A Publisher for Your Book – How to Choose One

publisher-for-your-book-300x164How to Choose a Publisher for Your Book

by Deborah Greenspan

Choosing a publisher for your book might seem like an easy task, but there's actually a lot of consider.  Everyone worries about royalties, but is that all? Royalties are just one issue you should consider when choosing a publisher for your  book. Here are a few others:

Quality is your first consideration, and I’m not talking about the weight of the paper or the quality of the ink. These are the same for most POD publishers since we all must print through LSI, the Ingram printer, in order to get Ingram distribution, or through CreateSpace, Amazon’s printer. The “quality” I’m talking about is what goes between the covers— the quality of the content.  If your publisher doesn't care whether your book is edited or not, you can bet he doesn't care whether or not you sell books. A publisher for your book who doesn't care what type of work goes out under his imprint isn't worrying about selling books.

Although industry rates for professional editors range from about $.012 a word to $.12 a word and more depending on how much work the book needs, it’s better to get your work into polished condition than it is to spend less but let the book languish because it is badly written or be­cause it has been associated with “poor companions.” A quali­fied editor can make a real difference in the quality of your book, and the publisher for your book will know this.

Exclusive vs. non-exclusive rights: Another issue to contend with concerns the rights you are keeping and the rights you are assigning to the publisher. If the publisher gets exclusive pub­lishing rights, then no one else can publish your book. A better choice for the independent writer is a publisher who is willing to take non­exclusive rights. Non-exclusive rights means you can work with as many vendors as you want, and keep all the revenues you generate. And as long as you retain subsidiary rights you can also benefit from movie and television rights, character merchandising, CD games, and other products that might be derived from your work.

Contract Period: Most online publishers require authors to sign a contract that locks them in for a period of time ranging from one to five years or more. Authors who want to maintain control over their material should make sure that there is a clause in the contract that allows them to terminate the agree­ment within a specified period of time. Breezeway, for example, lets you out of the contract with thirty days written notice.

Investment: Self-publishing used to cost many thousands of dollars. But with print-on-demand and ebook technology, and the right publisher for your book, the main costs are setup costs. These have to do with typesetting your book, creating cover art, setting up the POD and ebook files, getting your account set up, and taking care of other administrative de­tails like assigning ISBNs and applying for Library of Congress numbers. Setup costs for print-on-demand throughout the in­dustry range from free (for an ebook published exactly as you send it to the publisher) and up. Other expenses a publisher for your book may charge can include editing and marketing. These will depend on how much you can depend on your own skills and how much you need the publisher of your book to handle.

Royalties are important, and you should be careful.  A publisher for your book who pays 20% of net price pays far less than one who pays 10% of list price.  This is because net price is what's left after the distributor discount, cost of printing, and other costs are taken out. The publisher for your book who figures royalties on net is giving you a percentage of what's left over after costs, while the publisher for your book who figures royalties on list is giving you a percentage of the price before costs.  Avoid publishers who pay royalties based on net.

These are just a few of the issues you should consider when choosing a publisher for your book. There are others, so watch this blog for information.

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