Traditional vs. Self Publishing
Everyone has a story to tell - I know for me, I have a few. However, once you write the story - what do you do? For any writer who aspires to be an author, knowing how to publish a book is essential. It happens often, people will write the book or story and then have no idea how to get that in print or even delivered to the people they want to read it.
Now, more than at any other time in history, there are more opportunities and possibilities to write, share, and publish a story. The question is - should you do it yourself or should you have someone like me do it for you? Whether you are after the traditional publishing experience, complete with an agent, editor, and publisher, or want to self publish your book, it's completely within your grasp. You decide what works best for you and your work.
Below I have placed some tips for the process and how to go about making a decision as you move along in your process.
Vanity publishing is when a publisher offers the author a contract and, in turn, prints, publishes, and sells your book through booksellers and other retailers. The publisher essentially buys the right to publish your book and pays you royalties from the sales based on your agreed upon contract. In other words - you do nothing but write your story and BOOM you have a product with ease.
There are a variety of different publishing methods, including print-on-demand, vanity, subsidy, and self-publishing.
Print-on-demand (POD) publishers accept all submissions and anyone who is willing to pay is published. They basically use printing technology to produce books one at a time through a company at a cost-effective price. The books are printed individually as orders come in. Therefore, you can adjust the book's supply to meet the reader's demand.
POD cuts back on costs and eliminates the need for space to store unsold copies. Typically editing, proofreading, or marketing is offered at an additional cost and you make money off of royalties from sales. In terms of rights, some can go to the POD publisher for a set amount of time but this varies depending on the publisher.
In more detail, drop shipping can be used, also known as a book manufacturer, which publishes any and anyone's work provided they have the money to pay for their services. The manufacturer prints and binds a book on the author's dime and does not offer editing, marketing, or promotional assistance. However, the author owns the printed books and retains all profit from sales.
A subsidy publisher is similar to a vanity publisher in that the author has to pay for the printing and binding process of the book. However, this type of publisher contributes a portion of the cost to editing, distribution, warehousing, and marketing. In this case, the publisher owns the books until they are sold and the author makes money from royalties.
Self Publishing - requires the author to invest their own money to produce, market, distribute, and warehouse the book. While this can be a huge time commitment, the process can be more cost-effective than vanity or subsidy publishing.
What's the difference between self-publishing and traditional publishing?
Traditional publishing is - the publisher handles the marketing, distribution, and warehousing for your book. This is the traditional method to book publishing because there is no expense to the author—mainstream publishers make a profit from the book's sales.
Whereas in self publishing - depending on which type of publisher or platform you choose, the majority of the work falls on your shoulders and you pay for all expenses. The main advantages of self-publishing are that you control when the book is published, you retain all rights to your book, and you receive 100 percent of the profits.
In both cases, you have the option to choose what format your book will be published in—printed book, e-book audio book, cd, dvd, and many more. If you pick an e-book, which is essentially a book published in digital form and available on e-Readers and other electronic devices, it can be downloaded instantly, has the ability to be translated into different languages, and can never go out of print. However, the as e-book formats and file types develop and change over time, many may need to be converted to a new file or format.
How do I know which one is right for me?
If seeing your work in print is to fulfill a personal goal you have or you view yourself as a hobbyist than yo may enjoy self publishing. That process may be very enjoyable for you!
If you're writing a family history, memoir or book of poetry that has a limited audience, and don't want your book stocked in a ton of bookstores, using POD is probably to your advantage. They are often nonreturnable, not sold at a discount, and you won't have to store any unsold books.
Printing in bulk via self-publishing may be your best bet if you have an audience or following established to reach your audience, both online and offline (such as a website, Twitter handle, and Facebook fan page), have credibility with your readers in your genre/category and are prepared to dedicate your time to marketing and promoting your work.
Self-publishing is also a good option if you have a time-sensitive manuscript, as a commercial publishing company can take up to 18 months to get your book from manuscript to final production.
On the flip side, here are a few things to consider. If you don't know how to find your readers or audience or you don't have an online presence, don't have the time to spend online or dislike social media, want to be in a brick-and-mortar type of bookstore and have a publisher handle the marketing for you, the traditional publishing route may be the best option.
Ultimately it is up to you to decide!