Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Over the last few months there has been a noticeable increase in online and magazine advertising regarding self-publishing services. This blitz has increased the curiosity of authors considering their options for publication. The increased interest in the possibility has significantly risen since Thomas Nelson and now Harlequin, have thrown their hats into the self-publishing arena.

Since these services have been more aggressively promoted, of late, more than what I would consider the average amount of inquiries have landed in my inbox. Most were questions pertaining to self-publishing in general. In particular, queries were regarding which self-publishing company I would recommend.

Because I do not want this site to become a place for endorsement (in this realm) I will continue to refrain from doing so. But, I would have been remiss if I had not taken the time to update my information. To that end I have interviewed a few of the new companies and re-interviewed some of the established ones as well. In doing so I am confident in reinforcing what has consistently been suggested on this site – know your business.

How does one come to that point? By having a WRITER’S PLAN!

I cannot stress strongly enough that writing is a business. Once you place the last punctuation on the page you must don your business hat. It is your business to understand as much as possible about the options of publication and the rules under which they operate.

Self-publishing,* rather, assisted self-publishing** can be a viable option. It can be viable if you know the pertinent questions to ask when interviewing*** perspective publishing assistants and if their practices align with your plan and budget. However, you will not know what is viable if you do not become knowledgeable by studying the industry.

Armed with industry knowledge you will be equipped to lay the foundation for your WRITER’S PLAN. That plan should include, but is not limited to the questions listed below to be asked of these companies and of yourself.

*Are they a publisher, printer or POD entity?
*Are they willing to take the time to go over each item in their offered package?
*Can they adequately break down their editing process?
*Do you know the level of editing necessary for your project?
*Is tiered editing included or offered at ala carte prices?
*If editing is additional, will they give you a precise breakdown of the charges?
*Do they charge by the word or by the page? (This is a big ticket item)
*Do they consistently suggest higher packages in order to give you what THEY feel you need?
*Do they suggest the lower priced package because you may not be that concerned about a few typos or grammatical errors?
*Do YOU know if fees charged are reasonable?
*Do YOU know what is considered unreasonable fees?
*Are your books returnable by bookstores?
*What is your right to take you book and walk if you are not satisfied with their services?
THE MASTER QUESTION: How much will it cost you to purchase inventory?

This list could go on and on, but I believe there is enough presented here to get you started.

What I cannot stress enough is not to allow the impatience of wanting to see your name in print override common sense. What you put out has your name on it. People will forgive a publisher but they will remember YOUR name on what they consider a substandard product. It is up to you to decide what YOUR name will stand for. That all begins with THE WRITER’S PLAN.

I close with reminding you that the words buyer beware are those that should be heeded. You will not  get everything we want out of every business transaction. However, you can minimize problems when you take the time to investigate all vendors considered for any aspect of your business. What will be your most valuable tool will be THE WRITER'S PLAN that you enlist to help bring your goal of publishing in the spirit of excellence to an expected end.

Until next time – Let us bear fruit that should remain -- Linda!

*Self/Independent Publishing – The author bears the full financial and production responsibility for bringing project to publication.

**Assisted Self-Publishing – The author pays a company with pre-set processes and prices to bring their project to what the company deems to be publication standard.

***Interview – As an author enlisting the help of another you are in the position of Chief Executive Officer. Who you enlist to help bring your dream to fruition, must be known by you. Any company or individual balking at, appearing annoyed with or unable to sufficiently answer your questions is not one you should entertain a working relationship with.


  1. Good post! I think as an add-on question, authors might consider not only are books returnable from the book stores but will they even be available there. Some POD "self-publishers" only make the books available on their website--and that is not where the book buyers are looking.

  2. I tend to agree with Sue, when I am ready to publish, it will only be availabe at amazon and createspace. its a shame there aren't more websites to accept new authors and make their books more available.
    the self publishing journey is intense and marketing gets even more intense. it's a great feeling to do all the work yourself, however marketing needs alot of research, and i can't stress this enough.
    thanks for the input.

  3. Thanks for posting, Linda. I'm still weighing all my options and will definitely be seeking you for advice.

  4. Thank you for stopping by Sue. Your observations are on point. Too often what most POD authors are limited to selling on their sites because the book is not returnable.


  5. Sue I first want to thank you for your comment. I would also like to ask if your marketing plan includes you have for promoting your book other than the two outlets you mentioned.


  6. Ty it is wise to weigh your options.

    The best advice I can give at this time is, don't be in a hurry.


  7. Wow, I'm happy I stumbled upon your site. This information has definately been an eye-opener. I'm an aspiring author and totally new to this industry. I completed my first novel and because of excitement and anxiety I rushed into an editing situation which turned out being the worst mistake I could have made. I paid upfront to a well-known editor with anticipation that I would get my manuscript back within eight weeks. It didn't happen. What did happen was that I had to threaten to sue in order to get my manuscript back after seven months, then I learned later on that I was well over charged. Not to mention, the service was horrible. From the beginning my plans were to self publish, I had not considered seeking a publishing company. Since then, I am definatley more careful and selective, but I am still unsure if I want to self publish or seek a publishing company.