Don’t Be Unprofessional

One extremely important thing any small publisher or independently published author wants to do is to attract business (i.e., book buyers). To do this, one must be able to secure media interviews, glowing book reviews, awards, and positive coverage on the Internet. To In order to accomplish this, one must look and act professional.


Looking and acting professional means sending an image that says that you know what you are doing. In other words, your books, website, and communications with people (media, personnel in the book industry, and customers) are in line with what is standard for the industry.

Here are a few things that you can do to make yourself or your publishing company look unprofessional:

  • No physical contact information (phone and address) on your website.
  • Sending out a review copy that is signed by the author to a name other than the person receiving the book.
  • Sending an uncorrected proof of a book as part of your submission for a book award.
  • Poor cover design and/or interior layout of your book.
  • Having a business card with a printing company’s name or advertisement on the back.
  • Basic typographical errors in books and press releases.

A few of you are going to say to yourself as you read this, “You have got to be kidding. People actually do this?”

Yes, they do. As the Director of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA), I have personally encountered each of these from publishers and independently published authors.

No one wants to do business with individuals who are not professional. Please do both yourself and other small publishers and authors a favor.So, don’t do these things. Not only do you make yourself look bad, your actions also reflect poorly on all the other small publishers and independently published authors who are trying to be professional and make a place for their books in the marketplace.

If you publish Christian books, one more piece to take into consideration is that being unprofessional can reflect negatively on the name of Christ. Remember, not everyone you do business with will be a Christian.

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1 thought on “Don’t Be Unprofessional

  1. Here’s another one I’ve come across from a small publisher – send out a review copy of an ebook that is password-protected so the reviewer (me) can’t read it.

    If a publisher really is worried about piracy, then watermark the ebook (“Reviewer copy provided for Joe Bloggs ( Thanks for reviewing and not copying!” above each chapter heading).

    However, I’ve reviewed books for dozens of publishers (all publishing Christian fiction), and only one feels the need to do this. A password says to me that the publisher doesn’t trust the reviewer—but why would you seek a book review from someone you don’t trust?

    One thing I don’t mind as a reviewer is for the publisher to acknowledge this is the unproofed version of the book. That allows me to overlook minor typos. But I do mention typos and editing errors in the final version of the book in my review if they affect my reading experience.


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