Working with book packagers and consultants

If you do not feel comfortable taking on the tasks of managing production of your book -- for example, hiring and supervising an editor, designer, indexer, printer, etc. -- consider using a book packager or consultant.

For a fee, a book packager or consultant, also known as a book shepherd, will handle any or all of these tasks. They are different from subsidy publishing companies, because they are not the publisher-of-record for your book, but only service providers. Thus, your book has the imprimatur of a commercially published book and has a much better chance of being reviewed and accepted by the commercial publishing world.

If you decide to hire a consultant, publishing your book will cost more than if you managed production yourself. However, a consultant might be a good investment if you really do not have the expertise. And, you can use the consultant as a teacher to learn the ropes, if you plan to manage self-publishing of other books yourself.

Here's a good a good article on book shepherds by writer/editor Lynne Marie Zerance.

Below is a list of book packagers and consultants from WexfordPress, a design and layout company and from Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual. His company also sells information kits to help self-publishers. Also, see the Independent Book Publishers Association suppliers directory for extensive lists of consultants and other professionals and services.

In deciding on a consultant or book packager, first list the services you will need. Then explore their Web sites to determine whether they offer those services and have experience in your genre of book. Contact consultants you are interested in and find out the cost of the package of services you want. Finally, ask them to give you references, preferably authors of your genre of book.

Book packagers and consultants: