Wheatmark is unique among self-publishers: it’s a kind of hybrid self-publisher/publisher. Not that they turn anyone away – which is the main dividing line between a traditional publisher and a self-publisher – but they do give each author more personal contact. So Wheatmark acts as a traditional publisher would: they try to help books get sold. As a business model, this makes sense – if books get into the hands of more people, more new authors will want to sign up for the press.
Otherwise, self-publishing is kind of an isolated process. On the one hand, this is good news: you can just upload a book to Lulu, get it printed, and receive a printed book, without having to deal with middlemen or a submission process. However, if you’re more serious about getting actual readers for your book then Wheatmark is a better choice than Lulu or other major print on demand publisher like iUniverse, which gets so many books coming through their system that it can still feel like a book publishing factory line.
When you look through Wheatmark’s bookstore, you can see quality of its books. On a site like iUniverse, some books will be professionally-designed, whereas others will look self-published through and through. Wheatmark has more the feeling of a real publisher because each book is well-designed and unique – the books aren’t just the variant on the same template. The same goes for their interior design, as the books aren’t all designed with the same interior template as well.
Wheatmark’s Marketing Programs
Wheatmark will consult with each writer about their desires for the book in terms of marketing and cover design. Their marketing packages are similar to other marketing packages you’ll see offered by other self-publishers. Firstly, Wheatmark offers an ISBN and distribution through the main web-based book outlets (Amazon, etc.) There are also optional extra features, such as marketing analysis ($299), press kit ($449), or postcards ($349).
Some of these services seem a bit pricey, especially domain registration for $99, which can be handled much cheaper independently. It would be nice to see a company like Wheatmark include some of these marketing services as part of a basic package to really draw the line between their self-publishing packages and the major brands like Author House. Wheatmark’s “Great Expectations” Program, in which Wheatmark will kick in additional marketing efforts if a book sells 2000 copies, is nice, but 2000 copies is a tall order.
That said, self-publishing has a long way to go to be taken seriously. Any reviewer will see a brand like iUniverse – an immediately recognizable name – and this will reflect automatically on the quality of the book (even if it’s a masterpiece). If you publish with a publisher like Wheatmark it is:
- Not necessarily even recognizable as a self-publisher.
- If it is recognized, a reviewer will know you took extra care with the book and didn’t publish a book at the most obvious source.
These factors, matched with Wheatmark’s customer support before and after a book is released, as well as accepting returns from bookstores of unsold books – a prerequisite for getting a book into real-world bookstores – make Wheatmark something you should seriously consider over the major self-publishing companies.