Scouring and searching today’s leading search engines on the Web, any writer can find countless hundreds–if not thousands–of publishing options. Big or small, Christian or general market, self-publisher or royalty publisher… the options seem endless.
How is a writer to know which publisher is best? Which will provide all the services you need?
Here is a practical checklist any writer can use to ensure your book is published with the absolute best.
Commitment to Quality
Anyone can offer something cheap and fast. It works perfectly for those who are in a hurry and need to swing through a drive-through for a quick burger. But the average author invests considerably more time, effort, and energy in to their message than spur-of-the-moment dinner planners.
Just as an author pours heart and soul into a book, a publisher must passionately care about the publishing process. Here are some key points to make sure your publisher meets this standard:
- The focus is upon high quality over cheap or rock bottom prices.
- The publisher educates its authors about the proper amount of time for a book it takes to be published rather than offering a “rush” turn-around for every project.
- Quality control standards ensure every aspect of the book is created properly and mistakes are caught and avoided.
- Comprehensive and professional editing is offered, including services such as copy editing, substantive editing, and proofreading.
- Industry professional editors are on staff. One quick way to determine a publisher’s commitment to quality is the amount of detail placed in the book editing process.
Publishing Packages: Like Buying a Car or a Toaster?
Amazon® has become a hub for buying anything and everything. With one-click shopping, you can outfit your entire kitchen within a few minutes. But when was the last time your were browsing on Amazon® and added a Toyota® Corolla® to your shopping cart?
In the same manner, publishing packages should never be quickly added to an online shopping cart.
Every book project is unique. If you want a quality product, you’ll need to seek professional advice. Keep an eye out for the following:
- Phone support and consultation is offered before you pay anything.
- Expert advice is given as to why a particular package fits your book.
- Higher print-run packages offer custom quoting tailored to your project.
Examples: the Proof is in the Pudding
In terms of finding which publisher is up to snuff, the old saying, “the proof is in the pudding” fits exceptionally well.
It’s all too easy in today’s Internet-driven world for so-called publishers to create a website, provide some basic information on the publishing process, and then happily charge your credit card. They may display awards, trophies, and merit badges, but what you really should look for are examples that display the quality of the following:
- Cover Designs
- Print and Web Marketing
Substantial Services for Promotion and Advertising
An advanced copier machine is capable of printing a perfect-bound book. But publishing goes far beyond just the printing process. A publisher should partner with you to help you promote your book, as well.
Make sure the publisher offers the following services:
- Targeted and strategic marketing plans
- A wide range of marketing services such as website development, social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.), video promotions, and brand development consultations.
- Extensive publicity services reaching from local coverage to nationwide. (A simple printed press release does not classify as publicity.)
- Advertising opportunities with major magazines and websites that fit in your target market.
Reputation and Commitment to Excellence
In the “olden days,” when the number-one form of gathering information was the newspaper, it was difficult to know which merchants were reputable, and which were not. With the Internet, you can learn from trustworthy and reliable sources such as the Better Business Bureau® online, which businesses are truly upfront, helpful, and honest about their work.
You deserve evidence that your publisher has a solid reputation.
Continuing our checklist, the publisher should:
- Provide details about their staff, offices, and about why they are a reputable company.
- Be accredited with the Better Business Bureau®, and have an excellent rating.
- If they have the BBB logo on their site, they have a clear link to the Reliability Report describing in detail their ranking and history with the BBB.
- Include reliable testimonials from authors who share their experience with the publisher.
Dig into the Research!
Check websites, click links, read between the lines, make phone calls, and compare publishers to find which is the best fit for your book. In the end, it’s worth the extra time and effort it takes to find publisher that offers everything you need to succeed. Just as the work invested into writing your book was valuable, so is the time spent finding and selecting your publisher.
The same applies to becoming a writer, hard work will always win out in the end:
“Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer.”
Know Someone Who’s Looking to Publish?
If you know someone who’s looking to publish, or who’s been struggling to find a publisher that meets their goals as an author, pass on this article. This checklist could save an author from the heartache of choosing a publisher more interested in “one more through the door,” than helping each author successfully share his or her message.
Download the Free Checklist PDF
To assist in the publisher-selection process, download your free copy of the Publishing with Confidence checklist. Recapping the information listed in this article, this checklist makes a handy tool as you find which publisher is right for you.
Let Us Know What You Think!
Feedback, experiences, and tips from our readers are just a few of the ways we continue to deliver you with the best publishing industry advice, tutorials, and news. In the Comments area, please let us know what you thought about the article, any information you would like to share, or what you would like to see on future articles from WinePress of Words.
At WinePress of Words, we’re always looking for ways to pass on experience and guidance in the publishing industry for new and seasoned writers alike. With this, you may also enjoy these articles on publishing: