Self - Publishing - Things To Look For, Part One

by Roland Cavanaugh - Date: 2007-04-02 - Word Count: 462 Share This!

This article contains information helpful to those who decide to self publish their own book. There are certain things that should be included in the package offered.

First: Do you retain the rights to the work? Whereas in traditional publishing, the author must often release the rights to the book back to the publisher, in self-publishing, this should never be the case. It is true that the publisher will receive part of each book's sale, plus the up-front costs included with your publishing package. But the rights to the work should be yours at the beginning…and for the life of the work. If the publisher does not state this clearly in writing, you probably need to look elsewhere. It is your work. Though you are willing to give the publisher its share of the sale, the right of the work itself should never leave your hands.

Second: What are the royalties? This is a potentially tricky area. As we stated in the first article, some Internet investigation is probably prudent. Look for sites that spell out the pros and cons of the company. One of the cons may be limited royalties. You will be paying for the production of the book up front. The last thing you need is to learn that not only has the company gotten that fee, but they also take what seems an unfair amount from the sale of the book to boot. What is a fair royalty? That is up to debate. But somewhere between two and five dollars per book seems reasonable. There are companies that give that type of royalty, but you will need to look at the fine print. Another thing to consider is if the higher royalties are only for books sold from their company's website bookstore. That leads to the third issue.

Third: What type of distribution does the company have? If the company only offers sales through their website, beware. You did not pay your hard earned money to them only to have such limited exposure. Remember, they have already been paid. Unless they offer distribution through the main Internet markets, you probably need to steer clear. Most reputable self-publishing companies will include distribution through Amazon and Barnes and Noble's sites at the least. Even with a reduced retail price for the book, you should sell more books and make up the difference with wider distribution.

Fourth: Is the finished physical product something you would be proud of? Order a couple of books from the site that you are considering using. Some companies will send you a sample for a reduced price. If the book is not extremely comparable to traditionally produced books, then you should look elsewhere.

In the next article, we will continue our discussion of things to look for in a self-publishing package.

Related Tags: writing, book, books, write, writer, publish, self publish, self publishing, publising, pod, print on demand

Roland Cavanaugh is on staff at a large church serving as the Pastor of Congregational Care and Sr. Adults. He has self-published a book about his late father, "For As Long As I Can." You can find ordering information at

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