Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Writing Tip Wednesday--Types of Publishing

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! I’ll be discussing career topics for the next several months. For writing craft topics, see the Labels list in the left sidebar as you scroll down the page.

The publishing world is evolving faster than publishers, agents, and writers can keep up. Authors have more choices than ever before in regards to getting their stories into the hands of readers. Let’s take a look at Types of Publishing.

Traditional Publishers—This option is usually defined as print publishers like the Big 5 and Harlequin for romance. Most pay advances of varying amounts. Print (mass market paperback) is the primary format, but e-books are available for some imprints. Some of these publishers accept only agented submissions. Time from submission to release is often 1-2 years. Some traditional publishers also have e-release only imprints. The publisher is responsible for production and distribution costs.

Small Press/E-Publishers—This option is typically digital-first or digital-only release. Advances are unusual. E-books are the primary format, with print-on-demand books (trade paperback) sometimes made available, depending on sales, book length, or contract stipulations. Most of these publishers do not require agented submissions. Time from submission to release is usually significantly less than traditional publishers, often ranging from 2-3 months to 1 year. The publisher is responsible for production and distribution costs. Royalty rates are usually higher than traditional publishing royalties.

Self-Publishing—This option includes digital and/or print release at the author’s discretion. Advances are not given. E-books are the primary format, but print-on-demand (trade paperback) is also available. Submissions aren’t required. Release time depends on the author’s schedule. The author is responsible for all costs associated with production, distribution, and promotion. Tasks like editing, book cover design, and formatting can be contracted out for fees. All royalties are paid directly to the author from the distributors at higher than traditional, small press, and vanity rates. The author is the publisher.

Vanity Publishing—This option can include digital and/or print release. Advances are not given. The author pays fees to the vanity publisher for book production, distribution, and promotion. This business model does not follow the general rule that money should flow from the publisher to the author.

While I personally don’t advocate choosing the vanity route, each author must decide which course works best for his/her needs. Weigh the pros and cons of each option. Take into consideration how you feel about the time frame to publication, royalty rates, upfront costs, and the learning curve associated with each path. Above all, do your research to make an educated decision!

Which way does your scale lean? Do you prefer more than one method (hybrid author)?

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

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