“Would you please put up a list of questions authors should ask publishers?”

“Would you please put up a list of questions authors should ask publishers?”

Q – 

Angela,

Thanks for the warning about “Christian” publishers. Would you please put up a list of questions to ask a publisher, “Christian” or non-Christian? Would you also give authors a range of fair prices for certain publishing services? For example, cover designs can range up to $2000. Having concrete information would equip authors to better evaluate publishing companies.


A – 

COVER DESIGN

Paying $2000 (or anything close to that) for cover design is WAY TOO MUCH!! You can get your own AFFORDABLE, original book cover design RIGHT HERE. Best of all, you’ll own all rights to the file. Almost every publishing service now claims all rights to their authors’ production files. (BookLocker does NOT!).

FAIR PRICING TO GET YOUR BOOK PUBLISHED

As far are fair pricing, you really need to consider what you need to simply get your book on the market. Why spend thousands of dollars up-front, before you even have a book available for people to buy?

Many publishing services now upsell authors on so many ridiculous products and services that their heads start to spin. And, I believe almost none of those services result in enough book sales to pay for said product or service.

My advice is this. Get your book on the market for the lowest price possible, but with a company that has an excellent reputation. If you sign up with one of the “big guys” in the industry, you’ll be spammed and telemarketed to Kingdom Come. Avoid those at all costs. There’s a reason they charge so much up front and that’s because they know they’re not going to make much money on book sales later.

Once your book is on the market, if you don’t want to do the promotion yourself, you’ll have a variety of companies to choose from. Never assume that you must pay your publisher to promote your book. Believe me…their prices are going to be far higher than is necessary for those services. I think that they assume authors will automatically sign up for their marketing services so, like used car salesmen, they give their authors the (grossly inflated!) friends and family special price.

How much should you spend? For a black-and-white-interior book, with interior formatting/conversion, cover design, ISBN, barcode, full distribution, listing on Amazon, etc., etc. I don’t recommend paying more than $875. And, you might qualify for a discount off of that to boot!

QUESTIONS TO ASK A PUBLISHER BEFORE SIGNING UP

  1. How long have you been in business? (If less than 10 years, avoid that company.)
  2. Do you have an overseas call center? (If yes, avoid that company.)
  3. Will I have direct access to the company’s owner if I have questions or concerns? (If no, avoid that company.)
  4. Will I have one person, and only one, to contact during the publishing process? (If no, avoid that company.)
  5. Has your firm ever been sued by any of its authors? (If yes, avoid that company.)
  6. Has your firm ever been involved in a class-action lawsuit? (If yes, DEFINITELY avoid that company.)
  7. Has your firm ever made a late royalty payment to any author? (If yes, avoid that company.)
  8. Do you call authors on the phone for special promotions? (If yes, avoid that company.)

And, again, I always recommend avoiding firms that use Christ’s name in their pursuit of profits!

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