Five Questions to Ask Yourself before Chossing a Publisher

Five Questions to Ask Yourself before Chossing a Publisher

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  1. I began my writing career 24 years ago, at a time when life was simpler. Not many people owned computers, and writers did their research at the local library. Only a daring few attempted to write a book for publication, and only one route existed—the road to the traditional publishing house.

    Today that’s all changed. We live in a world of choices. Our society demands the best products and services for the least amount of money, time, and effort. And publishing is no exception. In order to understand the process better and make the right decisions the first time, ask yourself the following questions before selecting a publisher:

    1. What are my intentions? Do you want to a) sell your book online to family, friends, and colleagues plus create your own marketing campaign for more aggressive sales b) market the book on a national level for sales on bookstore shelves? If you answer “a,” then self-publishing is the way to go. For “b” answers, try either getting an agent, querying a traditional small press, or a combination of both. You can re-publish a self-published book by changing the name, some of the text, getting a new ISBN number (that’s another article), and finding the right traditional press. Self-publishing is quick and easy (a few months). Traditional publishing will take at least a year, in order to line up book reviewers, have them read and write reviews, and submit the information to publications, such as Publishers Weekly.


    1. Is my book salable? This question is probably the one authors spend the least amount of time thinking about, yet it appears to be the most important question of all. You will need outside opinions from professionals in the field—not your best friend’s sister. Listen to what they have to say. All authors believe their book is salable. The truth is, many are not. For those who hire an agent to represent them, a major publishing house will accept only 2%, while 98% are rejected. Those odds aren’t very encouraging. Yet, Steven King beat them and so did the author of the Harry Potter series–once her manuscript was retrieved from the trash.
    1. How will the book be marketed? This depends on the way you choose to publish it. In general, self-publishing companies make their revenue from your dollars. You pay to get published. Companies differ as far as the extent they will market your book. Ask questions and read all the fine print before signing anything. In general, self-publishers place their books in on-line bookstores, not on shelves. A traditional press will not charge you to publish your book and will do some of the marketing for you. They make their money from royalties. They place the books on actual bookshelves, as well as on-line. Either way, you may have to pay separately for editing and illustration and will be responsible for marketing; the extent will vary.
    1. Who is my audience? You must know to whom you are selling or marketing. A traditional publisher won’t take you on as an author, if a large enough audience for the book doesn’t exist. Even if you go the self-publishing route, you don’t want to dish out dollars if the book isn’t going to sell. Figure out whom you want to sell to and why they want to buy it.


    1. What is my budget and which is the best way to go? Most self-publishing companies will have different packages available to choose from. A lot of them run specials throughout the year. Regular rates vary from about $800 and up. will self-publish for free but doesn’t supply any copies. You need to purchase them, and that can quickly add up to a lot of money. Do your homework, and compare costs and features, including the quality of their printing. Request a sample if you can.

    Do as much research as you can before signing any papers or handing over any money. If the company is new or unfamiliar, search the Internet by combining the name of the company with the word, “scam” or “reviews” and see what pops up. That one action alone could you save you a lot of money and heartache later on. As the owner of A Flair For Writing – Publishing Services, I am determined to take a firm stand against the many scams and misleading claims that are rampant today in the publishing field. By doing so, I hope to provide authors with an affordable and legitimate alternative.


    TRADITIONAL                                                        SELF-PUBLISHING


     need to wait a year or more                                         quick and easy

     want to strike it rich                                                     not looking for huge sales

     encouraged by professionals                                        not critiqued by professionals

     believe authors should not have to                                willing to pay up-front costs –
         pay to get published                                                       including publishing, editing,
                                                                                              illustration, and marketing

     want books to be on shelves                                        okay with on-line bookstores        

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