Look Closely and Don’t Assume

An author approached us  with a little information he thought was sufficient to make a good business decision about publishing his book.

He discovered the puppy mill presses and their various tiers of packaging and  thought they were the way to go. We challenged him to look closely at what they’re really offering and he’d see their packages seldom include editing, proofreading, help writing the cover copy (important to marketing to readers), or even printing!

He couldn’t believe it until he started to really look at what these publishered offered.

One package was about $2000 and that included:

  • individual author support (isn’t this a given?),
  • a discount on the books the author paid to have printed with this publisher (so printing your book is extra?),
  • one cover design (every book should have a cover),
  • an ISBN (which all published books have, by the way),
  • world distribution (which anyone with a website has),
  • a few free printed books (so they’ll just print a few extra when you place your first printing order and give them to you?),
  • editorial evaluation (any publisher should offer this free because that’s how the publisher decides if it’s interested in publishing the manuscript–unless it’s a vanity press that publishes anything),
  • eligibility in any number of programs created by this particular publisher,
  • book preview (another reason you’ll have to print books with this publisher),
  • book return program (bookstores generally sell books on consignment, which means returns are a given–if the bookstore will even sell a print-on-deman book from one of these publishers).

Of course this publisher also had a cheapo $600 package and, as you would imagine, it included almost nothing, especially no eligibility or evaluation or preview or returns. It appears they simply take your money for a book cover, ISBN, discount on printing your books, world distribution, and individual support. Do the math and you’ll see that for more than three times this base price you can get the list above. You just don’t get any printed books yet.

I’ve said before that publishing is business. If you’ve got $2000 to plunk down and you still don’t have a book, you’ve got to ask yourself if you are making a good business decision.

And what about the quality of the end product? As popular as print-on-demand printing has become, it still doesn’t quite measure up to offset printing. If it did, more mainstream publishers would use it for their unknown authors.

I’ve asked you this question before: Why do you want to be published? If your purpose is to show your expertise and credibility, you’ll want to look closely and don’t assume anything about these puppy mill presses on the Internet. Go ahead and review their websites and packages. Then look closer at other publishers so  you can make a good business decision.

If you just want to fulfill your dream to be published, you can throw money at any Internet publisher and accomplish that.

Happy writing!


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