Have You Done Your Homework?

Fiction and nonfiction authors both spend countless hours on research.  We don’t tolerate inaccurate facts, unbelievable characters, or grammar problems in our manuscripts.  Yet many of us continue to purchase bundled services from our printers.  IUniverse, Lulu.com, Create Space, and all of the big print-on-demand suppliers offer much more than just printing.  They cover the entire spectrum from editing to marketing to distribution.  However, just a little research can save you piles of money on these services.  Before you spend a dime on any self-publishing service, make sure you do a little research.  Ask yourself these questions;

  • What is the cost of doing this myself?
  • Am I capable of providing this service myself?
  • Are there other providers who are more reputable or affordable?
Before deciding to take over every aspect of your title alone, consider the amount of time each task will take.  Indie Publishing does not mean you have to do everything yourself.  If a couple hundred dollars saves you a month, then you may want to go ahead and pay the price.  However, let me show you a few examples of how I saved money by doing it myself;
  • Purchase of Copyright- I found services offering to register my copyright for a range of prices.  The cheapest was $59.99 and the most expensive was $150 plus the government fees.  If I have to pay the government fees anyway, then why not just go through the copyright office.  Everything you need to know to get your copyright is in one place: The US Copyright Office (and it’s only $35)
  • Editing Services- At first glance, my supplier appears to offer a great deal on editing services.  Until you read the fine print… The price is only for ten thousand words.  With a minimum word count for a novel at 40,000 words, it can get pricey.  Each additional word is only .016 cents, but lets do the math. 0.16 cents times 30,000 words plus the original fee comes to $680.00!  So, what other editing services can you find for $680?
  • Cover Creation- Many authors pay top dollar for cover designs.  If you are unable to create a cover that is both professional and appealing, then I recommend finding a service you can afford.  However, most POD providers have cover templates available for free.  By combining your own photography with the creativity used to write your book, you have a good chance of creating a unique and beautiful cover that catches your reader’s eye.  Best of all, it’s FREE!
  • Publicity Packages- You can find media kits personalized to your title all over the internet.  They can include business cards, bookmarks, posters of various sizes, book reviews, and press releases.  The best priced with good quality package I could find was $799.00.  Other packages ranged all the way up to $9,500.  If you are determined to purchase these services, only buy what you need.  At print shops like VistaPrint.com you can design all the print marketing materiels you may need.  If you’re able to write your own author’s bio, book description, and tagline, then you might be able to do all of this yourself.

In the end, don’t assume you need someone to do it for you.  Afterall, no one knows your project better than you. 

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