There are lots of snakes in the Print on Demand (POD) industry. And, while most companies charge too much, way too much, there are a few that offer good services at reasonable prices. And, some of those even offer pretty good customer service! I thought it would be fun this week to come up with a list of “Best Practices” for the POD industry.
I’d love it if you’d send me items you’d like us to consider adding to this list! Email me at: angela-at-writersweekly.com.
“BEST PRACTICES” FOR THE POD INDUSTRY
DON’T CHARGE MORE THAN $750 TO DESIGN A COVER *AND* FORMAT A BOOK FILE
Getting a quality book on the market with a professional cover (not a template!) shouldn’t cost more than a few hundred dollars. Anything over $750.00 is too much.
DON’T TAKE RIGHTS FROM AUTHORS!
POD publishers should never, ever, ever claim ownership of files that authors have paid them to produce!
Many POD publishers tell some pretty tall tales on their websites. With a few choice words, they can make one thing sound like something it absolutely is not. Some blatantly claim they charge less than any other POD publisher when they don’t. Other claim they pay the “highest royalties” when they don’t. Don’t believe everything you read. If it sounds too good to be true, well, you know…
DON’T LOCK AUTHORS INTO A LONG-TERM CONTRACT
The only reason a publisher would charge someone to publish a book, and then lock them into a long-term contract, is to force an author to keep sending book buyers there. We call this a forced marriage. For the author who later lands a traditional contract, but must turn it down because of their POD publisher’s greed, this can be professional suicide. Why would anyone do this to a hopeful author? And, beware of the POD publisher that will only allow authors out of their contract “for a fee.”
DON’T NICKEL AND DIME AUTHORS WITH HIDDEN FEES
Don’t draw authors in with a special “low” price and then nickel and dime them for every graphic / photo / chart, or if they want to include an index / table of contents / etc.
PUBLISH A BOOK IN 6 WEEKS OR LESS WITH NO EXPEDITE FEE
Lots of POD publisher are running what appear to be author meat markets. They have so much business that they can’t get a book to market in less than a 4-6 months…unless you pay them extra, of course. Hmmm… A quality POD publisher should be able to get a book to market in six weeks or less without demanding extra money (expedite fees) from the author.
DON’T STUN AUTHORS WITH OUTRAGEOUS LIST PRICE INCREASES
POD publisher should not raise list prices, on average, more than the cost of living increase each year and they should give authors plenty of notice when doing so!
DON’T SUBJECT THE AUTHOR TO FORCED UPSELLING
Many POD publishers offer authors services they don’t want or need, and force them to pay for those as part of a “package.” If you don’t want 25 so-called “free” copies, or 100 cheap bookmarks, or a press release, or editing, or other items you know are built into the package price just so you can get full distribution through Ingram, which isn’t offered as a stand-alone product, why should you be forced to pay for those items? Why can’t they just offer you an