You have been writing for quite some time now, and you are ready to publish your work. You feel scared and excited at the same time. You have several options nowadays and we will be looking at three of these options. Firstly we will be looking at the traditional way of publishing – going to the large publishers and trying to get their attention. The second way you could think of if you have the money to do so is to start your own publishing company. The third way is to self-publish on the Internet using any of a number of companies that are more than happy to help you publish and distribute your work. Instead of comparing them side-to-side, I will be giving you the low down on each one, one at a time.
Working With a Traditional Publisher:
You might need and agent here, especially if you are trying to reach the really big companies. The lead-time from completed manuscript to publication could be anything from 1 to 3 years depending on their schedule. You have no control over that at all. Regular rejection is a reality for many when they choose this option, as the bigger companies tend to stick to their authors that are doing well. This is less risky for them as a business. You could lose some rights in contract negotiation and would have to have someone who knows the business to help you during this process just to protect yourself. The contracts can be confusing too if no one helps you to understand the small print.
You could be paid anything from 7 to 12% on the net sale of your book. You will not have to pay for editing or cover design. When it comes to the cover of the book you will rarely have any input in this process or choosing who will be responsible for it. You will not be paying for page layout or the printing. You will however be responsible for the promotion of your book. The likelihood of getting published is low.
You will not be paying for storage of your book or the distribution of the book. You will not have any say in the price of the book or where it goes. You do not have to create your own business to get this done. You will not have the rights to distribution, even though you keep copyright on your work. You will rarely have control over the content editing though and as for the title, you may find that sometimes you will have some control here. You will not find it easy to update your book and your book might have a year before they start focusing on other books.
You do not need to know how to produce a book. All you need to do is to focus on writing your next book proposal and the next book. You will not need to worry too much about capital outlay either. Sometimes you might even get an advance against projected sales of your book.
Create your own publishing company:
Right off the bat, you will need to know how to run a business and know how to run a budget. You will need to find out how to publish books and set up your own distribution network. You will get 100% of the revenue of the sale of your book, but you will need to offset that against all your costs. You will have complete control over your content and your cover. You will be able to choose who works with you on creating your publication and you will have creative rights to change anything that does not look exactly the way you want it to.
You will not need an agent as there are no contracts and you never lose the rights on sales like you do with traditional publishing. You will never be rejected and I sometimes wonder if this is a good thing? You will always have copyright on your content too. You will however have to promote your book yourself and pay for everything in this process. You will pay for editing, page layout, cover design, the cover designer, printing, storage and distribution. This means you will have to have a nest egg ready to make sure you can do this. Lead-time between the manuscript being made available and publication is generally 6 to 12 months, which means you can release time sensitive projects in time to have decent market penetration.
You now have the power to go to other channels than bookstores and have control over the price of the book. It is still difficult to update the book and will still take at least 6 months and a reprint at great cost to you. You cannot focus on writing all the time anymore as running a full time business can be quite time consuming. You cannot know when a book will fail completely and will most probably have at least one book that will fill storage space and lead to a complete loss. The risk is all yours even though you are now at a place where publication is no longer a process of pink slips and the pain of rejection.
Self- publish through an online source:
This third option is a good option for business savvy people who know the principles of marketing and running a business without wanting to set up the entire printing press like the second option. Payment varies, but most online companies will offer you between 10 and 35% of the gross sales even when the price of a book is discounted. Books are published anytime from 12 to 18 weeks after the manuscripts has been made available. You are responsible for your own marketing. You pay for services like editing, page layout, front cover design and printing. You do however have the option of choosing who will be designing your front cover and will have some input in the design process too. You will not lose rights during negotiations and will have no complex contracts to sign.
The likelihood of publication is high and the likelihood of rejection is low. You will not pay for storage of books as books are printed as they are ordered and several options are available to update the book should you feel the need to. The book is stored electronically and will be in print for as long as you want it there. You have control over the content and the title and you only pay for the books that are sold. You have more time for writing and you never need to worry about knowing anything about book production. You do not need to set up your distribution network as you are using their network.
There are pros and cons to each of the options, but the most important thing is that you are aware of these. It is important too to shop around. You should look at online sources like www.lulu.com and www.booksurge.com for their rates and services. I did not look any further than these two, as they are familiar to me.