The competitiveness of the current hybrid publishing market means any company looking to attract customers has to have an edge. It’s no longer sufficient to claim that you have a unique offering, or are the best placed company to help as writers will see through this.
Instead, to be a success, you have to back up your verbal commitments with action and find a genuine edge or added extra to help stand out from the crowd.
One such company that on face value seems to have done just that is First Edition Design Publishing, which self describe as both a hybrid publisher and an aggregator.
In this First Edition Publishing review, we’ll explore those terms and see if they have found a way to separate themselves from the pack and thus deserve a writer's custom.
Who are First Edition Design Publishing & what do they do?
Their expertise dates back to the 1980s. They claim to have always been at the forefront of new technology and trends and to their credit have served Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and small businesses. This has allowed for a well-rounded understanding of their client’s needs, no matter how big or small. They hope that this unique experience will not only power them into the future, but it allows them to guide their clients into the future and grow with them.
First Edition Design Publishing is licensed and approved as an ‘Apple Application Developer’ and in fact were one of the first companies to obtain many Microsoft certifications to include being a designated “Microsoft Solution Provider”. These certifications are no doubt impressive but may not have the most material impact in the present day or for writers working with them.
They use the term ‘aggregator’ as a differentiator, so it’s worthwhile pausing to explore what exactly that means. As an aggregator, they format, convert and submit a writer's book to thousands of eBook and POD (PRINT) distribution venues worldwide and the top internet retailers including but not limited to — Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google, Ciando, OverDrive, e-Sentral, EBSCO and more. Alongside this they also;
• Format and convert the book
• Meet the requirements of each distribution partner
• Assign a custom ISBN for the eBook and or POD (PRINT) publication
• Register and submit the title to the Library of Congress (LCCN)
• All academic publications receive a DOI
• Provide bar codes and minor or major editing
• Offer QR codes upon request
• Accept all manuscripts for review
• They do not censor content and reserve the right to edit formatting and structure to meet their distribution partners’ standards
• Require a digital version of the manuscript. They offer print to digital services if needed, and data entry typing if the writer has a handwritten document
• First Edition Design Publishing currently accepts academic, poetry, novels, and non-fiction
• Publish children’s books in various sizes, including landscape
• They do not send your title through an automated computer generating process
• ALL pages of every title are reviewed and worked manually with human eyes
As you can see this is absolutely a comprehensive service that covers all bases but the aggregator aspect is key and would likely be hugely beneficial to writers in this position, to create the furthest outreach for their work.
What types of books do they publish?
As mentioned above they are currently accepting works within the academic, poetry, novels and non fiction genres. A selection of their titles can be found below to provide some more insight into their offerings.
After Life – Claire Swinney
Anti Natalism – Ken Coates
In a Pickle over Pandas – Melanie S Weiss
Zen Physics – David Darling
Triumph of the Light – Vidya Frazier
Time is Money – Kerry W Given
Mental Illness in Dogs – Linda Scroggins
Love Never Dies – Angela Dawn
Invincible – David Mackinson
Whispers of the Soul – Audrey Ong
It’s clear to see from the above that the range of titles they work with is incredibly diverse.
Can authors submit to First Edition Design Publishing?
Well, yes but it’s not a conventional submission. Hybrid publishing models require submissions for their business to work but where this differs is they charge a fee for their services and then they enter into conversations with the writer to finalise the details of the publishing process.
They have a range of packages and options at various price points which can be found in full on their website. Anyone wishing to utilise their services simply has to purchase said package and then the process can commence.
What are the alternatives to First Edition Design Publishing?
A writer considering using First Edition Design Publishing will have multiple options to consider. Firstly, this would be utilising the services of another hybrid publishing company. This may be if they like the premise but are not sold on this particular business.
Next, a writer could consider submitting to a traditional publisher. This route removes the financial outlay involved with hybrid publishing and comes with potentially the biggest rewards available to a writer. But the downsides are strong too, with elongated wait times to hear a response and the part relinquishing of creative control to a team without first hand knowledge of the work.
Finally, a writer can consider self publishing. This option has become increasingly prevalent in recent years and is accessible to everyone. All of the upsides are maintained from hybrid publishing but without the cost.
First Edition Publishing Review – Final Verdict
It’s transparent then, that First Edition Design Publishing has established itself in the market as a legitimate option for any writers considering hybrid publishing. Yet there are some things that should give any writer pause before considering utilising their services.
Firstly, the cover art of their titles is not the most impressive. At first glance, this may seem a trivial point but there is cause for concern at the standard particularly given their claim this is a strength. There is generally an acceptance that the standard for cover art when it comes to e-books is less high, but if a customer saw some of these on a shelf in a brick and mortar book store they would likely be less than impressed.
Secondly, the fact that the packages on offer are listed like items in a supermarket does somewhat cheapen the process. Most sites, like to frame it very much as a conversation with a submission made and then a discussion to take place subsequently regarding the best path forward. Here, it feels very transactional, and it would take a brave or very rich person to spend hundreds of dollars upfront without any communication directly prior.
Ultimately then, if a writer is dead set on the hybrid publishing model, First Edition Design Publishing are worth consideration amongst others. But for those with an open mind, they may find there are other options open to them, such as self publishing, that may be more beneficial.