Between the intrepid self-published authors, who enjoy learning the skills they need to do it all themselves, and the old-school traditionalists, who want a publisher to risk the investment of time and talent to bring their books to market, there is a group of writers willing to pay for publishing expertise. They just need to be able to find it.
To be perfectly clear, this has always been the case. Just about any publisher will agree to bring out a subsidized title that might otherwise not have been considered worth the investment. Labeling various publishers, therefore, might be increasingly pointless as new business models proliferate.
A year ago, I might have referred to a company offering consumers a menu of editorial, design, production, marketing, and publicity services that could be purchased individually as a custom publisher, for lack of a better term. You could also call it self-publishing, or you could refer to the vendor as a subsidy publisher. Rarely is the term vanity publishing heard anymore, but publishing platform is a buzzword. When I decided to write this post, I knew it would be difficult to give a name to the kinds of one-stop publishing project shops I’m describing.
To further complicate matters, a book author might be seeking an ebook publisher, a POD book publisher, or one capable of both.
Following are some of the companies that currently offer à la carte book publishing and marketing services. Not included are those specializing in custom book production alone, without the option of marketing or publicity components. I expect growth in this sector, so the list will soon be outdated. My point is to make writers aware of the existence of these kinds of à la carte publishing service providers, occasionally referred to as concierges. I am not offering any recommendations. The buyer alone is responsible for investigating the quality and reliability of these companies.
BiblioCrunch – New York, NY
[Added on May 13, 2013]
Blackstaff Press – Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
[Added on August 3, 2011]
Concierge Marketing, Inc. – Omaha, NE
FastPencil, Inc. – Campbell, CA
[Added on July 3, 2011]
Flying Pig Media – Arlington, VA
[Added on July 12, 2011]
Greenleaf Book Group – Austin, TX
PubHub – Quincy, MA
Second City Books Premier Author Services – Palatine, IL
The Silloway Press – Columbia, MD
Not included in the list above are the big subsidy or vanity publishing businesses like Author Solutions, the Jenkins Group, PublishAmerica, and their many subsidiaries, which specialize in expensive publishing packages. In fact, I avoided listing any company that advertised publishing packages. All of the bigger companies, however, are likely to atomize their offerings and re-brand to reach a larger market if their profits take a dive. Likewise, the smaller companies could evolve into something more like Author Solutions.
Let me know if you’ve found other companies offering à la carte book production and marketing services. I think they should be much easier to discover online, and it would be convenient if all of them listed their rates up front.