Mark Levine : What to Seek in a Self-Publishing Company
What to Look for in a Self-Publishing Company
By Mark Levine
There are so many factors to take into consideration when choosing a self-publishing company, but the four most important ones are:
Today's article will show you how you can learn about a company's reputation among authors and industry watchdog groups. It also gives a brief outline of the basic terms an acceptable self-publishing contract must include (for a more complete discussion of self-publishing contracts, I encourage you to check out my book, The Fine Print of Self-Publishing).1. Good Reputation in the Self-Publishing Community
The reason I wrote The Fine Print was because no one was taking a close look at the contracts and services of the major self-publishing companies and performing any type of critical analysis. While my book is an excellent way to separate the wheat from the chaff of self-publishing, you also need to check out what other writers are saying.
Most publishers include testimonials on their web site from "satisfied" authors these are sugarcoated and even if they were true, I'd still dig further.
Don't ask the publisher for authors you can contact you'll only get the happy ones. Instead, go through the web site and pick out five authors to contact. Most publishers have a page on their web site for each author with the author's contact information. E-mail the authors and ask them about their experience with the publisher and whether they're satisfied with the publisher's level of services.
Don't stop there. Put your ear to the ground. There are web sites that do the sleuthing for you and provide warnings about shady publishers.
Before you sign a contract with any self-publishing company, demand a copy of the contract (most companies offer it on the website). If a publisher refuses to give you a copy, find another publisher.
When you review the contract, you need to make sure the contract contains at least the following provisions:
A complete discussion of the specifics of these types of clauses can be found in The Fine Print of Self-Publishing. But, if you don't buy the book, at least read The Author's Bill of Rights. If a self-publishing company can't or won't meet the requirements set forth in the Author's Bill of Rights look for another publisher.
The discussion on contract terms in this article is very cursory. I strongly encourage you to read the Fine Print or find other information on publishing contracts. It's advisable to have a lawyer review any contract before you sign it.
In the second part of this article, there will be a detailed discussion of how self-publishing companies calculate royalties and printing costs. Both of these are critical factors in determining how much an author will make on each book sold, the retail price of the book, and how much the author pays for individual copies of his/her book. •
© 2006 Mark Levine
Mark Levine is the author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, which analyzes and ranks the contracts and services of 48 major self-publishing companies. More »