Should You Self-Publish or Commercially Publish Your First Book?

You may have written your first book. The first thought that might come to your mind whenever you are about to write is whether you should publish the book on your own and watch how it performs. You may also contemplate about whether you should approach a few publishers and agents or not. Perhaps, you think it might be a good idea if you get in touch with some publishers and agents and if that does not work out, go for self-publishing.

  • So what would be your way forward?: A very important question that you should ask yourself at this juncture is whether the subject of your book has a national or broad appeal or is it on a topic that you are passionate about or expertise in. If you want to attract one of the traditional publishers, particularly a reputed one, you must have a book that caters to an already established genre and possess mass or commercial appeal. In case, your book is on a specialized topic, you can approach a publisher who is known in the market to specialize in that subject. Alternatively, you can simply decide to self-publish your work. If the book is written on a topic that you are highly passionate about, you might directly go for self-publishing.
  • What is the extent of control you desire to have on the process of publishing?: If you take a conventional way, you would have hired an agent who would definitely want that you edit your book prior to submission. Hopefully, you would also have a publisher who might ask you to do a revision of your work. You might not get approval for your cover and at times you might have only mutual consent on the title of your book. It means that, in case the publisher does not approve of the original title, you might have to reconsider it and arrive at one that can be agreed upon with the publisher. There might be limited control as far as the how the marketing of your book is conducted. When you approach a traditional publisher, you have to cede control on your book to some extent. However, it could be a great thing as you would be interacting with experts in the publishing industry who have years of experience behind them. Though, it is quite natural that you might sometimes get frustrated with some of those decisions that you do not really approve. On the other hand, while self-publishing the book, the entire control is vested upon you right from cover, edits, marketing, and title. Deciding whether you want to approach a traditional publisher or self-publish the book may not be alternative decisions always. You can approach some traditional publishers first, and it does not work out, can resort to self-publishing.
  • How capable are you at self-promotion?: There is no guarantee that a publisher is going to adequately promote your book, but they'll at least give you a bit of a boost at bare minimum. If you self-publish, you're entirely on your own. You don't necessarily have to be a social media maven or a celebrity in order to give your book the boost necessary to generate crucial word of mouth, but you're going to have to do something. The good thing is that if you are able to market yourself properly, you'll be able to profit much more then if you went with a traditional publisher. Not only that but you have the power to sell the foreign rights to your book and get paid right away instead of waiting around for the publishing company to write you a check.

While not always the right path, self-publishing is a very good way for an author to make a living. Traditional media has to change and adapt to survive in the 21st century and in a market which was once controlled by major publishing houses, the tides have turned and now the author has more say than in the past. So think carefully before you act, but know that you can be just as popular and just as profitable if you self-publish then go the more traditional route.

Printing should be integral aspect of any “Order Fulfillment” bureau

Crowdfunder or marketing departments are looking for a fulfillment partner who can understand their marketing needs, help keep their brand, bring creative reward items and most importantly have the experience. Many fulfillment companies are equipped to handle transaction mailing but do not have the print marketing expertise. On the other hand, companies expert in printing t-shirts or giveaways lack a complete fulfillment solution.

Print fulfillment
A fulfillment organization must have the following expertise if they are looking to fulfill for crowdfunders. Things to look for in an above-average fulfillment house:
  • Dedicated Graphic Design Team: Good design is an essential part of presenting your business and governs your marketing. A fulfillment house that has a dedicated graphic team can provide a constructive eye on your print element and give input on what would print effectively. A good graphic team could make sure whether a particular font or text size will print correctly or catch simple spelling or grammar errors. These simple corrections could save an organization from costly mistakes. A dedicated graphic team can preflight check the artwork and also if the artwork is setup on correct template. Also, proper archival system to ensure that the files are available for future print runs if needed and future re-runs should look same as the first run.
  • Onsite T-shirt Production: Custom printed t-shirts are not only an important giveaways but also used by organizations to raise additional money. A custom printed shirt offered for sale whether to raise money for charity or an artist selling shirts to his/her fan base; these custom printed shirts must be produced cost effectively. Most custom t-shirt print house fulfills custom printed T-shirt on demand which is expensive and does not help organization raise money effectively. A good fulfillment house should have ability to produce custom printed shirts onsite so the shirts can be printed with lower cost and quicker turnaround.
  • Promotional Printing: A good fulfillment must have a good print department. Catalogs, brochures, info and sample packs, branded premiums, and coupons are common examples of printed items used to promote a product or company. A promotional fulfillment program could be a one-time event or an ongoing campaign. Also, promotional fulfillment could be targeted at new prospects and/or existing customers. Other popular items distributed through print fulfillment programs include educational materials, repair and training manuals, sheet music, calendars…basically any printed item that is offered to consumers can be part of a print fulfillment program. A fulfillment department with print capability to help support these marketing initiatives.

here is huge value in a partner who has made the investments and connections to smoothly handle your future needs. The right fulfillment partner can do more than just pick and ship.

