More than a few publishing industry insiders today will tell you any stigma about self-published books is fading fast. Therefore, independent authors have great opportunities to publish successful titles, plan book publicity campaigns that get results, and sell books. If you're among them, check your options before signing up for print-on-demand. The same goes for content preparation services like book editing, cover design, formatting, and more. Traditional publishers give their authors and books all these advantages, and you must match them. When you do, you'll be giving your work an edge.

The binding you choose says a lot about your book as it makes a first impression on people, so think it through. You should offer multiple binding options if you expect brisk sales and readers in other income and price categories. The publishing industry has conditioned people to expect marquee titles to be released first in hardcover, then paperback in subsequent printings – and for a lower price. You can follow that paradigm if it seems right for your book. On the other hand, many successful books today are released in paperback and reprinted that way.

As you finalize your book's title, ideally with your editor's input, keep the subtitle in mind if it's nonfiction. The same goes for cover design which is crucial to producing a high-caliber book. Even if you have friends and business contacts in graphic design and art direction, go with an experienced book cover designer. They understand the requirements for each genre and can help you avoid learning lessons the hard way. When you invest in expert book formatting, you go a long way toward making the text easier to read and more user-friendly. It's a minor detail that matters in the big picture.

If you decide to publish your book using print-on-demand, be aware of the sacrifices you will make. It often means you can only sell online, and the on-demand printer will be listed as the publisher on your ISBN; there are limits on paper stock and trim sizes. It's a long list of concessions, and you're paid a commission on each copy sold according to what the on-demand printer decides. Lastly, you never learn who your customers are because you have no access to the sales data – meaning you lose upselling opportunities. Depending on your goals, all of those may be okay. But for some authors, they are challenging.