Dog Ear Publishing bills itself as a company capable of helping you create and market your book.
But what exactly do they do? Are they worth investing in, or should you steer clear?
In this deep dive into Dog Ear Publishing, we’ll determine whether this is a company capable of making your book the top dog.
We’ll explore the full range of services on offer, how much they will set you back, and if there is an alternative better suited to your needs.
Here’s what we’ll cover in this Dog Ear Publishing review:
- What is Dog Ear Publishing?
- Dog Ear Publishing Programs and Prices
- Is It For You?
- Dog Ear Publishing: The Pros and Cons
- Other Dog Ear Publishing Reviews
- Alternatives to Dog Ear Publishing
- Final Rating
What is Dog Ear Publishing?
Dog Ear Publishing is a company that offers book publishing packages and done-for-you author services to authors looking to write and publish a book.
The company was founded in 2004 by Ray Robinson, former marketing director of educational press Pearson Publishing.
Currently, Dog Ear Publishing operates out of Indianapolis and offers a range of different publishing services.
Related: Self-Publishing in 2020
Dog Ear Publishing Programs and Prices
So what exactly does Dog Ear Publishing offer to help you as a self-published author?
At this time, three categories of services are on offer:
- Publishing Packages
- Marketing Services
- Book Editing
We’ll take a quick look at each service offered, but for the purposes of this article, we’ll be focusing on the publishing packages.
Let’s check them out!
#1 – Dog Ear Publishing Packages
If you’d rather choose a package of services, rather than combining them individually, Dog Ear offers a range of options, starting at $1,599 and ranging up to $10,670.
Typically, publishing packages combine services such as editing to various extents, some graphic design, and online promotion.
To sound a note of caution – many of these packages contain items like ‘a website with an author shopping cart'. This might sound good, but how many sales do you really think you'll get through your own website as opposed to through Amazon?
Rather than assume everything on offer is valuable, think about each item carefully and if it would be able to improve your book's fortunes.
So which publishing packages can you purchase, how much do they cost, and are they worth it?
Dog Ear Publishing offers two types of packages – standard book packages and children’s book packages.
Standard Publishing Packages
Let’s take a look at the standard packages first.
- Basic. $1,599. The lowest level, consisting of interior and cover design as well as listing on bookstores.
- Pro-Digital. $3,602. A package with a focus on digital promotion, promising an ‘SEO website', a term which doesn't mean much in truth. There's nothing here that comes close to justifying the size of the investment.
- Editor’s Choice. $2,922. Similar to the lower-tier packages but including a copyedit.
- Masterpiece. $5,029. Contains similar services to the earlier packages with a couple of extras such as a media release. PR releases for books are notoriously not that successful and can be purchased for a fairly cheap price outside of Dog Ear Publishing.
- Critic’s Choice. $6,798. This is presumably called the critic’s choice as it includes several paid review services. The almost $7000 cost is utterly astounding and frankly unjustifiable.
- Ultimate. $10,670. Coming in at a hefty five-figure price point is the ultimate package. This contains the usual mix of Dog Ear services such as editing but with a whole host of marketing options. Some of the unique features of the ultimate package include a marketing consultation as well as physical materials like business cards.
To tell the truth, we can’t recommend any of these packages in good faith. They are overpriced and don’t seem to offer anything close to the value of what’s being charged.
Children’s Book Packages
Children's book packages are also available at the following tiers. The contents are similar to the standard packages of the same name, so we won’t restate the content here.
- Basic. $1599.
- Pro-Digital. $2602.
- Masterpiece. $4029.
- Critic’s Choice. $5798.
- Ultimate. $9670.
When looking at the children’s packages, one thing really stands out, and not in a good way!
That’s right – Dog Ear Publishing will sell you their own money which you then spend on your own book! I’ve been around the self-publishing industry for years and have never heard of anything quite like that.
#2 – Dog Ear Publishing Marketing Services
Effective marketing is one of the most important factors as to whether your book sinks or swims.
Dog Ear Publishing has a large selection of digital and traditional marketing options, available at the following price points.
Here’s a complete list of the web marketing services offered by Dog Ear Publishing.
- Custom website. Ranging from $343 for a one-page website to $695 for something more elaborate.
- Amazon optimization program. $299 for an Amazon author profile and some keywords for your book.
- Social media launch. $599 to set up a Facebook and Twitter account for you along with a few content ideas.
- Facebook management. $2699, but also requires you to purchase a social media campaign. 3 months of managed Facebook promotion.
- Facebook advertising. $399 as well as $150 in the form of an advertising budget. 30 days of service for the price.
- Amazon marketing services. $299 to create an Amazon ad. Also requires $100 in additional budget.
- Video book trailers. $999. Almost $1000 for a book trailer. The example they give looks incredibly amateur for that price point. Effectively a slideshow of images with some text over the top.
