There was a time – not too long ago! – when there were simply no options to self-publish a book without a substantial expenditure of cash. I was there. I self-published a chapbook of poetry in the mid-1980s. To save money, I laid it out myself on an Apple IIGS (one of the first color-monitor computers). I brought camera-ready copy by hand to a local publishing house. They turned it into a book and I had to buy a set amount of copies to make it worthwhile.
How much things have changed in the blink of an eye!
Nowadays you can create files with ease on your home computer, load them onto a website, and poof, they are available for purchase. All for ZERO cost. When people buy copies, the company prints them “on demand” and then sends the author their share of the profit. There is no cost at all for the author.
For authors who have no idea how to use Word, there are a variety of options out there to get assistance.
And, of course, there is always the “full publishing house” option where you hand your manuscript over to a company, they edit it however they want, choose whatever cover they want, and then take most of the profits. On the up-side, they often crank out enough copies for bookstores and libraries that you make up the difference through volume of sales.
So what is the difference between “traditional” publishing, self publishing, vanity press publishing, print-on-demand, and other terms you might hear? Which is the best for your project?
Read on to learn more!
To give you some background, I have published over 300 works and have been publishing since the late 1980s. I have used self-publishing, vanity presses, print on demand, small presses, and I’ve had long discussions with traditional publishing houses. I have not personally used the traditional publishing houses – I was unwilling to make the changes they wanted me to make to my story in order to publish it. However, I personally know a large number of best-selling authors who are aligned with the big houses to be able to convey how that process works. As always, feel free to ask with any questions!
Publisher Options - main page
Overview of Publishing Options
... Pros of Traditional Publishers
... Cons of Traditional Publishers
Small Press Publishers
... Pros of Small Press Publishers
... Cons of Small Press Publishers
Vanity Press Publishers
... Pros of Vanity Press Publishers
... Cons of Vanity Press Publishers
... Pros of Self Publishing
... Cons of Self Publishing
Using a Literary Agent
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