My Lightning Source System for Self-Publishing Profit

October 2010
by Aaron Shepard

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My Lightning Source System for Self-Publishing Profit

by Aaron Shepard

Based on my own experience with Lightning Source, which goes back to 1998—only about a year after the company’s founding, when it was still called Lightning Print—it remains the prime choice for most modern self-publishers determined to maximize profit.

I have no official connection to Lightning except as a publisher client, and I have neither sought nor received any endorsement from it, but I’ve published almost two dozen books through it. And though I’ve worked also with BookSurge, CreateSpace, and Replica Books (now TextStream), sales through Lightning provide the bulk of my income today.

Of course, not all Lightning publishers make money, but many do, and our ranks are growing. For a very rough idea of what’s possible, here are the results of a 2008 poll of Yahoo’s pod_publishers group—a gathering point for Lightning publishers worldwide—with 28 members responding. Dollar amounts are average monthly profit from POD sales, given in U.S. dollars.

29%$0–$100

29%$100–$1,000

25%$1,000–$5,000

11%$5,000–$10,000

4%$10,000–$50,000

4%$50,000–$100,000

0%$100,000

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