Dog Ear Publishing


Choosing the best self publishing company for YOUR book

We know how difficult it can be deciding between self publishing companies. Self publishing costs can be elusive on most sites to track down - but not at Dog Ear Publishing.

Are all self-publishing companies the same? Self-publishing companies are only the same in the fact that we all use almost the exact same technologies to print books. Each company has a unique approach to the market, and a distinct personality. Below are what we feel to be the most important factors in choosing a self-publisher.

Self Publishing Contract: It is imperative that you retain all rights to your book, and that you are able to terminate your agreement with the publishing company at any time, and without penalty. The author contract should be short and easy to understand. It should never have a "duration" that locks you into keeping your book with the self publishing company. Beware the self publisher that pays you a single dollar to retain the rights to your book for years. You should own every single piece of the process, from copyedited manuscript to the files used to print your book; and you should be able to get them at any time, not just after canceling your contract. Ask this question: Do I own the files used to print my book and will they be supplied to me at the end of the production process? Our contract is right here.

Retail Price: Can you set your own retail? Does the publisher force you into ridiculously high retail prices? (See our page on setting your Retail Pricing here.) A book with an artificially high retail price cannot possibly succeed in the market. Do you control the discount offered to retailers and wholesale accounts? Chains, big retail outlets, and wholesalers often want at least a 50% discount.  Make sure the self publishing company isn't giving you a more aggressive retail price by artificially reducing the wholesale discount to the trade. Your book needs to be priced competitively with other books in your category.

Author Book Costs: What is YOUR cost to buy your own book from the self publishing company? Is it a discount from retail price? That's the WORST possible scenario - since it gives the publisher an incentive to set the retail price higher. The author's cost to purchase books from the self publishing company should be a fixed price - not a discount from the retail price.  Does the self publisher offer reasonable per unit print prices? Furthermore, can they offer OFFSET PRINTING (also called "traditional printing") services? Most self-publishing companies do not offer offset solutions.

Author Profit: Some call it ROYALTY, we call it a NET SALES PAYMENT. Regardless of name, it's the amount you receive from each book sale. Be careful of any self publishing company that gives a huge profit but forces unreasonable retail prices on your book. It makes no sense to get a "50%" royalty on a book that will never sell. Also watch for royalties that are increased by REDUCING your WHOLESALE DISCOUNT to booksellers. If no store will buy it, what's the point of a royalty? Final note - on what is the royalty paid? Most often it's paid on the NET SALE, not the Retail Price. This begs the question - why shouldn't you get all the profit from a sale? Why should the self publishing company get even more profit when you sell your book for a higher price? Their costs are fixed - it's the same to them to print and distribute a 100 page book that retails for $10 as a 100 page book that retails for $50! Look for a publishing company that pays you based upon a 'fixed cost' basis - and who forwards all the remaining profit to you.

Customer Service & Expert Advice: The process of self publishing a book and then marketing that book, are an incredibly complex process. Can you actually speak with someone who actually knows something about the book industry? Do you have access to "decision makers" that can make things happen for your book? How long has the person you are speaking to worked at the company (let alone how long they've been in the publishing industry)?

Business Model: What is their business model? A business is supposed to make money, and that's an honorable thing (and self publishing companies aren't any different). But, watch where they make their money - look for hidden charges, or charges that show up to actually create an effective and salable book for you.

Creative Control: Many self publishing companies save cost by re-using book cover and interior designs. These are called 'templates' and self publishing companies often churn out hundreds of books that pretty much look exactly like each other. Can you set your design? Will you see design proofs - and can you have changes made to the design without being charged additional monies? Can you pick your own retail price? Can you set your own profit margin? Do you control the discount offered to retailers and wholesale accounts?

Total Cost of Self Publishing: All things considered, what will your total expenditure be with the self publishing company over the long term? As long as you remain enthusiastic, your book's lifetime will go well beyond a few months or even a few years of sales.



Authorhouse is based out of Bloomington, Indiana and is the largest of the self-publishing companies that we discuss on our web site. Explore fully how your retail price is set. Can you really pick any price point you want? Find out what level of expertise your customer service agent has in the book industry - and in helping you make decisions about your book.

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$674 more expensive than Dog Ear

BookSurge is owned by Amazon and few retailers want to help support a direct competitor. It is also important to think about the implications of having your retail, wholesale and print resource contained within the same company - it means you lose options and control.

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$644 more expensive than Dog Ear

Infinity Publishing is one of our toughest publishing competitors. They have a single publishing package priced at $499 and are a strong contender at the less-expensive end of the self-publishing industry.

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$115 more expensive than Dog Ear

iUniverse ™ is owned by AuthorSolutions (the company that owns AuthorHouse, xLibris and Trafford) and assigns authors specific retail prices for their books and pays royalties based upon the discount offered to wholesale and retail accounts.

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$594 more expensive than Dog Ear

Lulu is ideal for a graphic designer who only requires a few books. The cost of setting up the full suite of services needed to really publish a book is where the Lulu service begins to fall apart.

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$260 more expensive than Dog Ear
Outskirts Press

A very typical player at the less-expensive end of the self-publishing industry. Outskirts Press publishing packages range from $199 to $999. Their production processes are heavily template based.

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$306 more expensive than Dog Ear
Publish America

Publish America is an anomaly - not so much because they offer any unusual services (they provide the exact same things most self-publishing companies provide) - it's simply because Publish America and the Publish America web site are so unwilling to provide any information about Publish America.

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$533 more expensive than Dog Ear
Tate Publishing

To understand costs and actual services, Tate Publishing requires that you contact a sales person at the company.

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Trafford Publishing

Trafford was from 'up North' in Canada. They, in many ways, were the grand old company of print-on-demand publishers and self publishing companies. Trafford is now owned by AuthorSolutions - the company that owns AuthorHouse.

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$596 more expensive than Dog Ear
Wheatmark Book Publishers

Wheatmark is a self publishing competitor that entered the market at almost exactly the same time as Dog Ear. Their self publishing model is just like most of the other self publishing companies listed in the review.

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$470 more expensive than Dog Ear

Wordclay is great for a graphic designer who only needs a couple books. The biggest obstacle is that to get complete services, you'll pay quite a bit more. Your book profit and printing costs are so high as to be prohibitive when compared to Dog Ear.

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$755 more expensive than Dog Ear

Xlibris is now owned by AuthorSolutions - the same company that owns AuthorHouse.

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$1,400 more expensive than Dog Ear
Xulon Press

Xulon Press is one of our publishing competitors from the Christian market. They, in many ways, are the grand old company of Christian self-publishers and Christian self publishing companies.

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$1,100 more expensive than Dog Ear
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