Home / Publisher Reviews / Dog Ear Publishing Review

Dog Ear Publishing Review

Dog Ear Publishing is a US author solutions service located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Formed in 2004 by co-owners, Ray Robinson, Miles Nelson and Alan Harris, all three have had varied careers in the book world, from Waldenbooks, Pearson Education Publishers, as well as backgrounds in book packaging and the graphic design and print industries. This mix of both production and publication certainly provides the kind of firm foundation for an author solutions service many other companies do not possess.

“All too often, authors are lured by a low up front cost – but, it’s not the publishing fees that ruin your profit, it’s the book printing costs! If you think your book will sell 100 units or less, then going with the least expensive book publisher is your best choice. Plan on selling some books? Click here to see why it is your cost of book printing that will make the MOST difference. Dog Ear Publishing is the book publisher that can help you sell MORE books.”

So, there is the Dog Ear Publishing pledge and pitch on behalf of their author solutions service. An admission that they may not suit every self-publishing author, particularly those who do not envisage high volume sales and are content perhaps to simply see their book in print for family and friends. It is a candid and fair admission—at $1099 on their cheapest deal—the desire for an author to hold a copy of their book could be found elsewhere for a hell of a lot cheaper if that is all that floats the author’s boat! Too many other companies try to be fair weather for all seasons when trying to attract self-publishing authors.

Ok, my first gripe—books. Not only does Dog Ear Publishing not support their own author bookstore page, but there is little or no representation of their authors’ books on the site. And no, I don’t consider the ‘Testimonial’ page an advertisement of their author’s books—that is commercial advocacy of their reputation and services, not actually selling books. All their book links point to Amazon.

I should qualify that Ray Robinson has launched a blog covering new releases from Dog Ear Publishing, though, I’m not sure of the strength of it above an author’s own blog or personal web page.

There are also some puzzling links on the Dog Ear Publishing site which baffle me a little, like this one.

http://www.dogearpublishing.net/resourcesbslists.aspx

This link is to the Amazon, Barnes & Noble, USA Today and New York Times bestsellers lists for the recent week! I know, I know, that’s what I was just asking myself—wouldn’t it be better to post a link to their own Dog Ear Publishing bestsellers considering there is more chance authors will be boosted by seeing their current title there? Perhaps this is simply a subtle indulgence in the self-publishing ‘dream’.

“Do Dream – You have a vision, an idea, a story. Express Yourself in Print! Dog Ear Publishing is where you can come to get inspired to begin your self-publishing journey – let us show you how to publish a book”

“Self Publishing has never been easier, faster or more profitable.”

However, Dog Ear Publishing are again a little more candid on their Insiders-Why Self-Publish page.

“Getting Rich – The vast majority of the books in the “traditional” publishing industry barely ever break even – and an even smaller percentage of self published books ever see a profit. A tiny minority of self published books are ever a big success or achieve fame.”

Dog Ear Publishing provide four publishing packages; Basic $1099, Professional $1699, Professional Plus $2199 and their top package, Masterpiece $3499. (Dog Ear has not implemented any price increases in over 12 months since we first did this review, May 2010)

The Basic is intended for authors coming in at what they describe as ‘entry level’.

Paperback or Hardcover format
Completely unique, custom interior and cover design
(Up to 30 interior images)
5 free paperback books or 5 hardcover (1 color); 5 color paperback (dependent upon format and page count)
Your own Author Representative who provides support throughout the publishing process
Book and author webpage in the Dog Ear Publishing website
Registration with all major online booksellers and national distributors
Registration with Books In Print database providing worldwide availability
Assignment of International Standard Book Number (ISBN)
Library of Congress control number and US Copyright information on the copyright page (to secure your copyright, click here)
Inclusion in the Google Book Search program

This is a strong basic package and even at $1099, it includes services like LCCN, Custom cover design and the option of hardback or paperback. Many other author solution services charge anything from $150 – $300 extra for the hardback availability, although, authors should note that it is one or the other here and not a combination. The ‘author book and web page on our site’ bothers me. There is nowhere on the Dog Ear Publishing website to access these pages other than links to Amazon, and if this is the likely case that the author pages are the hosted Amazon pages on Seller Central, then this is highly misleading and falls far short of what other competitors provide.

The Professional package adds on the following;

Up to 30 interior graphics and 10 tables (supplied by the author)
5 free paperback books or 5 hardcover books (dependent upon format and page count)
Consultation with a Dog Ear Publishing design professional
Aggressive Marketing Campaign that includes:
A Media Release created by Dog Ear Publishing’s copywriting staff and distributed to 500 targeted media outlets
Full-color Print Marketing Materials, including:
- 1,000 Business Cards – with a picture of your book and ordering information
- 100 Post Cards for mailing with a picture of your book and ordering information
- 10 Full-size Posters showing your book, your picture, and ordering information
A Custom, SEO Web Site with all the important aspects of your book that is optimized for search engine crawling by Google, Yahoo, MSN and others.

