10 tips for selecting an indie book publisher

eBooks2Go is converting my Get Your Book in the News: How to Write a Press Release That Announces Your Book to ePub and Mobi formats. I’ve asked Ranjini Rao, the company’s marketing and social media coordinator, to take a step back from where I am and help us figure out how to select the right publishing company when going the indie route. I think you’ll find her advice helpful. Contact Ranjini with questions at ranjini@ebooks2go.net, 847-598-1150, ext.4150.

10 tips for selecting an indie book publisher

By Ranjini Rao

Self-publishing, and especially so for e-books, is here to stay.

Once you’ve decided to take on the task of publishing your book all by yourself, you’ll have to sit down and chalk out a plan before hitting the field. Sure, you want to make money by selling lots of books, but for that, you have to remember that quality is the only thing that will endure and help your book sustain the ravages of time and trends.

So, make sure, before you even sit down with that notepad and pen (or iPad or computer), that you have a really well-written book with a superbly crafted story. If you do, you will have won half the battle.

You can very well go the whole distance by yourself, from formatting to publishing, distributing to promoting. But you can also ask for help, and make sure you get it. With so many publishing companies offering a gamut of services, selecting the one that best suits you is key.

Just how do you do that?

10 point selection strategy

Here’s a 10-point strategy:

  1. Using your genre and target audience as a starting point, make a list of publishers who offer the services you need to get your project to the finish line. For example, does the publisher offer professional editorial evaluations? Will it distribute your book to major retailers? You don’t want to have to deal with different service providers if you can find what you need in one organization.
  2. If you’re looking for print on demand (POD) service aside from making an e-book, ask if the publisher has a defined limit for number of copies. The more flexible they are, the better it works in your favor.
  3. Always read the fine print. When they say $100, do they really mean just $100 or is there a catch? Transparency can be an issue, with some publishers hiding their actual, additional, overall costs behind big splashes of “special offers.”
  4. Don’t let anyone talk you into a contract or obligation by citing mighty successes of the recent past. If a certain self-published book made it to the top of the charts, it doesn’t mean yours will, too. Be ready to accept that your book might not do exceptionally well – but if it does, well, you can revel in the success, no doubt. Every author and every book has its own course to chart, its own journey to travel.
  5. Determine if your publisher will help you market your book. Some claim to, but might not deliver as promised. Sure, you can’t expect a red carpet, glitzy book tour or a book signing with hundreds of people in a mob out to get your autograph, but there’s a distance your publisher can go to make sure your book is on readers’ radar. That said, also be aware that the onus is on you to promote. You really have to get out there and twist yourself into a pretzel if necessary to make sure people know you’ve written a good book that can make a difference in their hours and lives.
  6. Make sure your publisher will consider changes, edits, and do-overs for portions of your book if need be. And, ensure that in doing so, they don’t burn through your checkbook. Also verify that you’ll get a good sneak peek into how your book is shaping up. You don’t want to work with a publisher that draws the curtains once you’ve paid.
  7. Confirm that your publisher is accessible and approachable. You should be able to trust that the publisher is at least half as dedicated to your project as you are.
  8. Ask yourself this question: Does the publisher care about the success of my book? Assess your interactions with them, and check if you caught a bad vibe. If you did, you’re in for trouble.
  9. Don’t rush through the process of book making just because it’s technologically feasible. Do your groundwork well, make time for reviews and edits, and plan your marketing strategy well.
  10. Remember, you’re the boss. Even if you have to seek guidance and help every step of the way, you are the decision maker and the book belongs to you, as does the responsibility of making sure it is well accepted. The publisher, at the end of it all, is merely a conduit for you to make it happen.

What other tips would you offer anyone looking for publishing help?

Image Creative Commons License John Blyberg via Compfight 

Like what you’re reading? Get it delivered to your inbox every week by subscribing to the free Build Book Buzz newsletter. You’ll also get my free “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources” cheat sheet immediately!


  1. Great tips! I went with Xlibris and I am pleased with them. I chose their “professional services” package, which includes press releases and wide distribution. I looked around a lot, and they looked the best. Some were cheaper and some gave you better royalties, but I think Xlibris is doing a professional job on layout, editing, etc. They also had a lot of support on their site. I’ll let everyone know how it turns out. I am glad I chose self publishing for a variety of reasons, and I have learned so much! This is a blast!

  2. Thanks for the comments. Of course, I did not check everything out, but for a first time author I thought Xlibris was a good choice. I can always do other things with the book. I am not stuck with them, and next time I will know more about the whole process. I might not need the extensive services that I got this time. The guidlines above are really good, thanks again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *