Well, to re-cap for anyone just joining this thread: I wrote my third book this year, called 1969 A Road Trip, a memoir of a year living on the road in Europe. Previously, I had written and independently published two other books, both novels. One was a relationship novel, 181 Days, the other a historical novel, Black Horse, White Horse, based on a writer and photographer working for the WPA in 1937 New Jersey. Neither of these books had interest to a publisher but i liked them so I decided to publish independently.
First, I went to a printer I had visited before, Fort Nassau Printing, and their original quote was $1000 for a hundred books, a little too high for me. Then I tried a company they recommended that they thought could maybe quote a lower estimate, Perfect Printing in Moorestown.
Perfect Printing quoted $700 for 100 books. The man who did most of the work for me at the time was named, I think, Joe Avilla, and my account manager was Barb Roberts. Ms. Roberts is still with the company, but Joe is not. They eventually printed both books, and one was popular enough that I ended up getting it re-printed twice, so they earned $700, 4 times from my account or $2800.
At that time, 2005, they accepted my manuscript in Word (a word processing program common to PC as contrasted with Apple products which used ClarisWorks at the time.) They set it up, showed me a proof, made corrections for me, then printed the books.
I was well satisfied, so I went back to them again with my third book. The first book had been in 2005, and the second in 2006, so I knew there would be a higher price, after all, it is a decade later. The quote was for $830.
The quote was okay, but this is where we went off track because when I turned in my manuscript on Word, they said they needed it print ready on a pdf format, all set up, and they would have to charge anywhere from $300 to $500 more to convert from Word to pdf and assemble the book.
So, I went to two other printers, Belia, which has in the past done good work for me on small things like postcards, and Fort Nassau which has moved to Paulsboro.
Fort Nassau came right out and told me they couldn't match the price, and needed pdf print ready copy too. Bella never got back to me. Then, I contacted another recommended printer. PDI in Cherry Hill couldn't help either, but they were the most helpful in explaining what was needed.
A worker, not the estimator at DPI, pulled my manuscript up on his computer and told me what had to be done, margins, pagination, assembly, and all converted to pdf and in the 6 by 9 page size format. He explained that they could do all that 'assembly' for me but at a charge of $80 an hour and it would be from 2 to 4 hours to do it, so $160 to $320 extra, not far from the Perfect Printing estimate.
Crushed, I went home and tried to convert the files myself, but my Word program is too old and my software didn't have the capability.
Later that night, on the phone with a friend from a writing club to which I belong, Riverton Writers, I described how disappointed and discouraged I felt. My writing pal, Carol, generously volunteered to help me convert my Word manuscript on her newer computer, as she had the proper software and the expertise having independently printed a couple of books herself.
Today at 10:00, I went to her house, and we worked from 10:30 until 1:30, about 3 hours. She fixed all the required elements, the page size, the pagination, the cover and converted the files to pdf format.
At 3:00, I returned to Perfect Printing. John Williams, their estimator had said he would honor the $800 quote if I provided the print ready files, so I dropped off my print ready files on the thumb drive with hopes renewed.
I am telling you all this in case you, too, have a book in you and to assure you that rather than languish outside the gates of publisher acceptance, you can take matters into your own hands and make your own book! You can do this on the internet, too, but I had no success with my effort to do this. The internet software crashed both my computer and my daughter's computer, and I gave up.
I have known a couple of other people who have independently published their works, and I have bought a couple of books that were independently printed, one was by a Millville author about her parents flight from Nazi Germany during World War II, a worthy book and an excellent read. I'm sorry I can't remember her name and tell you the title just now but you could find the book at Bogarts Book Store in Millville by asking.
But the point is, you can do it too! Now you know how to get started and where to go.
If you have a modern computer with up to date software, you shouldn't have the problems I had setting up your manuscript. You may need help, so maybe a friend with experience, or, you can pay the extra and have the printer "assemble" for you, check with them on how to set up your manuscript to minimize cost. All of these printers can be found on the internet:
Perfect Communications (their name has changed from Perfect Printing)
Glenn Ave., Moorestown, NJ
2070 East Route 70 (not Wegmans - a strip mall beside the Jaguar car dealer towards Marlton)
Cherry Hill, NJ
Fort Nassau Graphics
Paulsboro (they are listed in West Deptford but my gps didn't find them there, Paulsboro worked)
If you have a story to tell, go ahead, Tell It! Maybe it is family history, maybe it is local history, maybe something else entirely. Good Luck! I might also recommend joining a writing group for constructive editing and critique, and remember - Learn to Love Editing. You can always improve your work.
ps. Needless to say, it isn't over yet. I will have to wait and see if the other shoe drops or if I will get a proof in a few days. I'll let you know. Also, my daughter gave me a new modern Apple computer for my birthday and Christmas present this year! Now I just have to learn how to use it.