Compare Publishing Companies

In my last post I set out to compare self publishing companies based upon 4 of the top 5 self publishing reviews (sources I had introduced over the course of the past several weeks). I applied a numeric value to each company based upon their relative ranking in each source, and that resulted in the following result totals for the top 5 self publishing companies ranked side by side (out of a possible 34 points):

Outskirts Press     30 Points
Company 3            24 Points
Company 5            19 Points
Company 2            13 Points
Company 14          13 Points

Upon looking at that data, I realized that some sources were weighted more heavily than others, since each source didn’t share the same value system. One had a 13 point value system while another had a 4 point value system. So for the purposes of this next chart, I will apply a 10-point value system to each of the four sources to give each source equal weight and therefore arrive at a more accurate total:

The way one does that is as follows:

TopTen Reviews already has a 10 point system, so the points there remain the same.

Top Consumer Reviews has an 8 point system, which means each point is worth 1.25 points to reach a 10-point system. 

Top Self Publishing Firms has a 13 point value system, so to bring that into a 10-point system, each point actually is worth .77 points.

Previously I applied a 4 point value system to the categories in The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, but since one of those values was a negative number for the “publishers to avoid” category, in reality it was a 3 point system with an exception.  The decision now becomes whether the negative number should make an attempt to match the value system as a negative 1, or a negative 3.33, or a negative 10. I guess, ultimately, that depends upon your personal view of the author of that book.  In order to keep one person’s opinion from being too heavily weighted, I’ll stay with -1 for the “Publishers to Avoid” and then for the other 3 categories, each point becomes worth 3.33.

And that leaves us with this chart below, which, interestingly enough, is not significantly different from the previous chart. Value is value.  Good companies are good companies.

  TopTen  Top Consumer Fine Print Top Firms Total
Outskirts Press 8 8.75 6.66 10 33.41
Company 2     3.33 9.24 12.57
Company 3 10 5 -1 8.47 22.47
Company 4     3.33 7.7 11.03
Company 5 7   10 6.93 23.93
Company 6     6.66 6.16 12.82
Company 7     -1 5.39 4.39
Company 8   3.75 -1 4.62 7.37
Company 9 2   3.33 3.85 9.18
Company 10 9   -1 3.08 11.08
Company 11 4   -1 2.31 5.31
Company 12     10 1.54 11.54
Company 13     -1 0.77 -0.23
Company 14 6 7.5 3.33   16.83
Company 15 5 2.5 3.33   10.83
Company 16 3   3.33   6.33
Company 17 1       1
Company 18   10     10
Company 19   6.25     6.25
Company 20   1.25     1.25

Out of a possible perfect score of 40 points, the top 5 self publishing companies according to the combined data from these four sources are:

Outskirts Press     33.41 Points 
Company 5            23.93 Points
Company 3            22.47 Points
Company 14         16.83 Points
Company 6           12.82 Points

As stated in the last posting, I don’t name competitors. Even so, this analysis seems somewhat indicative of the value we offer at Outskirts Press, according to the combined views of four 3rd-party self publishing review sources.

As you compare publishing companies when it comes time to make your publishing decision,  keep these 3 tips in mind:

1. Consider the source. How biased is it? How rational? How knowledgeable? Does it seem like a rant, or a legitimate, valuable piece of information that you can apply your own, personal viewpoint to?

2. Consider the date of the information. Is it out of date? Years old? No longer applicable?  Since people are becoming accustomed to the immediacy of blogs, Twitter, and Facebook, they forget that information is available “forever” on the Internet. As a result, they assume information they read today was written today, when in reality, you may be viewing information that is years old, was written on April Fool’s day, or in some other way is no longer informative or important.  You can typically find a date for all information if you look hard enough.  

3. Investigate multiple sources.  As you can see from the combined scores of the 4 sources above, no company is absolutely perfect. That’s because they’re run by human beings.  Some sources you uncover will love one company and hate another. And a different source will have exactly the opposite opinion.  That’s because sources are run by human beings, too, and everyone has an opinion.   So find multiple sources of information and apply the statistical analysis method suggested above.