The unique website, together with the promotional materials and media press release (I would suggest the author have a hand in who gets some of these media press releases) seem reasonable for the extra $600.

The Professional Plus adds on the following;

Up to 50 interior graphics and 10 tables (supplied by the author)
5 free paperback books or 5 hardcover books (dependent upon format and page count)
Consultation with a Dog Ear Publishing design professional
Aggressive Marketing Campaign that includes:
A Media Release created by Dog Ear Publishing’s copywriting staff and distributed to 500 targeted media outlets
Full-color Print Marketing Materials, including:
- 1,000 Business Cards – with a picture of your book and ordering information
- 100 Post Cards for mailing with a picture of your book and ordering information
- 10 Full-size Posters showing your book, your picture, and ordering information
A Custom, SEO Web Site with all the important aspects of your book that is optimized for search engine crawling by Google, Yahoo, MSN and others.
An Author Store Shopping Cart to process customer orders and payments. This dramatically increases the profitability on your book.**

Unless I am missing something here, the author is paying an extra $500 for extra graphic images and a store shopping and payment facility. My own service provider offers this on my business website for an extra $5 a month, that’s $60 a year! Unless you have a colour book packed with images, this really isn’t worth it.

The Masterpiece adds on the following;

Total Design Customization that includes
- Up to 100 interior graphics or 20 tables (supplied by the author)
5 free paperback books or 5 free hardcover books (dependent upon format and page count)
Professional copyediting*
Aggressive Marketing Campaign that includes:
A Media Release created by Dog Ear Publishing’s copywriting staff and distributed to 1,000 targeted media outlets
Full-color Print Marketing Materials, including:
- 2,000 Business Cards – with a picture of your book and ordering information
- 250 Post Cards for mailing with a picture of your book and ordering information
- 10 Full-size Posters showing your book, your picture, and ordering information
A Custom, SEO Web Site with all the important aspects of your book that is optimized for search engine crawling by Google, Yahoo, MSN and others.
An Author Store Shopping Cart to process customer orders and payments. This dramatically increases the profitability on your book.**
A PPC Search Marketing Campaign – including up to 250 search terms and 5 ad categories that promote your book to search engine visitors and directs them to your store front or a specific page on your web site.

Again, further graphic allowance, more promotional materials, a double up on the amount of media press releases, but the sway here is the copy-editing. That alone can be worth $1000+. I would, however, advise any author considering this package to first seek the name, credentials and samples of the editor’s work before committing to handing over a cent. Also, ask Dog Ear Publishing for a free two or three page sample edit of your book from the editor. My own take on editing with author solution services is simply this—don’t buy it as part of a package service. Often you will find a better rate externally of the company, and either way, it is something authors should do before they approach author solution services. Meaning, the author should always try traditional paths to publication before deciding on self-publishing.

It should be noted Dog Ear publishing do say:

“Dog Ear Publishing has for many years provided editorial services to most of the “traditional” publishing houses. There are certain “standard” editorial processes each and every book receives when we do this work for a publisher. These processes include proofreading, copyediting, and/or development editing. Copyediting is the single most important service because it makes or breaks every book’s editorial success.”

Dog Ear Publishing also provide other services including expatiations and a Book Returns program, and promotional and marketing programs.

Authors receive a 40% discount on books they order from Dog Ear Publishing and retail prices range from an average of $12 – $15 for paperbacks. The below two links go into detail regarding royalties paid to an author.

http://www.dogearpublishing.net/Open-For-Business.aspx

http://www.dogearpublishing.net/resources-publishing-royalties.aspx

There is a benefit from purchasing Dog Ear publishing’s shopping cart option available in the Professional Plus package and Masterpiece. The author is making profit on all sales less Dog Ear Publishing’s print and print mark-up margin. While the print mark-up is not large by author solution service standards, it still comes out at about $1.50 – $2 per book (2010 print costs). Distribution sales through online markets will have to factor in the loss of an additional 40%+ margin off the retail price, though authors do have control over the retail price.

I do like Dog Ear Publishing. They approach the business of offering author solution services with a direct experience of book publishing, owners who reflect this experience and understanding, and a company who are accessible and frank about what they have to offer. You know this is a company you can pick up the phone and talk directly to the three people who are at the core of the business. I have a few small hang-ups about their lack of ‘book’ and author presence on their website and the fact that for the prices paid they could offer more author copies with their packages. But then, Dog Ear Publishing do not present themselves in anything but the position of a solid reputable author solutions service geared to offering reasonably strong packages and the inherent flexibility to deal with an author who wants very specific needs for the design and publication of their book. Dog Ear Publishing will also give the authors all materials relating to the design and production of a book in the event of the contract ceasing.

Biographies of Dog Ear Founders & Publishers:

Alan Harris
Miles Nelson
Ray Robinson

Also, Dog Ear Blog by Miles Nelson here.

RATING: 7/10