Dog Ear Publishing - An author friend recommended Dog Ear Publishing, but did not recommend using their design team for the cover. After looking at many other options I decided to go with them to publish my first novel. One of the advantages was that they did not limit the author to a set of templates for cover design. Although they profess to have a large inventory of pictures for the cover, there weren't any available for what I was looking for (a harbor) and I purchased a picture from I Stock Photo. The first proof of the internal pages I received (in PDF form) was very messy with lines at the top and bottom of the pages and my name and book title on alternate pages in a large font, all of which distracted from the body of the printed page. I e-mailed and asked for changes to be made. I received another proof and read through it. Although my paragraph indents were uniform in the Word file I sent, there were many places that there were larger indents in the proof. I also found a few of my own errors. This is where it gets frustrating. Not all the errors I requested were made and each time I reviewed a proof (for both their errors and mine) it took another two weeks to get another proof. If I asked for three changes, two of them would be made and after another repeated request, the third error would be corrected, but it would take several weeks. I began the process in June and it wasn't completed until October. Another problem I found was that at no point did I receive a printed proof to review (they were all in PDF form and e-mailed). It wasn't until the book was printed that I noticed two words in the title were in a different font from the third word. I sent an e-mail complaining about it and their response was that they had e-mailed a proof to me and that some authors preferred to have different style fonts in the title. I agree that I should have checked it more thoroughly, but I had sent them exactly what I wanted printed on the cover and all three words were in the same font. I thought it was unprofessional to arbitrarily change the font on one of the words which obviously was not my preference - they ignored my instructions. For the amount I paid for their services I was not at all happy that they didn't check their own work and that I had to edit both my work and theirs. When they submitted my book to Amazon, my name was mis-spelled and again it took a phone call and some time to get that corrected. There is absolutely no excuse for that. My name is on the cover of the book for heaven's sake. All in all publishing with Dog Ear was an expensive experience and I wouldn't recommend them. Also, make sure you register your book at the copyright office. This isn't done automatically by the POD publisher.
Dog Ear does not offer e-books which was something I didn't check on when choosing them. I used Smashwords for e-book distribution.
Self Publishing Part 1
Self Publishing Part 2
Self Publishing Part 3
Self Publishing Part 4