Compare Self Publishing Companies

Over the past five posts I’ve introduced 3rd party resources a writer can investigate when researching which self publishing company is best for his or her needs. This beats relying upon any one source (whether it be positive or negative) since it’s important to realize that single sources may lack knowledge, integrity, or applicability.  Now that the Internet is replacing newspapers, we are bombarded with more information than ever before, but unfortunately, the Internet lacks one component that made newspapers and journalism valuable — the vetting process.  You can’t believe everything you read on the Internet; you must do your homework, and that involves researching numerous sources and then combining that data into a value system you can actually use.

And that brings me to the process of statistically analyzing four sources I introduced previously so you can compare self publishing companies in a logical, mathematical way.   Some sources hate some companies and love others. Whenever you look at any source for any information, you should consider the date of the information and that source’s vested interest. So by combining the sources together to arrive upon a “sum total” you are better equipped to see an accurate “average score” of the companies you are examining.

Let’s compare self publishing companies now by performing this analysis on 20 different companies.  We will put those 20 publishers in a chart along the left in the order they appear in Top Self Publishing Firms, which lists 13 companies in it’s “Large & Medium” chapter. The remaining seven companies will appear underneath. We will place four of the sources I examined along the top.   Then we will apply a numeric value in the following manner:

Top Self Publishing Firms – There are 13 companies in the “Large and Medium” category in Stacie Vander Pol’s book, ranked from best to worse. So I applied a numeric value for each of them ranging from 13 (good) to 1 (not so good).

TopTen Reviews – Since there are ten companies ranked, I will apply a numeric value for each one. The company they rank #1 will receive 10 points, the company they rank #2 will receive 9 points, and so on.

Top Consumer Reviews – Since they rank 8 companies, I will apply a 8-1 numeric value.

Fine Print of Self Publishing – Rather than charting all 45 companies that are analyzed here, we will stick with the 20 companies included in either the “Large and Medium” category of  Top Self Publishing Firms, TopTen Reviews, or Top Consumer Reviews.  Comparing 20 of anything is enough analysis.  Of those, we will apply a numeric value based upon the book’s categories in the following manner:  “Outstanding” Companies get 3 points. “Pretty Good” companies get 2 points. “Just OK” companies get 1 point.  And since “Publishers to Avoid” sounds worse than not being in the book at all, those companies lose a point.

Self Publishing Review doesn’t compare self publishing companies against one another, per se, as these other 4 sources do, so cannot play a role in this self publishing comparison.

And that leaves us with this analysis below (blanks indicate no presence in that particular source):

TopTen Top Consumer Fine Print Top Firms Total
Outskirts Press 8 7 2 13 30
Company 2 1 12 13
Company 3 10 4 -1 11 24
Company 4 1 10 11
Company 5 7 3 9 19
Company 6 2 8 10
Company 7 -1 7 6
Company 8 3 -1 6 8
Company 9 2 1 5 8
Company 10 9 -1 4 12
Company 11 4 -1 3 6
Company 12 3 2 5
Company 13 -1 1 0
Company 14 6 6 1 13
Company 15 5 2 1 8
Company 16 3 1 4
Company 17 1 1
Company 18 8 8
Company 19 5 5
Company 20 1 1

I don’t mention other companies by name in my blog.  After all, that wouldn’t be very sporting to “Company #20” and certainly not to Company #13– hmm, I guess it’s unlucky after all.

And that’s not even the point of this posting. The point is the concept of combining sources of information to arrive upon a general consensus of data. Now if one were looking to find flaws in the data above, the easiest thing to say would be Top Self Publishing Firms is weighted too heavily because that value system goes to 13 while the others go to 10, 8, and 4, respectively.

Fair enough.  So let’s apply a 10-point system to all four sources and see what that tells us next time…