Caravan Sonnet: 10 Tips for Successfully Choosing a Self-Publishing Company for Your Book (or E-Book)

2/5/16

10 Tips for Successfully Choosing a Self-Publishing Company for Your Book (or E-Book)

One of the most asked questions that I receive from people is about publishing a book. So today I wanted to share 10 tips on successfully choosing a self-publishing company for your book (or e-book). I will be sharing more thoughts on getting a book contract in the coming weeks. As most of y'all know I have actually done both traditional publishing (accepting a contract from a book publishing company) and have also independently published my book using Amazon's CreateSpace website. I hope that these tips will help y'all as you embark on this exciting adventure!

If you are looking for other posts that I have done on writing and publishing tips you can find them HERE or in the links below:




(1) Take time to decide who you are going to publish your book (or e-book) with
There are so many different ways to self publish your book/e-book and you want to pick the self-publishing option that works best for you. As I mentioned above I chose to go with CreateSpace because I felt that it was the best fit for me currently. For an upcoming book that I am independently publishing I am still exploring all different options. If you want to successfully choose a self-publishing company for your book/e-book make sure you really take the time to read through all of your different options. To be honest I probably spent over six months deciding and debating the pros and cons before I picked and am so happy that I took the time to do that.

 (2) Clarify what your goals are for your book. 
Understanding what your goals are will change the course of every step you take. For example: are you hoping to self-publish to ultimately become a full-time writer (and hopefully get noticed by a traditional publishing company)? Or are you hoping that your book will have a huge impact on a certain group of people? Has it simply been your dream to have a book published and you don't plan to write another one? Or are you hoping to hit the New York Times Best Seller List?

You may want to do all of these things, one of these things, or a combination, but you must spend the time to really consider what your goals are with your writing. In doing this you will then have a clear picture of not only the publishing direction you want to go in but will be able to easily decide the type of investment you want to make in your project. Having clear goals will help you make the thousands of decisions that you are going to encounter as you head down this road.

(3) Understand the Differences Between Print-On-Demand Companies and Self-Publishing Companies
First, for clarification, Print On Demand (or POD) is a system of book publishing in which copies of a book are not printed until an order has been received. This allows companies to print books singly or in small quantities. Many people find Print On Demand books a wonderful option for self-publishing (especially if it is your first time) as you can have the books printed as orders come in. Many first time authors like this option so that they don't have to buy a ton of their books and then store hundreds of books that they hoped they could sell. 

On the flip side of this is self-publishing where generally a company charges you an upfront fee and then handles all of the print-runs, shipping, etc. just like a traditional publishing company would do. You are responsible for paying for the books publication and production and your name (or the name of the publishing house you create) is listed as the publisher of the book. You also have the opportunity to decide with ease about ISBN information  and because you have control over everything you are the sole owner of all of your work and can market and sell as you please.

My best advice for self-publishing is like I mentioned in my first point- which is to do the research and decide what is best for you and what your goals are for your book. Both can be great options for authors depending on what your goals with your book are. 

(4) Consider the Cost Associated with Self-Publishing in deciding which Self-Publishing Company You Choose. 
What some wanna-be authors might not be aware of (and I surely was not until I got into this arena!) is that there are many self-publishing companies that can charge exorbitant amounts of money for their services and the money you spend is not always equal to the results that you were receive. I have had one friend who has paid almost $20,000 for their self-published book! Now, I am not criticizing this if you want to invest all of this money into your self-published book, but as I mentioned in my 20 Tips for Successfully Self-Publishing your Book (or E-book) post and in point #3 you will want to clarify what your goals are for your book and if you can spend that type of money. Other services are free but you might have to put in hundreds of hours to make sure that your book looks professional. Take the time to consider the costs associated with self-publishing in deciding which Self-Publishing Company You choose. 

(5) Consider what each company states is the lowest retail price that you can set for your book. 
Going along with tip #4- consider what each self-publishing company you are considering using states is the lowest retail price that you can set for your book. You want to make sure that your book can be competitively priced (especially if you are a first time author). It might be surprising to learn that sometimes a self-publishing company will control the retail price of your print book and can even set it so high that it doesn't match any of the other books in the same genre. Take the time to really explore this and believe me you will be grateful you did. If you hope to market your book at all you will want to have your book price be a competitive feature. 

(6) Research the reputation (and reviews) of the Self-Publishing Company you are Considering Working With.
Every single company that you look up will have reviews of unhappy authors, but sort through the complaints to really get a sense of which ones are legitimate and which ones are unrealistic. Take the time to really factor these into your decision as you may run into similar situations that others did. The reality is that some self-publishing companies are in the middle of some lawsuits and you will want to investigate this thoroughly before you jump on board with them. 

(7) Because self-publishing is easy everyone is doing it and you will need to work ten times harder to get your book noticed so compare which Self-Publishing Companies can help you market the most.
 One of the important things to keep in mind is that because it is "easy to publish" everyone and their mother is publishing a book. If you are looking to build a reputation for writing, create a writing portfolio, etc. you are going to want to spend the time to make sure that your book is unique, has an interesting view point, and looks professional and that the self-publishing company you choose will help you accomplish your goal. You will need to work ten times as hard to make sure that your book is getting noticed. The reality is that leaders in the industry say that less than 5% of self-published books are "decent" and less than 1% are actually "good". This is an incredibly low number and you want to make sure that you are working towards hitting this number and that the company you choose to self-publish with is only going to help increase your marketability not hinder it.

(8) Consider the Author Price of Your Book from Each Company.
Take the time to consider what each company will charge you for the author price of your book (or the price that you pay per copy). As a self-published author you will most likely be buying lots of books and giving them away to reviewers, friends and family, bloggers, school visits, reselling them at readings, making them available to sell on your social media sites, etc. Because of this you will want to make sure that the self-publishing company you choose allows you to purchase your books (and sell them) at a reasonable price. 

Similar to tip #5, you will want to make sure that your self-publishing company is not pricing your book so high so that your author copy is astronomical. Some self-publishing companies will offer to give their authors only a 20-30% discount off of the book price, while others will only charge a 10-20% markup of the actual printing costs. This is really really important to think through and consider so take the time to do your research on this before you commit to a self-publishing company. 

(9) Consider Additional Features that Each Self-Publishing Company Has including translation services, audio books, e-book platforms, etc. 
Remember how I shared in my 20 Tips for Successfully Self-Publishing your Book (or E-book) post how hard marketing is for a self-published book? Well because of this you will want to be as creative as possible in the packaging of your book and the different forms it can be available. Take the time to research the additional features that each self-publishing company has so that you can have this information for the future! As a side note: interestingly enough, experts in the field agree that having an audio book helps make your book more "credible".

(10) Explore What Royalties You Will Earn.
On each of the self-publishing websites you are considering, take the time to explore the retail pricing and the royalties you will earn. (Oh, and please cancel out any of the companies that don't list this as an option on their website or state that you have to wait until your book is "reviewed" before they will give you this information. This is highly suspicious and unfortunately there are several of them!)

I hope these 10 tips are helpful y'all! What about you? Do you have an tips for successfully choosing a self-publishing your book (or e-book)? I would love to hear them! 

14 comments:

  1. You are amazing. I needed this. Did you do all the marketing yourself? And your book covers?

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    1. Thanks so much for your sweet comment friend! I am actually going to do several posts in the upcoming weeks on marketing so I will save that REALLY LONG answer for those posts if that is okay? If you have any specific questions please let me know! :) A quick general answer is that it has depended on the book but the self published/independently published books you will do almost all of the marketing your self unless you hire a marketing team. :) I shared in another post that I do approximately 15-25 hours per book for marketing each week to make sure that my books "aren't forgotten". *smiles* As far as the book covers I have designed each one myself but some of the photographs are not mine("Praying through Lyme Disease" came from a provided cover from CreateSpace and as I shared in another post "Prayers for the Single Journey" came from my sweet friend Amanda, from Marshalls Abroad who gave me her photograph to use which was SO incredibly kind of her. She was such a blessing. The picture from "When Light Dawns" is mine and I designed the newest cover of "When Mercy Beckons".

      I hope that helps some!! :) Happy Monday!
      Warmly, Rebecca :)

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  2. This is great info. I wrote a book that I would like to share on my blog so dealing with all of this will be the next step!

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    1. Becky, that is awesome! Congratulations on writing a book!! Do you plan to share this on your blog alone? I know some bloggers have done this and it has been a wonderful experience for them!
      Thanks so much for stopping by and congrats again on your achievement!
      Blessings,
      Rebecca :)
      p.s. I would have loved to reply back directly to you by email but unfortunately you are a "no reply blogger". I hope to connect with you more in the future!

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  3. Yay, thank you so much for sharing this! This is definitely something I hope to do in the next year or two, so I love these tips! Thanks for sharing your expertise.

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    1. Erin,

      Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope that this post and the others written in the series will be helpful for you! Good Luck on this exciting adventure! It is a wild ride!!

      Blessings,
      Rebecca :)
      p.s. I would have loved to reply back directly to you by email but unfortunately you are a "no reply blogger". I hope to connect with you more in the future!

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  4. Wow, this is so helpful! Writing an ebook is on my list for the next year as well and I am definitely saving this to come back to when my brain isn't in a pregnancy fog and unable to process things like this. ;) Thanks for sharing all your secrets!

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    1. That is awesome Lauren!! Do you have a specific topic that you are planning to write about? Can't wait to hear more about it!! :) I hope that this post and the others in the series will be helpful for you whenever you embark on this exciting adventure!! :) Congratulations and I can't wait to read your book friend!!

      I hope you have a wonderful Monday and a wonderful week!
      Blessings,
      Rebecca :)

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  5. Thanks for sharing all this info with us.

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    1. You are welcome! Thanks for stopping by Sheena-Kay!

      I hope you have a wonderful week!
      Blessings,
      Rebecca :)

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  6. Wow this is such perfect timing for me. I am hoping to launch mine this summer but ready to get it all into form now! Thanks! Pinning for reference as I go :)

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    1. That is awesome! :)

      Congratulations for being at the launch phase of your book!! What is your book about? I hope that this post and the others that have been written in the series will be a help for you! Congratulations again!!!

      Blessings, Rebecca :)
      p.s. I would have loved to reply back directly to you by email but unfortunately you are a "no reply blogger". I hope to connect with you more in the future!

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  7. Good tips! I'll have to keep these in mind. My husband and I are both toying with the idea of writing a book or putting out an ebook. This will come in handy!

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    1. That is awesome Kari!! Is there a specific subject that y'all are thinking about writing about? :) I hope that this post and the others that I have written before and that are coming up will be helpful in your endeavor!!

      Happy Monday! I hope you have a wonderful week!
      Blessings,
      Rebecca :)

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