How to Select a Self-Publishing Company

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Many authors are choosing to self-publish their books instead of waiting around for a literary agent or publisher to publish their books. This could work for you. If you have good business acumen, understand marketing and selling, and are willing to do the work, your books could sell better through self-publishing than traditional publishing.

Let’s face, waiting around for a literary agent or publisher could mean waiting a long time. It’s no surprise that authors have many self-publishing houses to select such as CreateSpace, AuthorHouse, Balboa Press, Lulu, iUniverse, CafePress, and many others. If you specialize in Christian books, there are even Christian self-publishing houses. That’s how huge the market is. The question is, “How do you select the right self-publishing company for your books?” Keep reading to find out.

How to select a self-publishing company

1. How long has the self-publisher been in business? Make sure the self-publisher you choose has been in business for five or more years. Work with a company that knows what they’re doing. Make sure they understand the publishing industry; otherwise, you may end up with a huge inventory of books.

2. Do they have graphic design, editing, and proofreading services? Do you want to hire a graphic designer/illustrator? An editor? Proofreader? Or, would you like these professionals to be under one self-publishing house? Sometimes you’re better off hiring your own designer, editor, and proofreader; however, if you don’t want to spend time looking for them, you could use the self-publisher’s staff.

3. Do they offer ISBN registration? Most self-publishing houses offer you the opportunity to register you book. Read the print before you use their service. It costs $99 to register your book; you may want to do this.

4. What types of marketing services do they offer? You can’t get away from marketing, not even with traditional publishing. How would you rate your marketing skills? If your skills aren’t that great, it may be worthwhile to take advantage of a self-publishing company’s marketing service.

5. How professional looking are books? Some self-publishing companies turn out better looking books than traditional publishers. Remember, the pressures on you to make your book stand out from the crowd. This means your book cover must be spot on. You’ll want to have your book edited and proofread for errors. Believe it or not, some well known authors have books published (recently) with grammar and spacing errors. Yikes!

6. Ask a lot of questions. If you don’t understand something in the contract, ask about it. You may want to hire an attorney to look over the paperwork. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

7. How do you price your book? Does the self-publisher provide ‘price setting’ guidelines or do you pick a number out of the sky and hope for the best? Some self-publishing companies will provide authors with guidelines for pricing. Research the market for your particular genre and see what books are selling for. This will help you set your price.

Self-publishing your books doesn’t have to be scary. Your books can do very well if you know and understand that publishing is a business. It doesn’t matter if you self-publish or use a traditional publisher, it’s still a business. You must be prepared to advertise and market your book. If you wrote a non-fiction book, be prepared to speak about it. Inquire about radio and TV interviews (early morning shows are best). Do what you can to create a lot of ‘buzz’ around your book. You never know who’ll be listening!


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