Self Publishing Reviews

In my last post I set out to compare self publishing companies based upon 4 of the top 5 self publishing reviews. 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 so now each point in that book really 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 self publishing companies are good self publishing 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 self publishing reviews 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.

Best self publisher for reviews and awards

In the previous post I looked at the number or 4 or 5 star reviews received on Amazon for books published by the top 6 major online self publishing firms.  That chart is below again as a refresher.  This time the chart is in order from highest to lowest, which, admittedly, is how the previous chart should have been, too (rather than the order it was in, which was the order in which I conducted the research).

Publishing Firm Percentage of 4 or 5 star ratings
Outskirts Press 52%
Company U 37%
Company C 27%
Company A 24%
Company X 19%
Company L 13%

My conclusion was that Outskirts Press books and authors receive statistically more and statistically higher reviews on Amazon than our 5 competitors.  In fact, it’s not even close. 52% compared to the next highest, Publisher U at 37%.  Remember, I don’t mention our competitors by name, but it’s probably not too hard to decipher this table…

Reader reviews are all well and good — in fact, we’re proud to come out on top in this analysis —  but I was curious if there was a correlation between high book reviews on Amazon and results within a widely recognized and valued book award contest. So I browsed the results of the ForeWord Reviews BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARDS that were just listed in the July/August issue of ForeWord Reviews trade magazine to compare these same 6 companies:

Publishing Firm Book of the Year Awards
Outskirts Press 4
Company U 4
Company C 1
Company A 0
Company X 0
Company L 0

What do you know? There is almost a direct correlation between the percentage of 4-5 star reviews on Amazon and the number of book awards won by a major book contest.

Not surprisingly, those publishers whose books received less than 25% 4-5 star reviews didn’t win any awards at all.  And this in spite of the volume/quantity advantage they have.  For instance, Publishers A and X publish approximately 2-4 times as many books as we do in a month, and Publisher L claims to publish about ten times as many.  Well, quantity doesn’t translate to quality, as you can see here.

I guess this also proves that Publisher L’s CEO was accurate when, in a 2009 New York Times article, he claimed that his company has “easily published the largest collection of bad poetry in the history of mankind.”

I don’t get the press that he gets (probably thankfully, because I’ve been known to put my foot in my mouth on occasion, too), so for the convenience of NY Times journalists everywhere, they are welcome to my analysis above, and this handy-dandy quote: Outskirts Press easily publishes better books, on average, than our five major competitors.

Actually, we seem to publish better books, on average, than any of our competitors. I searched the 2010 ForeWord Book of the Year Awards for all 20 of the publishers I’ve been posting about in the past and I couldn’t find any that can compete with Outskirts Press.

Just sayin’…