Monday, April 14, 2014

Best Self Publishing Companies

Today I was asked a rather complicated question: "What are the best self publishing companies?" Now, of course I'm the owner of self publishing company MindStir Media, so my advice on this matter is definitely biased. She knew that and I didn't want to just come out and say, "Hey, MindStir is the best, of course!" Instead I answered with: "Let's instead discuss the traits of a top self-publishing company in my opinion. There are many self publishing companies on the Internet, but not all of them are created equal..." I then explained the traits she should look for in a self publishing company and also explained that it'll ultimately be up to her to determine which company is the best based on that information. She thanked me for the valuable information and we scheduled another call for the future.

My point with all of this is that "best" is subjective. You must first have a clear set of criteria in place in order to eventually be able to ascertain who is the "best" (my compare self-publishing companies chart kind of does a nice job of this). I think it's important for people to first be educated about the self-publishing industry and then make up their own minds about all the companies out there... What's that old adage? Knowledge is power? I'd have to agree!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Children Book Publishers

It's been my experience that reputable children book publishers all provide these three crucial children's book publishing offerings:

1. Illustration services via professional childrens book illustrators. I've blogged before on the importance of high quality children's book illustrations and my opinion hasn't changed: Your children's book must have professional high quality illustrations if you want to have any chance in the highly competitive children's book market.

2. Reputable childrens book publishers also offer different book format options. Essentially you should be able to choose hardcover, softcover and/or ebook formats. My internal sales figures show that print is still dominant in the children's book market, so make sure not to skip print. My advice is usually to publish childrens books in multiple book formats if possible.

3. If you're looking to publish a childrens book you should also be sure to align yourself with a children's book publisher that prints in full-color. Believe it or not, I've seen publishers only offer black and white printing (for the interior). That sort of publisher would obviously not be a good fit for your children's book containing beautiful, colorful illustrations.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Self-Publishing: A Brief Overview

self publishing

One of the biggest aspects of self publishing that sets it apart from traditional book publishing is the fact that with self-publishing you remain in control. The best self publishing companies -- like MindStir Media, for instance -- allow you to have creative control over your final product. This means you call the shots with respect to your book cover design as well as your interior book design. It also means that the content of your book, the actual text, will remain intact and unchanged. Many traditionally published authors will tell you that they dislike how traditional publishers, particularly the editors, ultimately decide which text will stay and which text will go. As an author myself I can tell you that I would never want to be overruled by an editor. It's one thing to receive professional suggestions from an editor; it's another thing entirely to be controlled by an editor. With professional editing via self publishing services the author will usually see track changes and get to approve or reject the editor's changes. The control is still with you the author!

Another huge difference between traditional publishing and self-publishing is the speed to market. Even if you land a deal with a traditional publisher you'll probably have to wait 1-2 years for your book to be released. Self-publishing, on the other hand, can be done in as quickly as a few weeks -- or if you're really serious and want to take advantage of professional self-publishing services you're looking at about 30-90 days to the launch.

One more fact that originally attracted me to self-publishing is that you get to keep your publishing rights. With a traditional contract, you essentially give away your publishing rights by signing an exclusive contract with the publisher. For the duration of your contract you won't be in control and you won't be able to publish anywhere else. If the book doesn't do well in the market you'll basically need to wait for the contract to expire before you're able to seek publishing alternatives.

The final example of self-publishing superiority is in the profits. You might see 10% royalties from a traditional book publisher, while self-publishing, depending on the scheme you choose, could put 100% royalties in your pocket.

So that's self-publishing in a nutshell -- not everything there is to know about self-publishing but instead a brief overview that should prove helpful.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Best Christian Book Publishers

best christian book publishers

The best Christian book publishers in the USA all have several things in common:
  • Top Christian book publishers focus on being God-centered and ethical in their business practices. 
  • The best Christian book publishing companies also specialize in publishing Christian books that glorify God and grow the Kingdom of God.
  • Leading Christian book publishers in the USA also ensure that their Christian books are readily available through popular retail outlets such as and Barnes & Noble. 
If you're a Christian author searching for a Christian book publisher, I encourage you to keep the aforementioned info in mind during your search!

top self publishing company

Ebook Formatting Services

ebook formatting services
Photo by Maria Elena, Flickr
On a daily basis I hear from authors who want to publish ebooks. Like most people, those authors realize that ebooks are growing more and more popular. And even though we still live in a predominantly print world (in terms of books), the ebook format should still receive a lot of attention from authors trying to find success. But as an author you should be diligent in choosing the right ebook formatting services company...

There are plenty of ebook publishing services out there that will throw your ebook together using automated software, kind of like putting your book through a meat grinder, but is that really the type of attention your book deserves? Of course the answer is no! Each book is different and professional ebook conversion services do not use automated software. Ebook formatting, just like print book formatting, needs plenty of actual human attention and intervention. Particularly professional human attention.

