Publishing Companies and Your book August 5, 2016 – Posted in: News – Tags:

We know how difficult it can be deciding between self publishing companies. Self publishing costs can be elusive on most sites to track down and it’s not that anyone is trying to hide anything – it’s just that each book is different.

Building a book is about as complex as building a house – first there’s the idea, the dream. Next, the plans – ideas taking rough shape on a page. Finally, you settle on a builder, who will bring substance to your ideas and dreams.

That’s exactly what self-publishing companies do – they create physical substance out of your ideas, creativity, and hard won words.

Over the years, the perception of self publishing companies has changed. However, with wide variety comes the challenge of identifying which of the self publishing companies fits your specific need. There isn’t a large difference in what any of these companies do – but the way they charge their fees and return profit to their authors can vary widely.

Self-publishing companies use the exact same technologies to produce and print books. In many cases, though, the similarities end there – each company presents a unique approach creating value for the author, and each has a very distinct personality. Each also provides distinct benefits — and in some cases even disadvantages — to the author.

The goal of this article is to help you identify the publishers that best fit your book and needs. To that end, I identify some key areas that are critical to the success of a self published book. Below is what I believe is important in choosing a company to self-publish your book.

The Publishing Company Contract

It is imperative that you retain all rights to your book, and that are able to terminate your agreement at any time without penalty. The author contract should be short and easy to understand. It should never have a “duration” that locks you into keeping your book with the self publishing company. You should be able to leave without penalty at any time. Beware the self publisher that pays you a single dollar to retain the rights to your book for years. You should own every single piece of the process, from copyedited manuscript to the files used to print your book — and you should be able to get them at any time, not just after canceling your contract. Ask this question: Do I own the files used to print my book and will they be supplied to me at the end of the production process?

Retail Price

Can you set your own retail at any price? Not just a choice of numbers, but really choose your own retail? Does the publisher force you into ridiculously high retail prices? A book with an artificially high retail price cannot possibly succeed in the market. Big retail outlets, and wholesalers want at least a 50% discount – make sure the self publishing company isn’t giving you a more aggressive retail price by artificially reducing the wholesale discount to the trade. Look at other books in your category – will your book be priced competitively with them?

Author Book Cost

What is your cost to buy your own book from the self publishing company? Is it a discount from the retail price? That is the WORST possible scenario. Your cost to purchase books from the self publishing company should be a fixed price – not a discount from the retail cost. Tied directly into this — can this publisher offer offset printing (also called “traditional printing”) services? Going to a “traditional press” can deliver a great price on a large volume of books. Not many self-publishing companies offer this advantage.

Author Profit

Royalty, Net Sales, Profit… whatever the publishing companies call it — it’s the amount you receive from each book sale. Be careful of any self publishing company that gives a huge profit but forces unreasonable retail prices on your book. It makes no sense to get a “50%” royalty on a book that will never sell. Also watch for royalties that are increased by reducing your wholesale discount — again, if no store will buy it, what’s the point of a royalty? Final note — on what is the royalty paid? Most often it’s paid on the net sale, not the Retail Price. This also begs the question — why shouldn’t you get all the profit from a sale? Why should a publishing services company get more profit when you sell your book for a higher price? Their costs are fixed — it’s the same to them to print and distribute a 100 page book that retails for $10 as a 100 page book that retails for $50! Look for a publishing company that pays you based upon a ‘fixed cost’ basis — and who forwards all the remaining profit to you.

Customer Service & Expert Advice

Self publishing a book, and then marketing that book, are an incredibly complex process. Do you have access, on a regular basis, to someone who actually knows something about the book industry? Do you have access to “decision makers” that can make things happen for your book? How long has the person you are speaking to worked at the company (let alone how long they’ve been in the publishing industry).

Business Model

A business is supposed to make money — and that’s an honorable thing… and self publishing companies aren’t any different. However, where do they make their money? Look for hidden charges, or charges that show up to actually create an effective and salable book for you.

Creative Control

Self publishing companies save cost by re-using book cover and interior designs. These are called ‘templates’ and self publishing companies often churn out hundreds of books that pretty much look exactly like each other. Can you set your design? Can you pick your own retail price? Can you set your own profit margin? dD you control the discount offered to retailers and wholesale accounts? Will you see design proofs – and can you have changes made to the design without being charged additional monies?

There are plenty of resources on the internet that provide  information to help you choose amongst the myriad of self publishing companies — and while we’d love you to come our way with your business, we just want to advise you to make sure you do your homework!

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