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Opinion: A Cautionary Tale About Choosing Publishing Partners

Opinion: A Cautionary Tale about Choosing Publishing Partners

photo of Chris Calder in a microlight plane

Buyer beware, says Chris Calder, when choosing your service providers

Are you ever tempted to cut corners on design, production and marketing issues so as to spend more time on your writing? Think you don't have time to thoroughly research potential partners in your self-publishing ventures?

Think again! Chris Calder shares his cautionary tale of false economies made when choosing his publishing partners – which fortunately has a happy ending, thanks to ALLi's Directory of Services. Read on to find out more about the problem he encountered in relaunching his novels, and how he overcame them, with the help of ALLi Partner members. Over to Chris…


You’ve written and self-published your first book. Congratulations! Nothing gets even close to the extraordinary buzz of holding your first print book in your hand. Wonderful.

Then you write another and publish that, too. Then, perhaps two more, as I did.

Despite being a proud member of ALLi, for me all was not well: the disparities in appearance between the finished books seemed to scream “self-published”. They didn't look like they belonged to a family of books, immediately identifiable as a brand, either that of the author or of the publisher. I wanted to rectify that.

An Attempted Relaunch

Recently when Amazon made changes to its printing service, retiring CreateSpace, it seemed that many indie authors were having problems with its replacement service, KDP Print, so I decided to try to find an independent publisher to re-launch my four self-published novels and I wanted my own author brand. On the recommendation of a friend, I went to a small publishing house in my area.

cover of ALLi Self-publishing Services Directory 2019

ALLi's Services Directory of tried and trusted partner members is free to download, view and print for reference

Frankly, it was a mistake. Unfortunately, the attention I received after signing a contract and shelling out a fair bit of cash, was not good. Whether this was due to incompetence or indifference, I know not. One of the four books was printed and relaunched, with very little done towards the marketing package that I had paid for. Most authors just want to get on with their writing, but a diet of constant fobbing off and prevarication is a poor return for what was intended to be a sound investment.

When the re-launch of the second book was heading the same way, I decided it was time to cut my losses.

I did what I should have done in the first place – gone to ALLi's list of partners.

From the list I chose 22 possibles, and after much research (about time!), I whittled it down to six and then two, before finally choosing one.

The Cost of Not Researching the Best Partners

new cover of Payback

Chris Calder's perseverance with finding new service providers provided well-deserved, er, payback!

I have discovered the hard way the real cost in terms of wasted time and money, of not doing my homework. My own fault, I can blame nobody else. I truly believe that the lesson I have learned should be passed on to others. Caveat emptor!

For any writer who is thinking of getting involved with a print book publisher, the real message is – check the ALLi list. If you are a member, you should do that anyway (he said, ruefully), and if you are not, you need to become one. Especially if you take your writing seriously.

Why Chris Calder is glad he used #ALLi's Services Directory to find the right partners to relaunch his novels - a cautionary tale for #indieauthors Click To Tweet


From the ALLi Author Advice Center Archive



This Post Has One Comment
  1. As I learned from others long ago including a solicitor: if you have to pre-pay or pay up front or pay for anything [within what whoever promises ] then run away.
    I self published. It cost. But with this printer I knew what I was in for.
    Here the author is about distribution that never eventuated. Yes that is of concern and research a must- like asking this up front. Getting written answers. Find out who the distributors are: for they are expensive to publishers as well.
    I get these offers from publishers in my emails now and again. And in the end they all want your money.

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