Places to Search on the Web for Fulfillment Services for Your Company

You’ve decided that outsourcing the fulfillment operation to a professional services company might be a good solution for your business, but you’re not exactly sure where to turn. More and more companies are turning to the Web to search for business services rather than some of the more traditional avenues. Searching online offers a speed of search that is unmatched by the other sources. Searches can even be done on your smart phone. In fact, nearly anything can be found by searching the Web. But be careful where you look during your search online for the best fulfillment services, as there are pros and cons to each methodology.

Search for a Company on the Search Engines

Many companies begin by searching for fulfillment services on Google, Yahoo, or Bing. This is a good place to start, as there is a wealth of information to be uncovered using the search engines. In particular, try to search for fulfillment companies that reside in your targeted location, and that specialize in your specific commodity type. For example, if you sell apparel related products in your local area, you can more precisely find companies with that focus by incorporating those keywords into your search criteria. Furthermore, make sure that you search at least a couple of pages deep, since you might uncover a company that fits your ideal criteria but doesn’t show up on the first page of results.

But be extremely careful when performing this type of search. Most frequently, the companies that you’ll find at the top of the search engines are usually the larger fulfillment providers that have more marketing dollars and budget to spend on ensuring that their sites rank highly for keyword searches. You may not as easily find the smaller and mi-tier fulfillment providers using this methodology since they may not have the funds to advertise or they just may not have the know how in terms of things that they can do to get their sites to show up for these searches. And one last piece of advice for any companies that you find using a search of this type – make sure to put them through your strictest due diligence process, since there is no way to guarantee that the company you find will be a high quality provider. Anyone can say whatever they want on their website, so be certain to validate their claims and research their company thoroughly.

Linked In and Social Networks Help Get

Social networks are such a popular place to find information and recommendations for products and services. In particular, Linked In is a professional business social networking site, geared specifically towards businesses. If you have a large enough and trusted network, you could ask them if they have any recommendations for fulfillment vendors that might be of interest. M of the social networks have specific pages geared towards topics of interest to people. In the case of Linked In, they have a number of “groups” where users give information on their experiences with service providers. Of particular interest would be anyone in your network that has actually used a fulfillment service in the past. This could prove to be invaluable – not only because they might have a good company for you to talk to, but also because they may have some insights into the most important things to look for in a good company.

Make sure, when using the social networks, that you properly consider the source of any referrals. Especially with the use of Linked In groups, make sure that anyone who recommends a potential fulfillment provider isn’t financially affiliated with that provider – such as an employee or sales rep. The value of the social network is to find real references from real people – not additional sales pitches from the companies themselves. Furthermore, it’s important to note: just because a fulfillment company was a good fit for one company doesn’t mean that they be the best fit for your company. Remember to dig deeper and find out the specialization of the referral so that you can best access whether or not it will be good for your business.

Referral Sites Provide Good Leads

There are a handful of sites that rigorously screen service providers and then connect you with a handful of companies that would be a good fit for your project. One such company that helps in the warehousing and fulfillment industry is The great thing about this service is that they’ve collected a wealth of information about fulfillment companies throughout the US and Canada, and they collect all of your project information and get you in touch with the best companies for your needs. Because they are unbiased and not affiliated with any of their member companies (and they don’t collect commissions on any of the deals that result from companies that they connect), they are a trusted source for recommendations.

There are a few other companies out there that offer a similar service within the logistics industry. However, because the screening process and unbiased nature of some of these other alternatives aren’t as apparent, you might consider these sites at your own risk. While being instantly connected with companies can be a good thing, it is risky if the providers haven’t been seriously vetted first. Furthermore, sites that make connections and earn a commission on any deals struck will ultimately result in higher priced services fees, which will hurt your bottom line.

