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How to find a book publisher

How do I find a publisher? The million-dollar question with so many answers it’s mind boggling.

find a book publishing company

While the question itself, “how to find a book publisher” appears on the surface to be quite simple, the answer  is not nearly so. This post is intended to help authors really discover how to find a book publisher that is right for her or his specific book.

While there are many ways to get a book to market, this specific bit of content will focus on the world of self publishing. All with the goal of discovering how to find a good publisher of books for the intended needs and audience.

The ways that book publishing companies describe themselves is incredibly varied. In the end, they all do the same thing – allowing an author to focus on writing and leaving the business of publishing a book to the experts.

There is a tremendous difference in what each of these companies do for authors. It’s not really the services provided, but how each company approaches servicing (and charging) their authors. Most self-publishing companies bring a tremendous value to most authors. There are certainly always exceptions, with many authors deciding to take another route and go into business for themselves. And every author looking to go this route must get informed about what he or she needs, and exactly how each company might provide a path to publishing the book. For most authors  learning how to publish a book, a significant amount of frustration, time, and money can be saved by using a self-publishing company.

Even in the day of e-books and print-on-demand, most authors still hold to the dream of books stacked on a bookstore shelf. Perhaps published by one of the ‘big 5’ US book publishers. The gap, for many new authors, between the success a ‘big 5’ book publisher might bring versus choosing the self publishing route is narrowing rapidly. Even traditional publishers have adopted many of the strategies and technologies of the self publishing world.

On the path of how to find a book publisher, there are several items that are critical  in choosing a book publisher.

Publishing Contract

There is a shocking range of publishing contracts in the self publishing world. An author should be able to keep all rights and  terminate the agreement at any time without penalty. The book publishing contract should be short, easy to understand and available on the publisher’s website without having to pay money or sign up first. A publishing contract, when the author is footing the bill, should never have a “duration” that locks the book with the publishing house for some duration. An author must have the option to leave without penalty, at any time. Be wary of publishers who offer a single dolllar to purchase the rights to a book, or who might claim they refund the publishing fees at a certain level of sales. In all cases it is a nice sales tactic but is rarely if ever achieved. In the end, the author must own every single piece of content produced, from the copyedited manuscript to the files used to print the book, and should have access to said files at any time.

Retail Pricing

Setting the retail price of a book is part science, part art, and should be fully under the control of the author. Watch out for publishers that dictate the retail price, because usually that publisher will force the author into ridiculously high retail prices.book’s retail price at only about 2.5 time the author cost. Any distribution outlet (retailers, distributors, etc) will in all likelihood require at least a 50% discount. Many time, the author also pays freight. This means the author also needs good details on book costs to make an informed decision. The book publisher in this model is a resource, but mustn’t be forcing the final decision.

Book Printing Costs / Author Costs

The cost the book publisher charges an author to purchase his or her own books is typically based upon any number of factors. Often it’s a discount from the retail price of the book (so the item above is even more important here.) Even the retail price of a book is in many ways a function of the book printing cost. When a book costs more to print,  the retail price needs to be higher just to break even. When trying to find a book publisher, the author must get all the details around how she or he will be charged to purchase the book.

Author Profit / Royalties

Author profit. Book royalty. Net sales profit. All of those terms address the same thing – how much an author makes from the sale of the book.  When choosing a publisher, authors must be aware of how compensation works. Quite frequently publishers will offer large perceived royalty percentages, and at the same time force an unreasonable retail prices on the book. It makes no sense to get a “50%” royalty on a book that will never sell. Be aware of book publishers that increase the author profit by reducing wholesale discount. A follow up question is on what is the author profit determined? It should be paid on the net sale, not the retail price. And the final big question – when choosing a publisher, why wouldn’t the author look for a publisher who gives all the profit from a sale? Why should a publishing services company receive a greater profit when all the author did was increase the retail price on the book. The publisher’s costs are a fixed number. There is the same effort and cost in printing and distributing a 100 page book that retails for $10 as a 100 page book that retails for $50! Authors should aim to find a publisher that pays author profit based upon a ‘fixed cost’ basis.

Book Publishing Knowledge & Customer Service

What the book publisher’s staff actually knows about book publishing is incredibly important. This is the group of people that authors will entrust to guide them through choosing both a book publisher and choosing book publishing services. When an author makes that initial call to discuss publishing a book, is the person on the phone (or answering the email) someone who actually possesses a high level of knowledge about book publishing. Not just sales techniques for the services offered, but actual knowledge of what works and how things work in the world of book publishers. Another key is having access to “decision makers” that can make things happen along the road of publishing the book.

Book publisher business model

Every business is in business to make money. Book publishers are no different, and that’s what keeps a business successful. The question is what is the business model the publisher chosen uses to make money. Are there  hidden charges, or charges that show up just to actually create an effective and salable book for you.

Creative control

Creative control is having final say over the book and cover design. It does NOT mean that the author must provide said designs. Too many book publishers utilize a standard template or charge extra for customization. Every author must make sure her or his input is listened to and that the book publisher found provides valued input and follows the design ideals for the book.

With all this said, there is a ton of information available to help authors make a sound decision as they are spending time on how to find a publisher. Do the homework before choosing and finding a publisher will be a much easier process.

Why Dog Ear?

Promoting your book and your brand may be new to you, so having experts to guide you in developing a solid marketing strategy is an invaluable resource. With more than 50 years of traditional publishing experience, Dog Ear Publishing knows what it takes to promote authors and their books. Our team of experienced editors, proofreaders, and designers can help refine your work into a top-notch finished publication. Your book should be a quality reflection of who you are as an author. Call us today at 888-568-8411 to take control of your publishing destiny.

Ray Robinson
Ray Robinson

When Ray first entered the publishing industry, authors relied on “vanity presses” to produce their work – many of whom would charge $15,000 or more and leave the author’s garage filled with hundreds of books. Ray, along with coworker Alan Harris, joined forces with Miles Nelson to create Dog Ear Publishing to provide the author community a self-publisher with a heart. The group’s application of new technologies and publishing on demand reduced the cost of publishing a book to a fraction of what it had been for previous generations; authors now have the ability to publish a book in as little as six weeks and print as few as a single copy.