Monday, October 12, 2009

Pick Your Book Publisher Carefully

There are a number of different types of publishers. New or first-time authors should make themselves familiar with their characteristics before they venture out into the publishing marketplace.

Royalty Publishing - Publishers of this type bear all the costs of publishing a book and bringing it to market. The author receives a percentage of each book sale which can typically range from 7.5% to 15% of the retail price. The large and well-known publishing houses deal almost exclusively with agents. Examples include Random House, Simon & Schuster, Workman Publishing Co. Most will not look at a proposal that is not submitted by an agent. The average house handles an overwhelming number of submissions. New authors face an uphill battle in landing a contract with a royalty publisher and would need to hire an agent to even get their manuscript considered.

Vanity or Subsidy Publishing - Some examples are Vantage Press and AuthorHouse. These publishers require writers to pay all of the publishing costs, including editing, printing and promoting the book. Bookstores frequently refuse to carry books published by vanity and subsidy publishing companies. The publisher often makes no effort to market books. If authors are only interested in a few book copies to display on their shelves or distribute to friends, this may be a viable option

Self-Publishing - The author is in total control in this publishing process. Thousands of authors have taken this route. Like vanity publishers, the author must pay all of the publishing costs, including editing, printing and promoting the book. The author must also be knowledgeable of the whole publishing process. New technology allows writers and authors to keep book inventory at a minimum by using print-on-demand (POD) technology.

Independent Publishing - Independent publishers are typically smaller, privately held publishing companies. Independent publishing companies produce a variety of books, and many specialize in specific fields. New authors are more likely to be considered by independent publishers without the need of an agent. Biographical Publishing Company (BPC) is an example of this type. BPC does not accept books on a royalty basis. Rather, they provide all the services needed to get books published. And into the book market. The author must pay the costs of these services and of printing books, but the author will receive all of the profits from the sale of books after expenses, not just a royalty payment.

Which type of publishing is best? The answer depends on the situation and experience of each author. View for additional information.


Mick Rooney said...


Royalty Publishing, like the term Traditional Publishing is entirely meaningless, and if anything, misleading.

Defining reputable commercial publishing by the criteria of royalty payments really doesn't properly describe or differentiate them from, say, subsidy or even vanity presses. Many of which also pay out a percentage royalty on profits - meager though those profits may be. In fact, I've come across some of the biggest scam outfits describing themselves as royalty publishers.

Also, there is an odd quirky view of independent publishers. To a degree, the so-called indie authors - the latest description for the self-publishing author - are a side-effect of this independent movement. There is actually nothing quirky nor odd or left-of-field about being an independent publisher - because I'd estimate that 70% of publishers are independent. That is, not owned/controlled or a sub-imprint of the top half-dozen publishing conglomerates. For example, Faber, Godine, Thomas Nelson, Kensington, Canongate UK, Cambridge University Press, Rutgers, A&C Black, Bloomsbury, Egmont etc are all perfect examples of independent publishers and are by no means small in any way, shape or form. They compete week to week with all the heavy-hitters of the publishing industry.

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