Three must-haves to insist on having BEFORE you self-publish

The self-publishing industry is exploding with legitimate big name publishers and established brands venturing out with their own self-publishing arms. Which company do you choose, and how do you choose it?

Because of this, I advise anyone interested in publishing their own work to study it, or employ someone trustworthy who knows the business to walk you through the process. “Publishing Coach Jerry” at “” wants you to buy his publishing package, not someone else’s. As such, his advice will likely skew that way.

You will spend far less money publishing your work if you know what you’re doing, you know what questions to ask, and have someone on your team who is interested in your well-being.

My wife got an object lodged in her tire. I took it to one tire place, where they said: “That’s too big for me to plug. I have a tire I can sell you for $150.” I took it for a second opinion, where they said “That’s too big for me to plug, but I can patch it.” It cost me $10. I didn’t know the question to ask, but because of someone interested in my well-being, I got an efficient alternative.

The Fine Print of Self-Publishing outlines nine things a good self-publishing company does well. Here are my top 3:

  1. Fair policy regarding the return of your book’s original production files a.k.a. the “Take Your Ball and Go Home clause”: Say XYZ does something you don’t like. You should be able to take your cover and interior files with you when you terminate your contract/terms and conditions.
  2. Registration with R.R. Bowker’s Books in Print, distribution through Baker and Taylor and/or Ingram, and listing on online marketplaces. Most companies do this, but it’s important nonetheless.
  3. Generous royalties without any fuzzy math. What’s “fuzzy math”? Self-publishing companies inflate your book price to make the royalty look bigger, but it prices you out of the market (especially since a lot of places don’t let you choose your own price). They add weird deductions, like “distribution costs,” to pump up their profits, and markup the printing costs. If a self published author friend of mine wanted to order 24 copies of her own book, she would pay $234 for books that cost just $81 to print. Where does the other $153 go? Not to her. Now THAT’S fuzzy math.

For a FREE 15-minute consultation about how to maximize your publishing dollars, e-mail me at

Brian Thompson’s passion is motivating and encouraging others to write and to pursue Do-It-Yourself publishing. He is also author of the Christian fiction thrillers The Lost Testament, andThe Revelation Gate. You can read more about Brian by visiting his author site.

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