We often meet authors who have spent pretty pennies getting their books published only to be disappointed by the end results. It’s usually the case that the author trusts a person or service to deliver on the promise of publishing a book and bringing it to market. In the end, the company doesn’t deliver—in one way or another. Sometimes the book is put together haphazardly and doesn’t look professional. In other cases, companies don’t follow through on promised services such as customized printing or adequate distribution, leaving the author with a product that’s nearly impossible to sell.
Sometimes, sadly, companies inadequately advise an author about the quality of his or her manuscript, and bring a poorly written and unedited (or poorly edited) book to print. Publishing professionals often won’t honestly discuss the quality of a manuscript’s writing with an author who needs to hear it.
On the plus side, many companies now work with indie authors. There’s something out there for everybody and options abound. Do your research and make an informed decision that aligns with your goals. Figure out what’s important to you and establish what you’re truly looking for. Then determine if the person or company you’re interested in is truly a publishing expert.
Here are ten signs that an “expert” you’re talking to isn’t really an expert at all:
1. They’ve only been in the publishing industry six months to a year.
2. They can’t show you samples of books they’ve published or helped publish.
3. They call themselves an expert, but there’s no evidence that anyone else does.
4. When they’re discussing strategy with you, they fail to mention either editing, distribution, or marketing.
5. Their skill set or background is in one area, such as website design, marketing, editing, or printing.
6. They ask for money without explaining in detail what it pays for.
7. They spend most of the time talking (or selling) and spend little time trying to get to know you or what your book is about.
8. They make grandiose promises of being able to help you sell millions of copies, or making your book a best seller.
9. Books they’ve published aren’t books that you would buy due to poor editing, print quality, or lack of accessibility.
10. Books they’ve worked on haven’t been successful in the market.