Part 3: Changing my mind about self-publishing: How to Signal con’t

So without denigrating everything else it publishes, how does a self-publisher clearly signal an assurance of superior quality to booksellers, critics, bloggers and readers? The publisher of A Perfect Blindness iUniverse uses a special recognition program, starting with the “Editor’s Choice” designation, moving on to “Rising Star” and culminating with the “Star” designation. So, while all books from iUniverse are published under the iUniverse imprint, some include modifications and additions to the imprint’s colophon. These designate that the book has some special quality.

Each of level of special recognition makes unique changes to the standard iUniverse colophon, which appears on the book’s back cover. This puts the most obvious element of the signaling package on the book itself. Each designation then has its own special sections of the iUniverse bookstore exclusively for these high quality books, reinforcing the signaling on the book itself. Each level of the program, which builds upon the previous, gives the author access to special support resources and promotion through iUniverse’s own social media channels. Any book reaching at least the “Rising Star” designation initiates iUniverse to prepare a sales package for Barns & Noble, which then considers the book for possible inclusion in their brick and mortar stores in addition to their online marketplace. In other words, iUniverse starts spending its own time and money backing the book.

But this happens only after a book makes it into the program, and how much support depends on how high on the ladder of designation the book climbs in the program.

Simply getting accepted into the program in the first place is not easy—by design.

Next time: the hurdles.

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