- Online retailer preview. $99 to have Dog Ear Publishing create an Amazon preview of your book.
- Search engine marketing. $595 plus an additional ad budget of your choosing to run PPC ads on Google.
There is a lot of cause for concern here. Something like a simple slideshow style book trailer is absolutely not going to help your book and to charge $999 for one is astonishing.
So aside from the digital realm, how can you market your book with Dog Ear?
- Netgalley. $499. 3 months exposure on the Netgalley platform.
- Book Expo Fanfare. $1999. Your book will feature at a series of book shows, such as BookExpo America.
- Book Reviews Combo. $1299. A combination of the other review packages on offer.
- Kirkus Reviews Program. $425 for a review from Kirkus.
- BlueInk Review Program. $395 for a review from BlueInk.
- Targeted Press Release Campaign. Between $299 and $1999 depending on the number of outlets targeted.
- Promotional Materials. Packages of physical promo materials like bookmarks and posters. Starting at $225, but also requires you to pay an additional design fee.
- Radio TV Interview Report. $400 to be listed in this guide.
- Book Returns. If you want your book to show as returnable on Ingram, you can pay $499 to have it listed that way.
There aren’t as overpriced as the digital marketing services, but there are still questions to be asked about the actual return on investment (ROI) on spending $1299 on a few book reviews.
Dog Ear can also create different formats for your work.
So what’s on offer?
- eBook Conversion. $399 to have your book formatted into an eBook.
- Audiobook. Pay between $1600 and $4600 to have an audiobook created of your work.
This is yet another example of Dog Ear Publishing charging so much for so little.
The $1600 audiobook option requires you to read and record your own book! The $1600 fee is essentially for editing and mastering.
#3 – Dog Ear Publishing Editing Services
There’s no denying the importance of editing services for self-published authors. Failing to edit your book properly is one of the fastest ways to come across as an amateur unworthy of a reader’s time.
Dog Ear Publishing offers editing services for the following points on your book’s journey:
Let’s take a closer look at each of these editing categories.
If your book is at the pre-production stage of its creation, Dog Ear Publishing has only one service on offer – the literary critique, which can include:
So what exactly does a Dog Ear Publishing literary critique consist of, and how much will it set you back?
- Senior editor review. One of the senior editors from the Dog Ear team will take a thorough look at your manuscript.
- Editing level required. A key outcome of the literary review is a suggestion of how much editing work your book will need. You will be given guidance on whether to select a proofreader, copyeditor, or development editor.
- Fiction or technical. Dog Ear Publishing is capable of reviewing either a work of fiction or a more technical manuscript.
So how much will this literary critique cost you?
At this time, Dog Ear Publishing charges $0.005 per word with a minimum cost of $250. This works out at a minimum of 50,000 words.
While this might sound beneficial, allow us to sound a brief note of caution. A large part of the purpose of the lit critique is for Dog Ear to suggest editing services. Editing services offered by Dog Ear, of course!
That isn’t to say there is no value in a critique. However, if you opt for one, be aware that they are potentially going to upsell you.
Within the standard tier of editing services on offer at Dog Ear Publishing, three options exist. These are:
- Proofread. A basic look at your work to catch spelling and grammar errors. Available at $0.02 per word with a minimum cost of $250. This works out at a minimum of 12,500 words.
- Copyedit. Copyediting is more detailed than a simple proof and focuses on structure, flow, and consistency. Dog Ear charges $0.025 per word for copyediting with a minimum spend of $250 once again, working out at a minimum of 10,000 words.
- Literary edit. Also known as a production edit. The most detailed level of editing available at this tier, combining a copyedit and a literary critique. Available at $0.03 per word, with the minimum price of $250, requiring at least 8,300 words.
If you need some guidance on the right type of edit for your book, check out our guide here.
The next tier up from the standard packages offered by Dog Ear Publishing is the Premium tier.
Let’s check out what’s on offer and how much it will cost you.
- Development Edit. A thorough review of your fiction or nonfiction book to ensure it is suitable for its intended readers. This service costs $0.06 per word with a minimum spend of $250, requiring around 4100 words or more.
- Post-Edit Review. If you’ve already had an edit from Dog Ear, but want someone to take another look, such a service is available for 50% of your original edit cost. Ironically, Dog Ear spells post-edit in two different ways, somewhat reducing the credibility of the service.
- Ghostwriter. Need a ghostwriter? Dog Ear doesn't state how much you will pay to get one, but a writing sample is available for $199. If you like what you see, you can get the same writer to produce your full book, and the $199 will be deducted from their cost.
The final stage of editing services on offer is post-production. Looking to put the finishing touches to your next book? Here’s how Dog Ear Publishing can help.
