Can I Print Just One Book?

Now that the manuscript you've worked so hard on over the years is finally complete, it's time to print your novel. But what will it look like once it's done? Will the final product reflect what you've envisioned all along? If you're hesitant to mass-produce your work right away without seeing it first, the good news is there's another option. 

Many on-demand printing companies let you produce just one copy of your book before placing a larger order.  

From getting a clear picture of what your novel will look like in-store to making last-minute design decisions, there are many advantages to printing just one book before investing in a full production run. To reap the benefits of this service, you'll need to research prospective publishers, explore their book printing options, and order the first copy of your book. 

In this article, Book1One discusses the steps needed to print just one book and some of the things authors should consider at this stage of the book creation process. 


Find Prospective Publishers

There are several ways to get your work published. Two of the most common is to sign a book deal with a traditional publishing house or utilize a self-publishing company. For many first-time authors, a self-publishing company is often the best way to get their novel on bookstore shelves and into the hands of readers.  

Self-publishing puts you in complete control of designing, ordering, and marketing processes. While having a traditional publishing house may seem like less work on your part, there are several benefits to self-publishing, including: 

  • Guaranteed prints: Book publishing is a highly competitive market. It's often challenging to get an offer from a renowned publishing house. Going the self-publishing route makes it easier to get your work in print. 
  • Lower risk: Self-publishing companies are well-equipped to facilitate on-demand orders in small and large quantities. This is beneficial for authors who are unsure if their work will sell and are worried about being left with stacks of books collecting dust in storage. 
  • Fewer restrictions: Having control over your work means you'll also have full ownership of the associated rights and royalties. You'll also have complete creative freedom. 
  • Simple customization: From cover to cover, self-publishing companies offer several customization options. This makes it easy to craft a book that looks just the way you want.
  • Timeline: The self-publishing route makes it easy to publish your work whenever you're ready to do so. Simply place your oder and wait for it to arrive.

Having complete creative control over your work is also empowering – you have the final say over every detail of the final product, from the visuals to the words on the page. And if you need help with illustrations or text edits, freelancers are always available for hire. What's more, there are several ways to market your book on your own. 

Finding a self-publishing company can typically be done with a simple web search. While you may find some private publishing companies stationed locally in your city, there are also a number of online publishing companies. Online services range in offerings but are often the simplest route.  


Explore Printing and Ordering Options

Once you've narrowed down your search, it's time to find out what each prospective publisher offers. A few key elements to look for in each company include: 

  • Customization services 
  • Minimum order quantities 
  • Proof copy options 

Start with customization options. The company you choose should be able to produce a final product that looks exactly the way you want. From the cover on the outside to the paper stock on the inside, a variety of options will be at your disposal – it's just a matter of finding the company that has what you need. 

Next, look at ordering quantities. At this point, you only need one copy. But what about ordering larger quantities that suit your audience and budget in the future? If you like how your book turned out based on this first copy, then you'll likely want to use the same publishing company to print subsequent copies. While many publishers will allow you to order on-demand, other self-publishing companies may require a minimum of 25 or 100 copies per order.  

What some authors may not realize is that they're not always tied to that minimum order quantity. A proof copy may be all you need to get the ball rolling. 

Whether you're ordering a single book or 1,000 books, one of the most beneficial things an author can do is request a proof copy. This gives you the chance to approve the final design before beginning production on a larger order. Not only does it help ensure the design is on point, but it also gives you a final chance to catch any flaws that may have otherwise been overlooked. While there may be extra fees attached to this service, having a proof copy sent to you for approval is well worth it in the end. 

In terms of pricing, many publishers can provide a quote for your work on the spot. This can help you gauge whether ordering a proof copy is within your budget or if ordering one regular copy of your book will be more cost-effective. 


Order a Copy of Your Book

Now that you've found a publishing company and explored all the services available, it's time to place an order for your book. Learning the best way to turn your manuscript into a printed book is as simple as asking a representative from your publisher or exploring their process online. Be sure to take note of any of the following: 

  • Preferred file formats: Many companies require a specific file format, such as a PDF. To ensure the best possible quality, it's important to deliver your work in the desired file type. 
  • Available software programs: If you've chosen an online publisher, you may be able to upload your work from the comfort of your home. Many have user-friendly software programs that make ordering simple, from the initial proof copy to the final production run.   
  • Cover size: Your aesthetic and storyline aren't the only details to consider – sizing is also important. Ask your publisher if they have a cover sizing diagram or other information that may help you choose the ideal size for your novel. 

At this point, you should have a fairly good idea of how your book will look. If you're still undecided about some of the design details, you can order copies of your book in different formats. For example, some authors choose to order a hardcopy version and a paperback version of the same book. This helps them get a sense of which design works best and which one they truly want to see on the shelves. 



Now that you know how to get just one copy of your book printed, are you ready to get started? The process is fairly straightforward: find prospective publishers, explore available ordering options, and purchase your book. 

Self-publishing is a highly rewarding endeavor for many authors. After printing that initial copy of your book and seeing it firsthand, you can take steps toward getting your novel into the homes of readers everywhere.