3 Questions to Ask Your Self-Publishing Service

110816-champagneYour book is finally done and it’s time to start looking at your publishing options. Yippee! I give you full permission to break out the champagne and celebrate. You’ve earned it!

And now back to business…

Some quick statistics to put your mind at ease about self-publishing:
(these are all about eBooks – but that’s okay!)

  • The Big Five traditional publishers now account for only 16% of the e-books on Amazon’s bestseller lists.
  • Approximately 1,064,000 Kindle eBooks are sold per day
  • 42% of all those books are independently (i.e. self) published

And the last stat you might be interested in… the “Big Five” traditional publishing houses are dwindling. What started out as the “Big Seven” when I started my publishing journey has changed. The Internet seems to be torn right now as to if they’re the Big Five or the Big Four but one fact remains: self-publishing (indie publishing) is taking over.

Is traditional publishing dead? New stats show that self-publishing is taking over! #publishing Share on X

Whew! Now that we’ve covered that, I firmly believe that while you can self-publish your book, that doesn’t mean you should take the DIY route. Self-publishing means that you, the author, retain control of the rights, the marketing, and major publishing decisions. You can retain this control without learning how to code eBooks or set up beautiful layouts for print books!

When you’re choosing a company to help you self-publish your book, there are three things you need to evaluate before signing a contract and making a payment.

1. Editing

110816-editsIt’s the utmost rudeness to your reader if you don’t have your book professionally edited before publishing. Let me say that one more time:

Pay. For. Professional. Editing.

I don’t care how good you are or how many times you’ve read your book, there are errors that you’ve gone blind to. You need to pay (yes PAY) for a professional to edit the manuscript.

#1 thing after your book is done: Pay for professional editing! Share on X

This can be done as part of the publishing package (this is what I do; a round of copy edits) or done separately. When you’re evaluating your publishing partner, ask what, if any, editing they offer. Not all self-publishing companies offer editing (and not all editing is created equal) so you want to make sure that you’ve got an editing plan in place.

2. Rights

As a self-published author, YOU retain all rights to your book. If the publishing partner you’ve chosen has a contract that says anything different (like they have the rights for three years) then this is not a company you want to be using. They’re not actually a self-publishing partner, they’re a Vanity Press.

Run away.

You want to retain all rights to your book. That way, if you’re ever approached by a traditional publisher, a movie producer, etc. you have the rights to your work so you can enter into an agreement.

3. Commissions

110816-commissionLet’s face it, Amazon’s payment terms are pretty sweet: up to 70% of the list price of your eBook, directly deposited, monthly, into your bank account. Of course, there is fine print around that, but at its heart, it’s awesome.

So if the self-publishing partner is taking a cut from your book sales, that’s not a great deal. If the commissions are paid directly to them and then you’re paid later… not a good deal. You should be hiring this “publisher” as a service only. You’re paying them to format your book and get it ready for publishing. If they load it to Amazon (or any other online retailer) then the account should be in YOUR name with YOUR tax information.

Think of it this way:

You pay somebody to detail your car. They take it away filthy and they bring it back clean. Maybe you pick it up from the car wash or maybe they park it in your garage for you (the difference between handing you back a manuscript READY to be published and creating your publishing accounts and loading it for you.)

Regardless, it’s still your car – they have no rights to drive it whenever they want!

That’s what you’re paying for: somebody to clean up your manuscript and get it ready to be published. Not to make money from your sales.

Publishing books is one of my favorite parts of my business. I call myself a publisher but the bottom line is, I’m not, actually. I don’t buy rights, I don’t take commissions on book sales, and I don’t run any author’s commissions through my account. I do all the work FOR you – so you don’t have to.

One other thing I’d like to mention:

All these services that help you publish your books have contract or an agreement that you sign. Don’t just sign (or click!) but read that thing! Personally, I suggest that you have your attorney take a look at it – it’s worth the investment in legal fees!

If you’re ready to have that conversation about publishing your book, I’d love to chat with you! Apply for a Discovery Session.

P.S. Here are the citations for those statistics above!

Kim Galloway
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