Do Your Research

While attending the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) this summer, I had the opportunity to speak to a number of authors. Some of these authors were ones that had chosen to use a subsidy publishing house to self-publish their books.

A subsidy publishing house is one that charges the author to publish a book. This type of publishing house makes their money off of publishing books (paid by the author), not selling books.

Here are a few things these authors shared with me:

“I would not go with that publishing firm again. Next time I think I will do the publishing myself.”

“The publishing house I used did not offer me distribution for my book.”

“The publishing house I used gave me a great distribution package price and they don’t charge restocking fees for returned books.”

When I heard the last statement, I hated to be the one to break the news to this author. But I did. I told this author that not charging a restocking fee for returned books was not a novel thing.

Any company can do what this publishing house did— make what they offer sound good to someone who does not know better. At Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) we could advertise that if you join the association, you get our monthly newsletter for free!

Sounds good doesn’t it? Sure it does. However, it is standard practice for associations to offer their newsletter free to their members.

Jane Friedman, former publisher of Writer’s Digest, recently said, “Unfortunately, many people seeking help are not well-informed, don’t have the patience to research their options, and end up writing a big check to someone to make the headache go away.”

Do your research before you spend your money. Whether you are looking to buy printing, distribution, design or marketing services, talk to a couple of companies and other publishers or authors to find out what is usual and customary.

Learn what is standard and what is not. That way you won’t think you are getting a stellar deal when you are not.

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