12 Mistakes To Avoid When Hiring A Book Publishing Company 

You created an amazing book manuscript! But publishers vary wildly so it’s tricky picking the right book publishing company. In this blog, we have outlined 12 mistakes that most first-time authors unknowingly make when researching potential book publishing companies.

Not Understanding Publishing Models   

First, generally clarifying core models – traditional royalty publishers who pay advances versus affordable pay-as-you-go self-publishing – sets expectations on timelines, creative control and expenses. Hybrid options exist too, but initially educating yourself on prevailing book publishing avenues prevents entering conversations blindly. 

Focusing on Size Over Quality

Another rookie move is mostly emphasizing company scale or celebrity authors over niche expertise relevant to your book concept and genre. Larger publishers with fancy reputations don’t necessarily equate the best fit for developing your specific content and audience. Quality over size remains sage advice.  

Rushing Research and Submissions  

Resist racing into manuscript submissions either without extensive due diligence first. Explore industry commentary, author group feedback and in-depth company reviews highlighting potential complaint patterns are helpful in identifying shady book publishing services upfront before you regret partnerships. 

Not Vetting Contract Terms  

Additionally, too many anxious authors sign deficient contracts not truly protecting their interests long term out of excitement to publish quickly. But take time scrutinizing terms around royalties, rights reversions, distribution access, marketing support and other considerations before countersigning. Advocate for yourself here!

Assuming Popularity Follows Publication 

Naively expecting instant bestseller fame overnight purely from having a book also sets authors up for disappointment. Achieving visibility remains very difficult in crowded markets without proactive promotional initiatives. So clarify what marketing plans or budget exists upfront rather than blindly expecting miracles.  

Not Confirming Distribution Reach   

Inspect global distribution access too so your creative work actually reaches readers worldwide. Even if producing physical copies, verify partnering print channels spanning independent bookshops, chain retailers, libraries, special sales etc paired with comprehensive ebook distribution. Readers can’t buy books they can’t find through poor distribution planning.

Skipping Due Diligence Audits  

Failing to verify publisher claims through background audits risks even bigger letdowns later. Google searching the brand name checking for red flags takes five minutes. Reaching out to prior authors, requesting sales figures or past examples of marketing tactics saves future head and heartaches. Trust but verify through deeper due diligence.  

Not Building Your Own Author Platform First

Ideally publishers want authors with existing readership communities, email lists, websites and social media channels demonstrating some visibility foundation establishing credibility. So delay submissions until consolidating basic branding assets showing you’re proactively partnering rather than needing excessive hand holding on launch plans urgent to coordinate immediately.  

Skipping Retainer Fee Clarification   

If paying upfront access or retainer fees ensure you understand exactly what is included before paying as policies vary. Some fees simply permit submission access with no direct support while others cover extensive manuscript reviews, editing guidance and personalized direction to improve maturity enhancing contract award potential after revisions. Don’t assume!  

Not Considering Long Term Goals  

Think long term also before signing short term agreements. Envision bigger dreams like multi-book deals with sequels, spinoffs or licensed derivative works like television programs, audiobooks, coloring books etc.   

Focusing on Speed Over Quality  

Sure, securing an elusive traditional mainstream publishing deal immediately seems glamorous but measured consideration remains wise. If proposals from respected boutique publishers with proven marketing track records in your niche come first, strongly consider working with those investing in your specific genre and fans.   

Settling With No Satisfaction Guarantees  

Protect yourself by verifying author satisfaction guarantees too where possible when comparing multiple offers. For example, some emerging publishers allow canceling contracts within the first 90 days if underwhelmed by early creative direction, marketing results or sales support. Unconditional guarantees provide confidence pursuing partnerships less proven.  


In closing, impulsive publishing decisions risk tomorrow’s regrets without thoughtful research on partnership fitness spanning capability, communication styles and caution flags. But asking targeted questions and trusting writer intuition guides wiser win-win publisher relationships serving your book – and you – best long term! Patience pays off.

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