You’ve decided to self-publish your book but are confused about where to start. That’s a reasonable cause for confusion because there’s a lot of information out there to digest. To get you moving in the right direction, here are a few questions to consider while “shopping” for a publisher:
- What percentage of your royalties will you receive? As a self-publishing author, you are entitled to ALL of your money. After all, your sales are a direct reflection of all of your efforts. Your best bet is to work with a book publisher that pays you 100% of your royalties.
- What are you paying for as a part of your publishing package? Some publishers will charge you for “fluff”. Look at what you’re paying for with your package. If you are seeing things included in the price such as Copyright Registration or Library of Congress numbers, be sure these are things you feel you need. Your book is automatically protected under copyright law once written/published, and the Library of Congress number is no longer needed to get your book into most public libraries across the country.
- Are you able to set your own price without paying an extra fee? This one gives me the most pause. There are some self-publishing companies out there that charge you extra fees to set your own price. Be cautious when working with companies that charge such a fee (or worse yet — don’t allow you to set your own price at all), because you can be certain they will be inflexible with other things related to your book as well, such as royalties (see above).
- Will you be able to exercise full creative freedom when publishing your book? Why pay a company to publish your book if you will be as limited as authors who publish using “traditional” publishing houses? If you’re giving up your creative freedom, be sure you are getting paid for your book and not the other way around.
- What is the upfront cost of publishing your book? Different companies have different pricing structures. Prices can range from around $200 up to and over $10,000. There are two keys for making a decision on price — perceived value and budget (in that order). While I don’t recommend making decisions based on price, your budget is your budget. A phenomenal publishing package is no good if you can’t afford to purchase it. Keep in mind, the self-publishing industry is so dynamic that the cliché, “you get what you pay for”, isn’t always accurate. Some publishers may charge more for their services but offer a terrible result. Be very careful here.
There are many other things to look for when deciding on a publisher for your book, but these were the ones that top the list as far as importance. Your best bet for getting started is to enlist the services of a Publishing Consultant who can show you the ropes. Only then can you make an educated decision in choosing the “right” self-publishing company for you.
DISCUSSION: What are the top things you look for in a publisher?