Red flag blows in the wind with blue sky behind, showing idea that writers should be wary of book publisher red flags.

Finding a good book publisher used to be easy. There were only a handful, so you didn’t have many options. Of course, getting published was borderline impossible, but at least you knew where to turn. Today, new book publishing companies crop up weekly. While many of them do great work and treat their authors well, others are just out for a quick buck. If you’re looking to publish your book, here are three red flags to be wary of. If you see any of them, run!

1. They Won’t Tell You the Price

No matter how large a company is, everyone should know something about the cost of services. Sure, your final publishing investment will vary based on your needs, but there is likely a base rate to publish. Everyone in the company should know what that is. And they should be willing to tell authors.

Before investing time to determine whether a certain publisher is a good fit for your book, call the publisher. Ask about their base rates. If someone answers the phone and won’t give a price, scratch that publisher off your list.

Some publishers don’t allow phone operators to answer questions about cost to publish. They only take addresses to send out free publishing kits. Don’t want a free publishing kit? Don’t expect any answers.

These companies may produce a fine end product, but if you can’t get easy answers about cost upfront, don’t expect easy answers for the rest of your publishing journey.

2. Their Book Covers Are Mediocre

Take a look at a publishing company’s previously published books. Do the covers look good? Or do they use boring fonts and generic, stock photos?

If their current books look mediocre, don’t expect more out of yours. If you’re unsure whether their covers look good, compare them to book covers produced by major publishers like Penguin Random House.

Does your potential publisher produce covers of the same quality? If not, move along. Remember—the cover is the first thing potential readers see. Without a strong cover, your book doesn’t stand a chance in the marketplace.

3. They Make Promises They Can’t Keep

When you publish your book, you want to sell as many copies as possible. Some publishers take advantage of your desire and make massive promises to lure you in. Some offer some marketing services and promise they’ll aid in those sales.

Just be careful. Unless a publisher can prove their marketing efforts pay dividends for all their authors, the marketing they offer is just marketing.

No matter what marketing a publishing company offers, your book’s success is in your hands. To sell books, you’ve got to work at it. Otherwise, any marketing services a publishing company offers are useless.

If a publisher promises you’ll sell tons of copies in no time, grab your bags and hit the road.

Avoiding Book Publisher Red Flags

If you’re looking for clear pricing, a catalog of books with design rivaling major publishers, and a promise to be open and honest every step along the way, Argyle Fox Publishing may be the publisher for you. Take a look around or—if you’re ready, submit your manuscript for consideration.