There’s a lot of writers’ services and publishing businesses to choose from, but how do you know which ones are trustworthy? How can you tell which publishing companies to avoid? The video below shares a few things to look for on a website that indicate a potential rip-off. It starts with a bit of play acting – just for fun.
How do you know which publishing companies to avoid?
Unless we have a friend who recommends a publishing company, our first introduction to a business will be its website, and we’ve probably found it in the search engine results.
Be aware that the businesses that pop up at the top of the search results are only there because they paid for the privilege. The search engines don’t check out the businesses who pay for advertising, so just because they’re up there doesn’t mean they’re a business you can trust. Even those at the top of the unpaid search results, aren’t necessarily the best choices.
Many vanity presses (the publishing companies you want to avoid) get a lot of hits on their websites because they’ve been around for a long time and paid big money for search engine optimisation and adverts, (which they can afford to do because they make so much money off their authors). Those hits put them at the top of the search results even if they’re not presently advertising. But the biggest businesses may not be the best deal for you as an author if you’re looking to produce a quality book. Going with a big pay-for-publishing company doesn’t mean you’ll sell any more books than if you go with a small one. And their marketing packages may not be worth the money they’re asking.
But when you do choose a writer’s service or publishing company to look at from the seach results, what do you look for on their website?
Some websites tell you a lot about the company, others say little, but either way there are signs on a website to look for that will give you a good indicaton whether or not the writers’ service or publishing company is one to avoid.
A reliable business will be transparent, and their website will have the following:
- A simple way to contact the business – email or phone number;
- An address or at least the country in which the business is based;
- A complete About section that tells you who runs it, what their qualifications are, what their mission is, and what they offer you;
- A detailed list of what is included in their publishing or writers’ services packages and any extras they offer;
- Prices clearly listed – check with a variety of similar businesses to make sure their prices aren’t exorbitant;
- Endorsements from a variety of real people;
- Look for affiliations with reliable organisations, such as The Alliance of Independent Authors – see their list of the best and the worst publishing services;
- Look for indications that the people running it have some integrity, that they care about their clients and about the publishing industry.
Watch the video to find out the 7 red flag signs of writers’ services and publishing companies to avoid
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