairest and most equitable arrangement for all authors. Ultimately the choice is yours and we are happy to guide you.

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