There are a variety of self-publishers out there, all with varying fee structures and packages. Some have what appear to be very low costs but take a large percentage of royalties, while others require a very high up-front investment and a lower percentage of royalties. Whichever path looks right for you, be sure to have clarity as to exactly what is included in the services your are purchasing. Many so called self-publishers will hook the unsuspecting author in with apparently low costs to get started, only to later spring the news on the author that editing or some other service the author thought he/she had purchased is needed and will cost a large additional fee. Another item to be wary of is the publishing company that holds hostage the work they perform for you. One very unscrupulous company out there has language hidden in their contract whereby the unsuspecting author is required to pay an additional fee of over $1000 in order to obtain digital files of their own book! These unfortunate authors usually learn this upon trying to part ways with the publisher and move to another publisher (because of the horrible experience they had with the first publisher)- a last and final insult added to injury. Thus it is critical that you are contractually assured the rights to not only your book but to any materials prepared by your publisher that are related to your book (high-resolution PDF page files for publishing, cover art, etc.). Publishers like this try to “low ball” you initially with an appealing fee to get started, but then they will gouge you down the road with add-on fees and by holding your work hostage.
Also be wary of low fee structures that brag about the low cost that the publisher will extend to you when you order copies of your own book from the publisher. These publishers are not really publishers at all, but rather they are printers masquerading as publishers. A real publisher, like Page Publishing of New York City, does not own a printing facility and has no interest in printing books and selling them back to the author. A real publisher’s only interest is in selling the author’s book to the public at large, for the benefit of the author and the publisher. Don’t be fooled by a printer in disguise who holds themselves out as a “publisher” and advises you to buy large quantities of your own book so that you can sell them at book signings, church groups, flea markets, etc. The whole point of being a published author and working with a publishing house- aside form the pride that goes along with it- is for you to not have to engage in actually selling your book yourself- that is the publisher’s job!