1. HIGH STANDARDS
The books they produce should not stand out as self-published. The cover design, paper quality, format, blurb, and internal layout – all of these features should equal those of traditionally published books.
2. CLEAR COMMUNICATIONS
The costs should be clear, itemised and transparent. The company itself should only sell you what you need and can afford. They should explain any financial implications of your choices. For example, profit margins on print-on-demand books and larger book prints can differ.
3. UNDERSTANDING & EMPATHY
They should try to understand your ambitions, abilities, new book, and budget. No two book authors and no two published books are the same. Your publishing partner should treat you as an individual.
4. REALISTIC APPROACH
They should give you a realistic opinion within the manuscript appraisal on the viability of your work.
It’s about teamwork. Their team working with your manuscript should all have the same goal—the best representation for your manuscript.
6. LEGAL EXPERTISE
They should give you a precise, transparent quote outlining your nominated services. Their terms and conditions should be written clearly and show fairness. They would also have some general legal knowledge.
They will probably have published hundreds of book titles. Imagine this as a wealth of experience available to you. Ideas for enhancements that you would not have thought of. A professional and experienced company will offer a coherent set of services that makes your book the best it can be.
The vision for your new book should go beyond putting the final printed copy in your hand and giving you the bill. Instead, they should offer some ideas on moving to the next stage with your newly published book.
They should be available to speak or act on your behalf if you have a disability or cannot represent yourself.
10. MORAL SUPPORT
They should be supportive, even after selling you the services. You may need some initial advice on maintaining your online print-on-demand service or some marketing tips perhaps.
11. TRACK RECORD
Returning customers is a good sign of their track record.
Their website should indicate to what extent they genuinely want to support authors rather than just selling their services. Their website and or Facebook page should show some published authors.
There is a new breed of dynamic and fresh-thinking self-publishing companies out there. They offer all that I’ve described above. They provide support to writers rather than simply taking their money. Worse still, they constantly pressure existing ones to buy further services.