NOTE: THIS IS THE STUFF NO ONE ELSE IS
GOING TO TELL YOU.
You Do Anything...
Be Sure You Understand the Definitions of Royalty Publishing, Subsidy Publishing,
Co-Publishing, Publish-On-Demand, Self-Publishing, Print-On-Demand and E-Books
So you've written a book. Now what? Maybe
you have already sent your manuscript to several publishers only to be rejected.
Or perhaps you have answered one of those advertisements from the subsidy
publishers seeking manuscripts. In order to understand your publishing options
you need to define and understand the many ways of getting your book printed or
made available and on the market for sale.
Although they all have the same end result, (getting a book into print
and then into the hands of the public), there are many differences, especially
in the cost and your potential for success.
Publishing as it applies to the book industry
simply means to prepare and offer or "release" a book for sale or distribution.
The publisher is, by definition, the person,
company or organization that puts up the money for the production and marketing
of the book. The publisher takes all the risk
of investing in the book, and in return keeps the largest percentage of the
profit from the sale of the book. The publisher can either be a traditional
royalty publisher or the author (self-publishing).
Royalty publishing is an arrangement where the publisher buys the rights
to publish a book by paying the author an advance or royalty for each book
sold. The royalty payment is usually about 5% to 15% of the publisher's
selling price (wholesale price).
The publisher pays all the cost to edit, design, typeset, print,
bind, advertise and market the book. The author pays nothing.
If you think your manuscript is destined to be a million-copy best
seller you should try get it published by a royalty publisher .
An excellent resource for anyone trying to get published is the book, Writer's
Market. It is an annual listing of the large publishers, magazines,
and small presses who are seeking manuscripts. It also details how to approach
publishers with query letters, sample chapters and manuscripts.
As with most other types of publishing you as the author will
give up all rights to your book, all editorial control, all design control, etc.
and you may have to fight to get those rights back once the contract as ended.
If you have to pay any fee for anything, you
are not dealing with a true royalty publisher.
(This is what we do, that's
why you're here)
Self-publishing is a do-it-yourself approach to getting your book printed,
bound, in the stores and sold. As the author, you contract with a book printer to
make it all happen. Once the books are printed, all copies are delivered to you.
There are no promises regarding sales and the printer does not retain any
The advantages as a self- publisher are
many. You have complete editorial, design, production and marketing control
as well as retaining all rights to your material. You have to take the
risk of investing your money and time in your book but you also get to keep
all the profit.
Once your book is printed and bound you as the
author/publisher will be responsible for marketing and sales. A true book manufacturing company working with
self-publishers will make no phony promises about the potential sales of
your book. At Maverick, our goal is to produce an attractive book with the appropriate
specifications for your genre that will make your job of selling as easy as
possible and we will strive to give you all the information you need to make that
As a self-publisher you will be most successful with a non-fiction
title. Poetry and novels are harder to sell, but not impossible. The type
of book, the area where you live and your personality are a few of the
many factors in determining how you will sell your book. You can sell your
books mail-order, direct to customers at conventions and speaking engagements,
or to bookstores and book distributors. You can also sell books online from your
own website or with your own account at online booksellers like Amazon.com.
As a book
producer for self-publishers, Maverick Publications can print from your
print-ready PDF files, or do all the design work from your manuscript on file or
paper. Design the cover and print and bind using our high-speed digital printers
and traditional offline book binding. Books can be perfect bound, spiral bound
or hard bound.
arrangement other than the two described above should be scrutinized before you
sign any agreement. Below are some of the other creative ways companies have
devised to get the author to "pay them" to "publish" their book.
Subsidy publishing, or vanity publishing as it is also known, involves
paying a publishing house to "publish" your book. The subsidy publisher's
use of the word "publish" has been challenged in court many times by
class-action law suits. As we
said above, by definition the publisher is the person who pays for the
production of the book, most people in the legitimate publishing world
believe the vanity publishers use of the word "publish" is misleading.
The subsidy publisher receives manuscripts from authors who are seeking
publication. A new trend now seems to be charging a fee to read your book to see
if it is acceptable. Of course, it is accepted and a glowing review is always returned to the author. A contract is also included, the
exact details of the transaction are muddled in a sea of small print. The
one clear item is the price that they are going to charge you to "publish"
The cost for subsidy publishing can be as much as 5 times the cost
to have your book printed, even then you might only end up with a few copies of your book printed and bound.
The subsidy publishers claim that they will market your book, and
pay you a royalty for each book sold. The truth is they usually sell less
than 100 copies. There is not a lot of incentive on their part to spend
time and money promoting a book since they have already been paid a fee
by the author. In fact, the author's fee is where they make their money,
not on book sales. On average the subsidy published author will rarely
see a return of even 25% of his initial investment.
Please be careful. Don't sign any contract without reading it first
and fully understanding it. Since these contracts are typically lengthy
and full of legalese it would be in your best interest to consult with
an attorney. But honestly, we don't think there is any reason for any author
to ever consider subsidy publishing.
as with most other types of publishing you as the author will give up all rights
to your book, all editorial control, all design control, etc. and you may have
to fight to get those rights back once the contract as ended.
Co-publishing is a creative way to disguise Subsidy
Publishing as Royalty Publishing. Depending on the contract, usually the author
is asked to pay a portion of the costs, or to share the up-front cost to produce the
books. The publisher pays the remaining phantom production costs and the marketing and promotion costs,
then pays the
author a royalty on books sold. As with subsidy publishing these costs are
always higher than contracting with a printer to self-publish your book.
