There never used to be ‘different publishing methods’; there was only one publishing method: traditional publishing. Now, with the rise of technology, authors have more options to choose from.
In my opinion, traditional is still the number one publishing method. I will explain why later in the article. Firstly, here are the most popular publishing methods for authors.
This used to be called vanity publishing but, in the last three years, the name has changed to co-publishing. So what is this type of publishing method? Well, this is where you invest the majority of your monies into your book, as well as into the publisher.
Depending on the publishing package you choose, these types of publishers still act in the same way traditional publishers do: you will still have your cover professionally designed and your book edited, with an International Book Standard Number (ISBN) and get royalty statements.
With this method, you won’t have to wait too long to get a response. However, it can be very costly: some packages can start from £1,000 and, on top of that, if you want books for marketing purposes, you will have to pay for your books as well.
Depending on the publisher, some take a cut from your royalties, which is often high royalty rates – for example, as much as 50% – and some allow you to keep 100% of your royalties. Well, they say 100%, however they do take third party retailer fees, so it is not really 100%.
Some authors like this method. Though they are investing monies, the hassle is taken away from them, ie. finding an editor, book cover designer, getting the ISBN number and copyright. However, some believe they might as well do it themselves, and this leads us to the second most popular publishing method: self-publishing.
There has been a dramatic increase in the choice of this method over the years. No longer is it shunned upon. With the rise of e-books, authors can publish their books in the most cost effective way. Yes, some authors have been successful using this method. I believe writers like it, as they have more control over their project, plus they don’t have to wait eight weeks or more for their project to get turned down or accepted by a publishing house. They can get their work out there – straightaway.
However, it takes a lot of hard work, effort, time and especially money to really succeed with this publishing method. This is why a lot of self-published (also known as independent) authors return to the traditional publishing method, and they are then known as hybrid authors – part traditional, part self-published.
I have a client who is a hybrid author, and it doesn’t bother me one bit, as before she became my client, she was self-publishing. However, there are some publishers and agents who are not OK with this, so make sure you tell them, and check their guidelines before you submit your manuscript to them.
You need to have a good amount of money to invest in this method of publishing – more than for co-publishing – as you need to pay for everything. It is much more cost effective to simply produce an e-book. The quality of these books can be very poor, however, and therefore do not tend to sell well.
Because it is an e-book, most authors would rather design the cover themselves, and do their own editing. It then gets uploaded onto Amazon, but unfortunately the sales can be very slow. If, like me, you prefer a high quality, professional finish, and you are not only looking at doing an e-book, then it can cost realistically around £5,000 plus.
You need to pay for an editor, book cover designer, proofreader, and there are printing costs, plus third party retailer fees. You need to really market yourself to make the book a success.
I would describe this method as a cross between traditional and co-publishing. These publishers work the same way as a traditional publishing house, in the sense that you don’t need to pay for an editor, book cover designer, etc. However, they do expect you to buy a certain number of books with them – sometimes up to 2,000 plus. This is not straightforward traditional publishing, therefore.
Before you enter into an agreement with these publishers, check your budget to see if you can afford to buy so many books. Also consider whether it is worth spending your money. Unless you are a regular international speaker or a mega church pastor, then it will be a waste of money buying the books, and you will just have them taking up space around you. It would be better to buy the books as and when you need them.
In my eyes, this is still the most popular and best publishing method. You do not have to pay for anything – not a penny. The publisher will cover everything for you. You may have to invest in some marketing, but that is at your discretion. You can also buy your books at a discounted price, as and when you need them.
This is why a lot of the traditional publishing houses – especially the bigger, more established houses – only take on authors who can give them a good return on their investment – celebrities, for example. Books are a costly business.
The waiting period with these houses is extremely long. Some of them get hundreds and thousands of manuscripts, which is why most only want agented submissions. There are, however, traditional publishing houses you can go to that don’t take on agented submissions, Yes, it can still be a long wait, but worth it, as not every publisher will say ‘No’; you’ll get one that will say ‘Yes’, and you will start your wonderful journey of becoming a published author.
There you have it: different publishing methods. I would advise you to think wisely and, most importantly, pray before you choose your publishing method. But know this, whichever method you choose, with God on your side you can be a great success.