To the untrained eye, one publishing company is as good as another. Essentially, they are both publishing books. However, as with everything else, there are qualities that can make a publishing company great while others trundle along in mediocrity. The quality of a publishing company affects not just authors who publish with them but also their customers. Here are some of the factors that distinguish good publishing companies from bad publishing companies.
Good Publishing Companies Have a Deep Understanding of Their Subjects
Publishing a book is not just about taking an author’s writing and printing it. There is considerable work involved in ensuring that the writing is indeed suitable for the market. While academic books do go through verification with a peer review, that happens in the final stages of production. Good book publishing firms invest in editors with the ability to guide the author with their own knowledge. Most editors need to be proficient in the language they are publishing in. However, they also need knowledge of the subject the author is writing about to know if the information is accurate.
A bad publishing company would not be as conscientious about knowing their subject. This would be reflected in the quality of the books they publish. Whether it is the language or the understanding of the subject, the books would not be well-constructed.
Good Publishing Companies Pay Attention to Details
Details can affect the larger picture more than most people realise. An academic book with typographical, grammatical, or spelling errors shows shoddy editing. Good publishing companies would never allow such little problems to pass their scrutiny. One of the ways of identifying a bad publishing company is to browse through their books and see if you can spot any editing mistakes. A reputable publishing house will always aim to print a book without any flaws.
Academic publishing houses need to go the additional mile to make sure every bit of information they print is accurate. As mentioned earlier, it helps if the editor has an understanding of the subject the author is talking about. In addition, good academic publishing houses focus on an expert panel. This expert panel reviews the book in detail to weed out inaccuracies and errors. This is the reason why Manakin Press invests in putting up a panel of experts who are at the top of their fields.
Good Publishing Companies Have a Deep Understanding of Their Market
Understanding the market isn’t only about figuring out which titles and subjects would sell. It is also about knowing what your readers need or want. Mediocre publishing companies look at what is selling and follow the leaders in the market. Good publishing companies find out what the market lacks and try to plug that gap. Academic publishing houses like Manakin Press not only actively have a finger on the pulse of the market but also seek the content that is absent from the shelves.
In addition to the kind of subjects that the market is looking for, good publishing houses also know how to present that content. They work in close proximity with authors to mould their writing into what would be appreciated by the audience. This does not mean they try to force the writer away from his writing style. On the contrary they encourage them to hone their skills in a way that makes it more marketable. This sort of support is lacking or not enough in bad publishing companies.
Good Publishing Companies Encourage Teamwork and Collaboration
Most people see success to mean pulling the others down in order to get ahead. Truly successful people are those who realise that you cannot grow in isolation. This is why some of the best publishing houses are built on teamwork. This teamwork is both within the company and without.
Multiple editors work together to ensure the success of the team within the company. This means helping each other out and sharing each other’s work load. They manage time and coordinate with each other to ensure the company’s success. A bad publishing company would be riddled with individuals working in isolation.
Good publishing companies also ensure the success of the people who collaborate with them. Foremost amongst these are the authors that are publishing with them. These publishers will help the authors under their care with support during the writing process. They will extensively and aggressively market the books to ensure higher sales. This level of support is why Manakin Press is considered one of the best academic publishing companies for first-time authors to work with.
In addition, such companies also work together with clients and distributors. The aim is to provide customer satisfaction. They also try to ensure the clients get the best out of their collaboration. This includes taking into consideration client needs and accommodating them as far as possible. For example, Manakin Press provides custom publishing as an option for our clients. We also provide our distributors a great deal of flexibility when ordering in bulk. All this goes into improving the business relations between us and our collaborators.
Good Publishing Companies are Passionate for Books
No good business can be successful if the people running it don’t care for their product. This is why it is necessary for any publishing house to be passionate about books. It is this love for books that translates into ensuring great content packaged in top quality material. Good publishing companies actually care about the books they are producing. This passion is visibly missing in bad publishing companies.
Bad Publishing Companies Lack Vision and Do Not Take Risks
As mentioned in a previous point about market understanding, good book printing firms know what the market lacks and try to provide it. This requires vision and quite a bit of risk taking. If a subject is not available in the market, is it not there because no one wants it or because no one thought of it? There is also the question of whether no one wants it because they never realised it was an option. Vision is what drives the good publishing companies into constantly taking risks with content.
Manakin Press, to give an example, is constantly looking for niche book subjects and obscure disciplines. We have realised that most of the time mediocre publishing companies do not print a subject because it is not in the market. We, on the other hand, take the risk and give to the market what it is missing.
Good Publishing Companies Possess the Flexibility to Adapt With Market Needs
Vision and risk taking are only possible if the company has the flexibility to adapt with changing needs of the market. This might mean having the ability to put together an expert panel in a subject no one has written about at short notice. It could mean bringing in the technology to print books in digital formats to fulfil a market need. Whether it is content, technology or infrastructure, the best publishing firms position themselves to accommodate any changes in the market needs.
Good Publishing Companies Invest Time in Networking
Publishing is like any other business and a very important aspect of succeeding at any business is networking. It is not just enough to sit in your office and wait for authors and distributors to come to you. Good publishing companies actively participate in events like book fairs, conferences, and seminars. This is not just to get business but also to contribute. Any good publishing company realises that they have an obligation to society. Sharing their experience through seminars and workshops is one way to do it.
Writing workshops and seminars is also a great way to encourage new and potential authors. You interact with them before they start approaching publishers, and give them tips on writing successfully. You can find potential authors writing about subjects no one else is writing about and start a dialogue with them.
Networking is undoubtedly the best way to find new clients in the form of distributors, libraries, and educational institutes looking for new study material etc. A good publishing company will always find new ways of growing and improving business through networking. A bad publishing company would never grow at the same rate because it will not go the extra mile.
Good Publishing Companies Have the Infrastructure Available
Publishing houses that are poised for success will always have the infrastructure available to get them there. It is not enough to just have the bare minimum. Good publishing houses will invest in the best. Quality and high standards would be visible in every aspect of a good publishing firm. This starts from producing great content, moves to the latest in the printing technology and even incorporates a strong distribution network.
Manakin Press, for example, tries to stay on top of technological advancements in the field. We have state-of-the-art equipment for printing. We also publish digital formats of our books. To ensure our books reach the widest audience, we have offices in the UAE and UK. These are supplemented with warehouses in strategic cities to get maximum coverage in the shortest possible time.
There are a lot of factors that can set apart good publishing companies from the mediocre and bad ones. When looking for a publishing house to do business with in any capacity, it is best to know what these factors are.