Choosing The Right Publishing Method for You

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Are you trying to decide who the best publisher is for you? I’m going to talk about a few different options when it comes to publishing your book. We’ll look at royalty publishing, co-publishing and self-publishing to help you on your book publishing journey.

Royalty Publishing

Every author needs to answer this question at some point in their writing career. It used to be that authors had no choice but to hire an agent, pitch their work, and hope for the best for the next six to eighteen months to see if the publisher accepted their manuscript. If their work was accepted, the publisher provided an editor and everything else needed to make sure the book was published well, even do the distribution and promotions for the author without any payment up-front. Most often than not an author would wait years to finally get a manuscript accepted. Payment to the author was made by royalties which was a percentage of sales, and the publisher held all rights to the book. Once the book no longer sold sufficient copies the publisher would remove the book from distribution and the author usually had signed a contract to say they would not publish the same book with anyone else. The up-front cost most often would have been the agent’s fees, which could have been quite expensive. (Variances on this outline exist. I’m generalizing here.)

Then along came co-publishing

Co-publishing was an alternative to being at the mercy of an already busy publisher who had too many manuscripts on their desk. Co-publishers were more likely to accept an author’s work, even a novice author, if the work seemed reasonably interesting and likely to sell. The co-publishing company provided an editor, cover artist and distribution, but with some differences to royalty publishing. Co-publishers allowed publishing with other publishing companies at the author’s discretion. They also allowed the author to find their own cover artist, but were sometimes adamant about working with their editors – and for good reason, but that’s another blog. Co-publishers required the author to pay for editing, art and formatting up-front, plus buy a large amount of copies of the book to sell privately. The cost for co-publishing ranged somewhere between $4000 – $6000 (CDN & US) when you add in the costs of editing and art. They provided distribution and paid royalties the same as a royalty publisher. Co-publishing also allowed the author to retain ownership of their work.

Now along comes indie or self-publishing

Authors can now publish their work themselves. If they have the skill-set to do all the work it won’t cost a dime upfront.CreateSpace, for example, will offer a free cover and artwork included but the same covers are available to everyone so you may discover your book has the same cover as several other books out there. However, it’s a great idea for a novice author who’s starting out with a very limited budget. They don’t require you to hire their editors but editors are available for a reasonable fee; the same goes for cover art and formatting. You also have a forum where you can ask questions from other CreateSpace authors, and CreateSpace has their own FAQ page. From their members’ dashboard they walk you through the entire process and you can even publish on Kindle with them. Smashwords is another self-publishing site but only for e-books. They also offer a complete guide to formatting and FAQs. Both of these sites will distribute for you and offer choices of where you want your book to be sold and for how much. Payment comes from a royalty percentage.

The Write Life posted a blog about how one author made $450,000 in one year, self-publishing on Amazon!
So, now you have some of the facts (please do your research) about the different publishers –

So, Who is the best publisher for you.

Undecided? I coach novice writers from the start of discovering who they are as a writer through to their first published work. Contact me through our contact page to tell me what you’re looking for.

Happy writing!
Lynne Collier