Directories and Other Articles – A Few Words of Caution

Because fulfillment directories and articles on fulfillment services companies are plentiful on the Web, it’s important for you to use your better judgment when reviewing and accessing their content. First, directories are usually paid websites where companies are listed for a fee. Therefore, the only reason that companies might be a part of the directory site is because they paid a fee. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part directories require payment and should be viewed as such. Also, directories oftentimes don’t keep up with their listings as frequently as needed, so the list may include companies that have gone out of business or changed in scope substantially. Second, there are a number of articles out there claiming that they know the top 3 fulfillment providers or compare 2-3 of the “best” companies. Again, these are usually paid articles rather than unbiased pieces – you should definitely “take them with a grain of salt”. There are literally thousands of fulfillment companies in the US – there is no way that 3 companies are the most ideally suited provider for all businesses!

A Last Few “Off the Beaten Path” Sources

If you still haven’t found a good option, you might take your search offline and talk to some of your business associates or give the local Chamber of Commerce a call. Especially when searching for a company in an unpopulated area, you may not find adequate resources on the Internet. Sometimes, either a close associate or the local Chamber of Commerce will have an idea of a local option that you weren’t able to find yourself.

What To Do Once You Find Your Short List

After you’ve compiled a short list of potential vendors, your job isn’t yet complete. The fun task of determining the best company for your business has just begun. No matter which avenue you choose above, it’s important that you perform adequate due diligence on any potential provider. Due diligence includes the following: visiting the facility if possible, speaking to different staff at the company, talking to references of people who are currently using the company, speaking with trade references to determine financial stability, validating any awards, memberships or claims of the company, obtaining a demo of any of the systems that they will use, and any other method that you can think of to verify that the company will perform the task as claimed. It’s a lot of work, but the fulfillment operation is vitally important to the success of your company. Take your time and you’ll be able to find a good fit. The more time you spend searching, the less time you’ll hopefully have to spend managing fulfillment crisis or even worse – switching companies after a bad experience.

Five Advantages You Can Gain From Product Fulfillment Services

Product fulfillment services offer to make the shipping and ordering processes easier and let you focus on your product development and product marketing. Fulfillment services have been gaining popularity due to the growing number of successful crowd funded ventures on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. A good fulfillment partner can help you grow and this could be the most important decision of your start up.

Product Fulfillment services
The following are the main advantages of having a product fulfillment service.
  • Reduces storage and processing costs: One of the main benefits of using a product fulfillment service is that it saves on storage costs. You need not invest large amounts of money in renting warehouses or purchasing software, equipment, personnel and other such services for your products. You can continue to run your operation from home, or incubator office space.
  • Reduces shipping costs: Although it generally depends upon number of variables such as package type, shipping destination and your business volume - you know a good fulfillment service provider will guide with the best shipping method, help you save shipping cost. They are also experts in distribution so you need not search for the cheapest or best shipping option on your own.
  • Saves time: The reduced focus on mundane tasks means that you have the time and energy to focus on the important aspects of your business. It will help you focus on your product development, sales & marketing and business strategy. As a result, your business will have a higher chance of increasing its revenue. Most importantly, a fulfillment service provide has the resources and trained personnel to get things done fast.
  • Improves efficiency: The professionalism of product fulfillment services makes your packaging and distribution channel streamlined and efficient. Your inventory can be quickly and reliably packaged, shipped and delivered without requiring you to pay close attention to the details. You don’t have to worry about maintaining inventory of boxes, or other supplies.
  • Gives you access to professional and latest technology: Product fulfillment service providers have access to the best software, equipment and professional personnel for packaging and shipping. Such services can prove to be costly if you invest in them individually. Even when you have purchased the equipment and software, you will need to find the right person who is capable of working with it. A simple mistake could cost you in return shipments and expensive postage.

Companies that go in for product fulfillment services are able to leverage the advantages given above to save money, time and the effort of streamlining these processes. Such a decision gives them a significant advantage over their competitors and helps them build a more sustainable, long-term business.


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Phone: 925-579-5000
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Acutrack Contact
350 Sonic Avenue
Livermore, CA 94551

Please contact us:

Toll-Free: 888-234-3472
Phone: 925-579-5000
Fax: 925-579-5001

Request for Quote!

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About Acutrack

Acutrack is a technology-driven fulfillment house,
with a specialization in publishing any product needed
for your business (such as books, CDs/DVDs/USBs,
marketing collaterals, and much more).

 In this manner, we serve as a one-stop logistics extension
of your business.


Fulfillment centers:
Livermore, CA
Cincinnati, OH