One of the most frequent questions new authors ask is how to check the reputation of a book publisher.
With so many publishing options today, including unsolicited offers to publish your book, it can be challenging to know who you can trust.
A new author can ask questions on social media or blog comments, which can certainly help.
But it’s always better to check with more reliable resources before you decide to use a publisher.
Checking book publisher reputation
Many authors choose to self-publish today.
It’s by far the easiest route to take, and you are in complete control of the publishing process.
But there are still many new authors who would prefer to use a publisher. There are good reasons for this.
If you can find a good publisher, it will take all the responsibility of publishing a new book.
But judging by the number of comments I have received about publishers to avoid, problems can arise.
It’s also difficult to define a publisher today.
The simplicity of the self-publishing process has made it easy for anyone to call themselves a publisher. Because of this, new authors need to be aware that there are many scam agents and publishers out there.
So how can you check the reputation of a book publisher before you sign on the dotted line?
There is no guaranteed method. But you can use online resources to check the standing of publishing companies.
If you are in discussions with a potential publisher, these checks will help you make a more considered decision.
1. ALLi Best Self-Publishing Services
The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) maintains a comprehensive list of publishing services.
The Best Self-Publishing Services and the Worst: Rated is one of the most valuable resources for new authors.
You can scan the entries or use the search function to find a publisher or service.
It’s a comprehensive listing with comments about each service to help you.
All entries are color-coded, making it simple to see the good, the bad, and the ugly.
It is the best site for new and not-so-new authors to help you with information about publishing services.
2. Better Business Bureau
While it is a US site, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a terrific source of information.
All you need to do is enter a publisher’s name in the search field, and if the publisher is a registered company, you should get a relatively detailed result.
Here’s the result of a search for a well-known publisher with a checkered reputation.
The most valuable information is the list of customer reviews and customer complaints.
You should read these to help you make your decision about the reputation of a book publisher.
The primary use for ISBNdb is to find a book by ISBN or title.
However, when you search using the name of a publisher, it gives you quite valuable information.
The first is that you can see the number of books published.
You can also get an idea of how long the publisher has been in business by checking the publishing date for each title.
The site is not strictly a database of publishers.
But it’s still a helpful resource you can use to find information about a potential publisher you are considering.
4. Every Writers Resource
The first thing to say is that this is not a very attractive site.
However, it does have a list of book publishing companies.
The results are somewhere between a review and a promotion for the companies.
So you will need to use your judgment about the results you find.
I wouldn’t base your decision on a publisher from the information from this site.
But it might be useful for extra information.
You won’t find any information about reputation on the PubMatch site, but you can check if a publisher is listed.
Again, use the search function using the publisher’s name.
If you can’t find the publisher, it’s probably a good clue to do more research.
But it’s a good site to use if you are looking for a publisher in your country.
The database contains a huge listing, so you are sure to find publishers to consider.
6. Check the reputation of a book publisher’s website
Just because a publisher has a website doesn’t mean much. Anyone can publish an attractive site.
But a website can give you clues about a publisher.
Here are some essential items to help you check a publisher’s reputation.
1. Is there a physical address?
2. Is there a telephone number?
3. Does the site display the names or photos of the directors or staff?
4. When was the business established?
5. How many books have been published?
6. Does the site offer a Free Publishing Guide in exchange for your contact details? It is a sure sign of a vanity publisher, so take care.
7. Can you find any titles on Amazon to check sales ranking?
8. Does the site include testimonials from authors?
A publishing company with a good reputation is open about its business and should respond to your questions.
When you check a publisher’s website, it’s also important to consider information that is not mentioned.
If you notice missing or incomplete information, such as a physical address or contact phone number, it’s a sign that you need to take extra care.
There are many considerations and decisions you need to make before agreeing to use a publisher for your book.
Always ask questions about what a publisher is offering you.
But establishing that a book publisher has a good reputation is essential.
If you use all of the methods noted in this article, you should be able to get a good idea.
It might take you some time to do your research thoroughly. But it will be time well invested.
If you receive an unsolicited offer to publish your book, be careful.
It’s extremely rare that a reputable publisher would make an approach such as this.
There are many sad stories of new authors who jumped in too quickly.
Don’t fall for the trap of letting your excitement affect your good judgment.
Related reading: Paying A Vanity Press To Publish Your Book – Be Very Wary