Do not skimp on your ebook design. Readers will notice and put your book down. Invest in professional ebook formatting services to ensure that you leave a strong first impression with readers!

top self publishing company

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Compare Self-Publishing Companies

A couple days ago I focused on the different traits to look for in a self-publishing company. The MindStir Media website now includes a chart that helps compare self-publishing companies with MindStir. The chart reveals that MindStir is the clear winner when comparing MindStir's self-publishing packages against the packages of other self-publishing companies. Not only is MindStir's most popular package less expensive than the competition, but the MindStir Gold package also includes something that all the other self-publishing companies do not: ongoing mentoring from a bestselling author. This clearly separates MindStir from all the rest and makes MindStir a top self-publishing company!

top self publishing company

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Traits of a Top Self-Publishing Company

top self publishing company
I'm biased, of course, because I own self-publishing company MindStir Media -- but, nevertheless, I believe there are several important traits to look for when selecting a top self-publishing company to work on your book...

  • Custom book design: Your cover design is crucial to the success of your book. Books are judged by their covers, so don't skimp on the design of your book. Make sure you choose a self-publishing company that can commit to creating a custom cover for your book. 
  • Control: Only work with a self-publishing company that allows you to call the shots. This means the company should take your book design vision into account and ensure that you're happy with the final product. Some self-publishing companies, like MindStir Media, even allow unlimited book design revisions. Control is also supremely important with respect to the editing of your book. It's ideal to receive feedback from a professional editor, but you as the author should be able to overrule the editor. It's your book after all. A self-publishing company shouldn't be allowed to change even one word of your manuscript without your being able to accept or reject each change.
  • Keep all rights: A top self-publishing company will allow you to retain all publishing rights and copyright. 
  • Worldwide book distribution: Some of the cheap, less reputable self-publishing companies either offer no distribution at all or very little distribution. It's important to have your book widely available to the public. Online retail outlets should include,, at the very least. At MindStir Media, we distribute books to around 30,000 wholesalers, retailers and booksellers in over 100 countries.
top self publishing company

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Top 5 Most Influential Authors on Social Media 2014

Photo by Jason A. Howie, Flickr
In my humble opinion, these authors rank as the top 5 most influential authors on social media. Other authors should model their social media efforts after the folks on this list. They all have incredibly popular blogs as well as impressive presences on the top social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Most importantly, all of them have also successfully leveraged social media to sell thousands (or millions) of copies of their books, making them bestsellers. Without further ado, here they are!

1. Guy Kawasaki - Twitter: 1.4 million | Facebook: 237k | Google+: 5.7 million 

Guy's impressive following on Twitter and Google+, along with other social media sites, is comprised of over 7 million people. He's probably one of the biggest social media influencers on the planet. He's written twelve books, with his latest three -- Ape, Enchantment, and What the Plus! -- all enjoying great success due to strong social media campaigns.

2. Gary Vaynerchuk - Twitter: 1 million | Facebook: 153k | Google+: 1.9 million

Gary has arguably more experience in social media than any other author on this list. He started his video podcast, Wine Library TV, back in 2006. Crush It!, The Thank You Economy, and Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook all focus on the power of social media in business, and Gary used social media to catapult those titles on to numerous bestseller lists. He's also the owner of the highly successful social media brand consulting agency, VaynerMedia.

3. Tim Ferriss - Twitter: 475k | Facebook: 210k | Blog: 25,000+ subscribers

The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body, and The 4-Hour Chef have sold millions of copies worldwide. He aggressively uses his blog and other social media sites to sell copies of his books as well as garner reviews. Not only are his book marketing techniques quite intriguing and helpful, but his work less and live more lifestyle has transformed many lives.

4. Seth Godin - Twitter: 352k | Facebook: 239k | Google+: 123k

Seth has authored fifteen books, twelve of which are bestsellers. His blog is highly trafficked and his loyal followers connect with him there on the blog as well as other major social media sites.

5. Michael Hyatt - Twitter: 213k | Facebook: 35k | Blog: 381k subscribers

Michael's blog "helps leaders leverage influence" and with over 381,000 subscribers, it's one of the most renowned blogs in the world. His most successful book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, is a step-by-step guide to building a successful online platform through the power of social media. The book spawned his Platform University where he uses specialized classes, tutorials and actionable lessons to teach members how to grow their platform. Michael also runs a highly popular weekly podcast, This Is Your Life.

This list has been compiled by J.J. Hebert, bestselling author & president of Mindstir Media book publishing and is accurate as of 2-16-2014. None of the above authors are affiliated with MindStir Media book publishing company or author J.J. Hebert.

Top Self Publishing Company