Usually the upfront fees with co-publishing are
not as high as subsidy publishing so there is a remote chance that the publisher
might sell enough books to pay the author a royalty that will cover the author's up-front
But, just like subsidy publishing, once you have paid a fee to be
"published" there is less pressure on the publisher to
produce and try to sell your books. He has reduced his risk with your co-publishing fee
and will not have the same incentives he would have had if he was assuming all
The exception here is if you find a successful
publisher that specializes in books of the same subject as yours and has a track
record of sales they can show you. Most likely these will be non-fiction titles.
A good example would be some of the better known University
Presses. Lately, they have been offering co-publishing as opposed to full
royalty publishing, because
of budget constraints. If your book is of a subject that is a good fit with the
university press catalog, a co-publishing arrangement might be considered for
the right title. These university presses usually will only accept a title that
is a good fit for them and has the opportunity for success.
And again, as with most other types of publishing you
as the author will give up all rights to your book, all editorial control, all
design control, etc. You may have to fight to get those rights back once the
contract as ended.
are companies on the internet that will "publish" your book for a
fee based on printing them one at a time (print-on-demand) as they sell, usually from their
website, and pay the author a royalty. This is known as
Publish-On-Demand and can be confused with Print-On-Demand as easily as
self-publishing and subsidy publishing are sometimes confused with each other.
There are potential drawbacks to these arrangements. First and most
importantly, you can lose your rights and ownership of your book while the
publishing contract is in force. If later you are not satisfied and want to try
other options such as self-publishing or royalty publishing you will have to
fight to get back your book rights. Read carefully any contract before you sign
Publish-On-Demand can seem very attractive to
the novice or first-time author because of the lower costs to the author than subsidy,
co-publishing or even self-publishing. The author is usually charged a modest initial fee
for cover design and printing set-up costs. Then as books are sold the author is paid
a royalty. The publisher will pay for all the costs to print and
market your book. The publisher makes a profit by selling the book for more than his
printing, marketing and royalties, just like with royalty publishing. Sounds pretty good so far. However, therein lies the problem with Publish-On-Demand.
The only reason the publisher can take what appears to be a risk on your book is
because it will be printed only when an order for it is received. The publisher has no
risk to his investment, since you paid for his design and printing set-up costs,
which in-turn provides little incentive for him to sell your book. In
short, he doesn't risk keeping an inventory on a book that may or may not sell. It is
often a half-hearted way to publish a book that takes advantage of eager
In addition, books that are printed one-at-a-time (POD) usually cost more to
produce than books that are printed in larger quantities, so in
the end, the book buyer must pay a higher than normal
bookstore price and then wait for the book to be printed and shipped. These
factors will most likely affect sales.
As with subsidy and co-publishing, there is little or no risk to the
publisher. Where there is no risk, there is little or no incentive for the
publisher to try to sell your book, he has already made his money on your upfront
OPTIONS FOR AUTHORS
"Publish on Demand)
The difference between Print-on-Demand and
Publish-on-Demand is in the contract. If there are any promises regarding sales,
royalties, marketing etc. and fees associated with those services, that would
indicate "Publish-on-Demand, (see above).
Print-on-Demand is suitable for any book but is
particularly suited for first time fiction authors. For most non-fiction titles, authors have a
defined audience to whom they are planning to sell their book, usually in
quantities that would be more cost-effective for traditional printing than POD
printing. However, fiction authors don't have that built in audience and must
market their book to the general public, competing with well-known authors and
big publishers. Print-on-Demand can be used to get a novel on the market with a minimum of
expense in order to test the market. This will give the novelist a chance
to see if their title and sales skills can compete with the big New York
Print-On-Demand is really just a method
for printing books with high speed digital printers at small to medium quantities
or even one book at a time.
The books are bound either in-line or off-line as with traditional offset
production. This can be as good a method to manufacture books as traditional
printing methods. As with all printing projects the most economical
printing method is determined by the specifications of materials used; number of
colors or ink, page size, number of pages and quantity. Today's new high speed
digital printers are quickly advancing to the point of replacing traditional
offset printing in certain markets. Once the quality and price becomes the same
or better for a given market, digital printers will replace offset printing
As with Self-Publishing, Print-On-Demand authors maintain
all rights and control.
E-Books are simply just electronic versions of books.
The title can and usually does have a printed version also, but some books only exist as E-books. E-Books
less expensive to produce, obviously, than printed books. There are still
up-front design and conversion costs that require, in most cases, a professional
service well versed in E-book creation. The file created can be a PDF file for
download, or a specific file format to use on an E-book reader, like the Kindle.
All the same cautions and definitions of publishing above apply, but making an
E-book from your printed book or creating only an E-book and selling through
your own website or on Amazon, where you retain all your
rights is a good option for some books.
Because of limitations with the hardware (E-book
readers) most E-books are text only. Non-fiction books with photos, tables,
charts, graphs and any other type of graphics do not present the information to
the human reader in a usable form. Until E-book readers advance to a point of
being able to present graphics, most E-books will remain fiction novels of text
E-Book publishing also has one problem that
will never change. There is no paper, no book smell, no tactile satisfaction of
holding a book in your hands. People want to have a book printed on paper.
They want to be able to take it with them to the park or the beach to read it. They want
to flip through the pages at a bookstore while drinking lattes.
I hope this information is helpful to the first-time
author or self-publisher. The industry is rapidly changing, and with those
changes come great opportunities for authors as well as opportunities for
unscrupulous businesses to take advantage of the uninformed. Arm yourself with
knowledge and proceed with caution.