There are lots of online articles and insider tips telling you how to find the right self-publishing company for your book. And it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting into and how much help and guidance you can expect from the publisher.
But have you considered what you DON’T need from a self-publishing company?
Obviously, no author needs—or wants—a high-pressure, slick-talking sales rep breathing down his or her neck while promising the moon in sales and glory. You want a company that will treat you as a partner on your self-publishing journey…not like just another sales commission check. Here’s what else you should watch out for:
Seven Things Writers Do Not Need From Their Self-Publishing Company
Reading fees. Whether it’s a self-publisher, traditional publisher, or literary agent, you should never have to pay someone to read your work.
Fake flattery and pie-in-the-sky promises. Your book may actually be “amazing!” but a good self-publishing company won’t praise you excessively to get your business. And watch for emotional ploys like: “After all your hard work, you DESERVE to be published” or “We’ll make you rich!”
Remember: Some writers do get rich. But many don’t. Don’t fall for fake promises.
Misleading or confusing websites. An aboveboard publisher clearly lists costs and services on its website. A substandard self-publishing company will often have vague and confusing website information so that they can tack on extra costs later.
Tip: An FAQ section on the self-publishing company’s website is a good sign; transparency is key in this industry.
Sketchy contracts. Before you sign any publishing contract, be sure to read the fine print and watch for these red flags. Your hard work AND your royalties are on the line!
Pricey marketing bundles. Selling you marketing bundles is how self-publishing companies can make a small fortune. Many new authors will be convinced by their sales reps that the more marketing services they purchase, the better their sales will be.
And there’s some truth to that: Nowadays, even traditionally published authors have to market their own books. You should definitely have an author website, promote your book on your social media, set up book signings and readings, etc.
But there is no guaranteed “this will sell thousands of copies” way to market your book. Or “this will get you into every library in the country” listings. Yes, you can send out press releases, postcards, and galley letters. You can be in a book-buyer catalog or on a listing for librarians to consider—but that does not mean retailers or librarians will choose your book. These marketing efforts may help, but don’t let a self-publishing company convince you that becoming a bestseller is guaranteed.
And check out Self-Publishing Relief’s Four-Step Marketing Plan for promotional strategies you can do yourself.
Purchase requirements: Many indie authors end up with self-publishing companies that require them to buy thousands of copies of their own work…if they have the garage space. Look for companies that offer a print-on-demand (POD) model with an offset option for higher print runs so you don’t end up with an attic full of unsold books.
Copyright tricks. A shady self-publisher might scare you with the “intricacies” of getting an ISBN and/or a copyright for your book—and then charge a hefty fee to take care of this for you. But both are easy to obtain on your own, for a fraction of the cost. And if you’d still rather hand over the task of acquiring an ISBN to someone with more experience, your self-publishing company should assist you at a reasonable cost. Self-Publishing Relief doesn’t charge any additional fee beyond the actual cost of the ISBN.
At Self-Publishing Relief, we know that indie authors who do their homework are less likely to go through disheartening and/or expensive publishing experiences. We recommend you type the name of the company you’re considering into a search engine and read what other authors have to say. If you’re investigating a questionable self-publishing company, your fellow writers might be your best defense.
And Self-Publishing Relief is always here to guide you through every step of the self-publishing process. Schedule a consultation call today to learn how we can help!
Question: What would you say is the number one thing writers do not need from their self-publishing company?