Don’t Pour Money Down These Drains

June 2001
by Ilene Barth, Red Rock Press

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Every morning, they are there–in my real and virtual mailboxes–solicitations aimed at me, the independent publisher: Pay us this amount, and we’ll do that for you. The promises are also behind ads in this newsletter and other industry publications.

Do I need or want the service being sold? Will this gang deliver what it says it will? And even if it does, will I sell more books because of it? Other questions: Is this the way my industry really works? Is this–here comes the word–ethical?

Some services a publisher obviously needs, such as printing. We settle on specs for a particular project; we request bids; we examine similar books printed by vendors on our short list; we make a decision. But many small publishers are also deluged with offers for services where the guidelines for making choices are not so clear.

Obviously, one helpful way to sort all this out is to talk to publishing colleagues who’ve been there, done that–the best argument I know for joining a local or regional publishers association. Then again, what worked well for one sort of book might not be so successful for another. And some publishers, especially first timers, are relatively isolated or hanging with people not much more knowledgeable than they are.

I can’t pretend to answer in the abstract all the questions a publisher might have about choosing marketing and promotional partners. I’m still answering some of my own in a…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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