Online Book Publishing Review
Why Use Online Book Publishing Companies?
With new technology, online book publishing services now can format, print and publish books quickly and affordably. What is even better, a book can go from manuscript form to an eBook and then a handsome bound volume using print-on-demand (POD) publishing, a method most online publishers employ. Books are printed and shipped on demand, which eliminates the need for large print runs and costly warehouses stacked with books.
By using online publishers to self-publish your book, you are usually allowed to retain all of the rights to your book. With traditional publishers, you often have to relinquish some or all of those rights. Even with the potential cost savings and copyright benefits of self-publishing, if done right, your book can still look as professional and polished as a traditionally published book.
Online book publishers offer a broad selling base, whether through their own online bookstores or through online giants such as Amazon, the Barnes & Noble website and iBookstore. With distribution channels that reach more than 25,000 retailers, today's POD publishers can sell to brick-and-mortar stores, libraries and online merchants. Read our articles about online book publishing here. If you are wanting to know more, here are articles on online book publishing services.
What to Look For in an Online Book Publishing Service
The best online book publishing services offer versatile and affordable publishing packages, marketing assistance, a broad selling reach, a wide selection of extra services beyond the publishing package, and plenty of customer support. These are the criteria you can use to evaluate which online book publishing service is right for you.
The best online publishing packages offer pre-publishing consultation, extensive publishing service options and promotional services after publishing. Most publishers have several packages available as well as add-on services for purchase. Publishers' websites have detailed information and free booklets on request. This gives you the tools you need to make informed choices about which package works best for you before you pay a cent. As you weigh your options, decide which features are relevant to your needs and avoid spending unnecessarily on ones that you won't use. If you change your mind, you can upgrade later.
The best publishers have a quick overall publishing time frame and give authors the most for their money. High-quality online publishers also provide promotional services, such as web design and providing copies of your book to reviewers, as part of the prepaid package to help you sell your published book.
Book Pricing & Royalties
This is one of the more complicated aspects of publishing your work. How prices are set and how much royalty you are paid vary by publisher and also depend on the retailer selling your book. Some publishers let you set your own prices, but they factor in costs for any price you set. The ability to set your own price may be included in the plan you choose, or you may have the option to purchase that ability. Each company has its own policies.
All publishers have a bookstore online to sell print and digital books. In most cases, direct sales provide you with a higher percentage of royalties than selling through other channels. Royalties may be a percentage of the cover price, the wholesale price or the net profit.
Online publishers help you sell your book through a combination of channels, including their online bookstores, wholesale distribution and major online book retailers. The best online publishers increase your sales potential by making your book available to as many readers as possible.
Publishers partner with major distributors to expand the reach of your content. Your publisher should help you understand your distribution options and give you an idea of how much revenue you can generate through each one. It's important to find out which distribution company your publishing company uses and how far its reach goes. For maximum distribution, look for companies that provide books to libraries, schools, and universities in addition to online and brick-and-mortar stores. Wider distribution comes at a price, but it is a great way to scale up your book's visibility quickly.
Marketing & Sales Tools
These days, publishing is accessible to just about everyone. Writing a book is only half of the equation; you need marketing to let people know about your book and grow your sales. Online book publishing services should offer a wide assortment of marketing services, both in publishing packages and as optional services to make sure you have the level of marketing assistance to meet your needs. Marketing starts with your book cover design, since it's the first thing people see when looking for new reading material. Publishers offer assistance with cover design as well as image choices and placement inside the book.
Publishers also offer website design and hosting, Google ads, printed promotional materials, and videos. Publicity services they provide include press releases and social media promotion. They may even offer full-scale campaigns with coordinated print, web and video promotion.
If you have marketing and design experience, you may not need these services. However, many companies include marketing services in their packages. It's important to know whether you can purchase only the publishing services you need so you are not paying for ones you don't.
Help & Support
Top online book publishing services offer several avenues of support, including toll-free phone and email support or an online form for question submissions. It is also helpful if a company hosts a FAQs page and an online meeting place where authors can share ideas and discuss publishing topics on a forum, discussion board or blog.
Live chat service is arguably the most convenient form of customer support, allowing you to acquire information before you spend money on a package. Not many online publishers offer this service, though. On the other hand, several online publishers go the extra mile and share free literature, blogs and newsletters to provide all the information you need to make informed decisions about services before purchasing them.
Popular Online Book Publishers
Many authors use CreateSpace because it's part of one of the largest book retailers in the world, Amazon. There is no denying that Amazon has played a major role in the wide-scale adoption of eBooks. The reputation it has built gives authors confidence that it will bring the same level of service to publishing. It makes sense that Amazon would use its book-selling expertise to help authors reach their audience.
CreateSpace provides support to authors from start to finish. The company is available to answer questions before you select your services and throughout the entire process. It helps you choose what you need to get your book into the hands of readers.
Some other publishers offer their services as packages. With CreateSpace, you choose only the services you need. There are several other distribution options beyond putting your work on Amazon. CreateSpace works with the largest book distributors in the world. A solid reputation, flexible services and expansive distribution options make CreateSpace an attractive online publishing option.
It says a lot that AuthorHouse has the largest number of titles in print. This shows its ability to steer authors through the publishing process to a finished product. It has the processes in place to launch new writers and has been doing just that for quite some time. AuthorHouse is well established and has a streamlined operation that results in a shorter publishing time than you see with other publishers. Its representatives are with you every step of the way. They provide guidance, but you retain ultimate control over your work. You choose your cover, interior images and even price. Many authors appreciate the freedom to create their book according to their vision.
One of the many things that make AuthorHouse attractive is the optional Booksellers Return Program. This program gives it an advantage over other publishers. Booksellers are reluctant to carry books from unknown authors, so this gives retailers a risk-free way to stock your book, which is perfect for writers who are trying to get established.
The publishing process can seem daunting to the uninitiated, or even the initiated. Learning all you can about the process allows you to get the most out of your publishing experience. This level of support is how Xlibris excels. It provides a wealth of information to authors. All of its publishing packages come with a one-year membership to its Author Learning Center and its community of authors, agents and other literary professionals. The Author Learning Center offers many valuable resources for writers, including videos, podcasts, articles and webinars.
The Book Launch tool in the Author Learning Center helps you with step-by-step information about publishing and marketing tasks. You customize the tasks to fit your needs and use the tool to track their status. This tool includes a feature that enables you to create a group of writers from the community to provide advice and feedback on your manuscript. The Author Learning Center provides resources that help you keep learning and growing as an author, as well as a way to give back to other authors. Xlibris consultants are also with you throughout the publishing process, but the community it has established provides valuable resources and sets the company apart from other publishers.
Whether you are a first-time author or a previously published novelist, online book publishing companies offer a fast, often affordable way to get your book off your computer screen and into the hands of readers. These companies have many services that help you produce, distribute, market and sell your work.