What happens during the Production phase at Outskirts Press? A lot, but ultimately, printing comes down to the creation of two documents, the interior file and the cover file. Granted, creating these files properly is where our skill and expertise comes into play, and is also what separates us from so many of the other online “self publishing” companies, many of which use computer programs to automatically generate the production files. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel comfortable having my book generated by a machine. And if you’ve seen the “output” of those machines at those places, you’ll have a better understanding as to why the “stigma” of self-publishing persists.
While production files are necessary for printing, it is important to realize that when an author purchases publishing services, they are purchasing publication and distribution of a book; they are not purchasing the means by which you get there. If we included these files into the prices of our publishing services, our most affordable package would cost over $1000 (instead of $199). And if you look around at other self-publishing companies who make a “big deal” out of giving away their production files, you will notice that their least expensive packages are all in excess of $1000! In other words, they’re charging you for the files whether or not you want them (and most authors don’t). Creating these production files properly requires the expertise of publishing professionals — and expertise is expensive, but since the vast majority of all authors (theirs and ours) do not need or request these files (99% in our case), we decided it was unethical to charge 100% of our clients such high prices when only 1% would benefit.
On the other side of the extreme are self-publishing companies offering prices under $1000, like we do, and in those cases, their production files are either extremely expensive (particularly if you request them within 1 year of publication) or not available at all.
For authors who do want the production files, Outskirts Press offers the option of purchasing them separately. That offers choice and value for authors who want them, without universally charging (and penalizing) the vast majority of authors who don’t. When you do the comparative math, the files still cost about 50% of what they would cost elsewhere. Either way, it all comes down to the Outskirts Press niche — navigating the middle of two extremes for the ultimate in flexibility and value for our authors.
Over the next few weeks I’m going to discuss the next phases of the publishing process at Outskirts Press, now that we have thoroughly covered the pre-production process. And as I did with that information, I will present the next section in reverse chronological order, too. To see why, click here.