Publishing Industry Terms

Conventional do-it-yourself publishing
Conventional do-it-yourself or self-publishing requires authors to handle and self-fund all aspects of publishing on their own. The author has to research, select, coordinate, and pay for all the services involved in the process, including editing, designing, printing, promoting and distributing his or her book. Authors retain all rights to their books and keep all sales proceeds from the books they sell.

Publishing Services Providers
Self-publishing companies allow authors to retain all rights and creative control over their books while providing guidance and a range of affordable publishing services. These companies generally offer editing, book design, printing, distribution, and marketing. Authors can have their book published and ready for sale in just a few months with a low initial investment, and receive a royalty payment from each book sold. Utilizing print-on-demand technology, author services providers print books in response to customer demand, eliminating the need for costly warehousing.

Subsidy Publishing
Also called cooperative publishing or joint-venture publishing, subsidy publishing is similar to vanity publishing, with the difference being that subsidy publishers usually take on part of the cost of producing the book. Still requiring a large initial investment from the author, subsidy publishers may provide some publishing services, such as editing, distribution and marketing. The books are not owned by the author, but by the publisher, who pays the author a royalty on the sale of each book.

Traditional Publishing
A traditional or commercial publisher purchases authors' manuscripts with all or most of the rights. Historically, two percent of submitted manuscripts are accepted by traditional publishers. The publisher owns the book and controls the process of editing, designing, printing, promoting and distributing the title. Most costs are covered by the publisher and authors receive a portion of sales in the form of royalties.

Vanity Publishing
Vanity publishers produce books at the author's expense. Vanity publishers will publish any author who can afford their services (usually $10,000 to $20,000 per book). They typically provide little or no editing, marketing, distribution or warehousing services. The publishing process takes 12 to 18 months. When complete, the entire print run is the author's property and it is up to the author to warehouse, market and sell it.

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