We know how difficult it can be deciding between self publishing companies. Self publishing costs can be elusive on most sites to track down – but not at Dog Ear Publishing.
Are all self-publishing companies the same? Self-publishing companies are only the same in the fact that we all use almost the exact same technologies to print books. Each company has a unique approach to the market, and a distinct personality. Below are what we feel to be the most important factors in choosing a self-publisher.
Self Publishing Contract: It is imperative that you retain all rights to your book, and that you are able to terminate your agreement with the publishing company at any time, and without penalty. The author contract should be short and easy to understand. It should never have a “duration” that locks you into keeping your book with the self publishing company. Beware the self publisher that pays you a single dollar to retain the rights to your book for years. You should own every single piece of the process, from copyedited manuscript to the files used to print your book; and you should be able to get them at any time, not just after canceling your contract. Ask this question: Do I own the files used to print my book and will they be supplied to me at the end of the production process? Our contract is right here.
Retail Price: Can you set your own retail? Does the publisher force you into ridiculously high retail prices? (See our page on setting your Retail Pricing here.) A book with an artificially high retail price cannot possibly succeed in the market. Do you control the discount offered to retailers and wholesale accounts? Chains, big retail outlets, and wholesalers often want at least a 50% discount. Make sure the self publishing company isn’t giving you a more aggressive retail price by artificially reducing the wholesale discount to the trade. Your book needs to be priced competitively with other books in your category.
Author Book Costs: What is YOUR cost to buy your own book from the self publishing company? Is it a discount from retail price? That’s the WORST possible scenario – since it gives the publisher an incentive to set the retail price higher. The author’s cost to purchase books from the self publishing company should be a fixed price – not a discount from the retail price. Does the self publisher offer reasonable per unit print prices? Furthermore, can they offer OFFSET PRINTING (also called “traditional printing”) services? Most self-publishing companies do not offer offset solutions.
Author Profit: Some call it ROYALTY, we call it a NET SALES PAYMENT. Regardless of name, it’s the amount you receive from each book sale. Be careful of any self publishing company that gives a huge profit but forces unreasonable retail prices on your book. It makes no sense to get a “50%” royalty on a book that will never sell. Also watch for royalties that are increased by REDUCING your WHOLESALE DISCOUNT to booksellers. If no store will buy it, what’s the point of a royalty? Final note – on what is the royalty paid? Most often it’s paid on the NET SALE, not the Retail Price. This begs the question – why shouldn’t you get all the profit from a sale? Why should the self publishing company get even more profit when you sell your book for a higher price? Their costs are fixed – it’s the same to them to print and distribute a 100 page book that retails for $10 as a 100 page book that retails for $50! Look for a publishing company that pays you based upon a ‘fixed cost’ basis – and who forwards all the remaining profit to you.