Self-publishing companies are not all created equal. Before you choose a self-publishing company, I highly recommend that you set aside time to think about your goals for your book. (The PLAN Your Book e-Guide is designed to help you thing through and write down your book goals.)
After you have a clear vision for what you want to happen with your published book, you will have a better idea of what you will need in a self-publishing company.
If you are going to hire a self-publishing company instead of doing the work on your own or managing a team of freelancers, then it would be wise to make sure they offer the following services:
- Editing services,
- Book cover design and layout services (if you want to include photos, make sure they allow it),
- ISBN assignment,
- LCCN assignment,
- Copyright registration,
- Bowker Books-in-Print registration,
- Ingram distribution (access to bookstores and most book resellers)
- Baker& Taylor (access to libraries and academic institutions)
- BarnesandNoble.com (optional)
- Amazon.com (absolutely mandatory)
- Author website (the better ones allow you to control the page and have a custom domain)
The following are a list of additional services that they may or may not have. If they do, I recommend you do some comparison shopping to get the best value on these items:
- Book reviews
- Press Release Creation
- Promotional Text Creation (includes author biography and book description)
- Book Marketing Kit (it usually includes 500 postcards, 500 bookmarks, and 500 business cards)
- Virtual Book Tour
- Author Platform Setup (setup on social media networks)
- Sell Sheets (visually appealing promotional sheets with an introduction, book cover, author picture, book summary and author biography that is usually given to bookstores or other book re-sellers to help them sell your book.)
- Book signing event planning
Are self-publishing companies connected to traditional publishers better?
Any company that is tied to a major publisher often brags that their manuscripts are reviewed by the traditional publisher and has the chance of being picked up by that company if your sales do well. This is true. But you can achieve the same outcome if you publish with a company that is not tied to a major publisher, and then submit your manuscript to a company like Bowker Manuscript Submissions.com for $99 to have the chance to have it reviewed by any publishing company.
There are critics who say that manuscript submission services are not proven to be more effective than other submission methods, but neither is publishing with a self-publishing arm of a traditional publisher for the sole purpose of having a chance to be seen. Neither is exactly a scam, but neither offers guarantees.
Writer’s Relief is a manuscript subscription company that takes the time to learn your book and uses their 20+ years of expertise to help pitch your book to specific literary agents who are most likely to represent your work, and unlike Bowker’s Submission service, I have read success stories about their service.
For company specific reviews and company ratings, visit TheIndependentPublishingMagazine.com. This website reviews all of the majors self-publishing companies in the industry.
Why do you think there are traditional publishing companies with self-publishing divisions?