Many of the questions I hear most often, working as I do in the self-publishing business, can be distilled down to one very simple one: “What makes for a great self-publishing experience?” The answer is equally simple: “A high-quality self-publishing company.”
First, we have to consider the business side of things. A self-publishing company is, in the end, a company––and a company works according to profit. As end users, either clients or readers, we want to know that we are receiving the best possible product and service for our investment. You definitely want to look for a balance of:
- quality production
- excellent customer service, and
- out-of-the-box thinking and solutions on offer
Of course, we don’t want to reduce the process of writing and publishing a book down to a simple exercise in corporate dynamics. Book lovers, both writers and readers, know that there’s something, well, special about literature. The advent of self-publishing has seen fierce debates spring up over the role of literary agents and publishing companies as “gatekeepers” for the written word, and rightfully so. The stakes are very, very high when it comes to the stories we create and let influence our lives. And because the stakes are high, it’s important that we look for a few more things out of a great self-publishing company, in addition to sound business practice. We should look for:
- sound ethics (from start to finish)
- self-awareness (including of the company’s place and stance on being a “gatekeeper”)
- authenticity (including a genuine interest in the client’s and reader’s satisfaction), and
- sensitivity to a changing market and a changing world (which can translate to adaptability, but also to advocacy in the broadest and best sense)
Do your research! Check online for customer satisfaction ratings––impartial ones––and contact the companies you’re interested in beforehand to gauge their possibilities. After all, once you commit to a self-publishing company, you’re likely to be in close contact with them for quite a long time.
Now, someone might honestly point out that I work for one specific self-publishing company and therefore that I’m likely to view my own company in a favorable light, but here’s the thing: a great self-publishing company doesn’t need to be territorial. All a great self-publishing company needs to do is offer a good product––a great package––and a service that puts its clients first and advocates endlessly for them. The wonderful thing about the self-publishing industry is that at its core, it is a kind of fellowship of free (or freer) spirits who believe that the more voices that are heard, the more stories that are told, the better off we will all be. So I’m not just an advocate for one company; I’m an advocate for the whole movement!
These are just a few thoughts to get us started. What do you think makes for a great self-publishing company? Drop me a line in the comments section to join the conversation.
|ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 25 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Director of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.|