Recently, we were approached by a Sydney publishing consultant who had a client with a book he wanted published via print-on-demand in a hurry and in eBook formats in not so much of a hurry.

Our consultant friend wanted to see if she’d given her client the right advice about how best to proceed, so she shared a quote she’d received from a Sydney eBook publisher that she’d already accepted on behalf of her client, admitting that in retrospect she probably should have asked us about it in the first instance.

To the naked eye, the quote seemed reasonable enough – if you didn’t know what questions to ask.

There was a component for layout & design, leading to the printing of 100 POD copies.

Plus a dollar figure for eBook conversion.

And another one for distribution to online sites.

Over and out. Rather minimalist, eh?

I let my consultant friend know the questions she should have asked before signing on the dotted line. Add these to your toolbox before venturing into this arena yourself.

Let’s assume the publisher is experienced and has done this before. And is up on the latest methods and software required to produce a professional result.

Quality Control (editorial). Do you proofread the work before it goes to press, or before it’s uploaded to your eBook distributors? If mistakes are caught after the fact (yours or mine), who pays to get them corrected?

Print-on-demand (POD) publication. Who will print the book? Do they simply print books for you, or do they have a global network? If your POD company is global, your book will gain access to a larger market. Do you offer volume discounts if I order more than a few books? Does the POD company archive the book master? Is there a service charge for reprints?

eBook conversion. How many formats will you produce when you convert my file, and what tests do you run to ensure the file will work on the most common reading devices (eBook readers, tablets and smartphones?) Do you meta-tag (keyword) the file to improve its “discoverability”?

Distribution. Who do you send the eBook file to? How do you account for sales – and when? What are the royalty / revenue sharing arrangements?

Don’t be shy – ask the questions. Your publisher should have answers at the ready. If they don’t, you might want to shop around.

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