If you want to do mail order that could work.I admit I didn't think of that at first because because generally people today don't like to send money that way. That why we have ebay and the like. But you are right that if you want to invest in a kinko run then it can be done cheaply through mail order.
On further thought the best approach would be to go all out. You would offer it on Lulu, Cafepress (maps), RPGNow, AND mail order. Let the customer pick which one to order from.
What would be nice if we can get together and spell all this out in a handy FAQ.
Also if you been following my blog my wife has been selling hair sticks on a site called www.esty.com. It's purpose is to sell handicrafts and rate sellers and buyers. Kinda of like ebay but it appears to all stores.
If there a site like that that can be used for RPG products then we can throw that in as an option. The value would be a more secure selling location, plus we can have storefronts grouping our products in various ways in addition to the individual storefront.
While I was aware of how Carosa sold it really didn't sink in until I read Jim's replies. I think would be useful to use this thread on the different ways we can be selling. The PROs the Cons and then we can compile it into a FAQ.
Here's my response cut-and-pasted from James's blog:
James is right about how I do Carcosa. My required materials:
1. Computer 2. Word (or a similar, but free, program) 3. A printer 4. paper 5. cardstock (for the covers)
That's it. I compiled the book from my campaign notes, and REALLY polished it up. My hand-written campaign notes are pretty shirtty. I typed it all into Word and screwed around with it until it looked right. I print some copies, then I take the copies to a professional printer where they staple them and trim them. That's all they do. I do everything else at home.
I advertise CARCOSA on message boards, on my blog, and in the Old School Renaissance Storefront.
While CARCOSA is not perfect, I'm proud of it and proud that I do 99% of it by myself in my own house.
I think it's almost all pros. Here are the only cons I can think of:
1. I underestimated how many copies of CARCOSA I would sell, and for a while there it seemed like I was doing nothing except printing and folding the d**n things. For about a week I hated Carcosa! ;D
2. The wretched Hobby Lobbies in my city and the next nearest city simply will not or cannot get replacement cardstock in. I depleted THREE Hobby Lobbies of all their tan cardstock. Now I'm engaged in depleting them of their khaki cardstock.
Solutions to my cons: Print at least 50 copies of your book before you start to sell it. And buy at least 100 sheets of cardstock (if you need it) before you start to sell your product.
I expected that I would sell maybe 50 copies of CARCOSA, ever. Thus I started with a stack of 25 copies, which got burned through very quickly. I never dreamed that I'd sell 100 copies, let alone more than 100.