- Post Production Proofread. Dog Ear Publishing has proofreaders ready to give your book a final look after it’s complete. This service costs $0.009 per word with a $250 minimum, requiring about 28,000 words. You must have also had an earlier edit carried out by Dog Ear to qualify.
- Indexing. Dog Ear Publishing can create an index of your book for $0.015 per word, with the usual minimum cost of $250. This works out at a minimum word count of just under 17,000 words. It’s worth noting that software is available that performs a similar function.
- Book Cover Copywriting. If you need some copy for your cover, Dog Ear can provide it for $99. Once again, Dog Ear’s credibility is slightly harmed here by spelling website as ‘web site’, a very old-school variant no longer in use.
- Permissions Research. Dog Ear Publishing will find out if you have permission to use certain items, such as artwork, photos, and trademarks in your book. There is a minimum fee of $500 for this service, but it may rise upon consultation. This seems fairly steep, as copyright is often pretty straightforward in terms of what authors can and cannot use.
When considering the different levels of editing available from Dog Ear, the post-production edits seem to offer the least value. They may sound good on paper, but very few self-published authors should spend money on indexing or permissions research. There are better ways to invest in your book.
Is Dog Ear Publishing For You?
So, should you choose Dog Ear Publishing?
To put it bluntly, absolutely not.
After reviewing every one of the services on offer, a theme emerges – charging a high price for something unlikely to help.
We don’t suggest choosing Dog Ear, but if you’re tempted to, please at least see what other options are out there for you.
If you’re determined to get a done-for-you self-publishing package, check out some other companies that offer the same services with a better reputation.
Dog Ear Publishing Reviews: The Pros and Cons
So what are the pros and cons of choosing Dog Ear Publishing?
- None. Because of the company’s negative online reviews and poor reputation, we don’t consider any of their services to be an advantage due to such a high risk. Read more in this Dog Ear Publishing review, or do a quick internet search and you'll understand what we mean. No author should risk spending their investment on high-priced services.
- Overpriced. Some of the prices are eye-watering.
- Low impact services. A lot of what’s on offer is simply not going to help your book succeed.
- Subpar packages. The packages on offer from Dog Ear are a bit strange, with big jumps in price point for seemingly little added value.
- Reputation. As you’ll soon see, there is a lot of negative feedback and Dog Ear Publishing complaints out there.
Other Dog Ear Publishing Reviews
To get a real feel for a company, it’s smart to check out different reviews. To save you the trouble of hunting around, we’ve gathered more Dog Ear Publishing reviews right here.
At the Better Business Bureau, things are not pretty.
Dog Ear Publishing currently has an F rating and their accreditation was suspended due to failure to respond to consumer complaints.
Here is an example of a recent complaint.
ALLi has also put out a warning about Dog Ear, further reinforcing how risky it is to do business with this company.
Finally, Yelp shows that people are not a fan of Dog Ear on that platform, either.
All in all, Dog Ear should be avoided at all costs. Again, if you’re determined to invest in done-for-you services, consider any of the other companies before handing your money over to Dog Ear Publishing.
Alternatives to Dog Ear Publishing
So, it’s abundantly clear that Dog Ear Publishing is not the way to go.
So what is? Which other options do you have?
You can check out our guide to self-publishing companies here.
If you want a done-for-you service, there are plenty of other alternatives to go with.
Of course, we’re of the thought that self-published authors shouldn’t opt for done-for-you services, but should invest in learning the entire self-publishing process themselves.
Investing in self-publishing education rather than a publishing package offers greater return on investment, costs less, and allows you to reap the benefits of growing your author career.
If that’s something you’re curious about, we'd like to turn your attention to the author education programs at Self-Publishing School. Although we're a direct partner, and are clear about that, it may be an option to consider if you want to invest in an education.
So why should you go for Self-Publishing School over Dog Ear Publishing?
- You learn how. While Dog Ear Publishing operates on a done-for-you basis, Self Publishing School will teach you how to do things. This is a lot more valuable in the long run.
- Proven results. Self Publishing School has an excellent reputation for producing results.
- Expert coaching. Self Publishing School doesn’t just provide information – you will be coached every step of the way.
- A supportive community. If you enroll in Self Publishing School, you don’t just get an education, you get a family of fellow authors from around the world.
- Chance to go further. Your experience doesn't stop after launching your first book. Self Publishing School will equip you to launch a long-lasting author career.
Why waste money on low-quality done-for-you services when you could learn the right way to self-publish for a fraction of the cost?
So, with all said and done, what’s our final verdict on Dog Ear Publishing?
Avoid Dog Ear Publishing no matter what. Your book deserves nothing but the best, and this company is the furthest thing from that.
If there is one thing you've learned from this Dog Ear Publishing review, we hope it's this: Do more research before you invest with this company.
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