Which Self-Publishing Route Should I Take?

self publishing routes

With the emergence of modern copiers and sophisticated printing technology, many authors are now opting to get into self-publishing rather than stick with conventional third-party printing. The reason is obvious. Authors like being able to stick to their own creativity and style without the need to please the standards of publishers and editors (even though I wish more of them would, lol). In terms of revenue, self-publishing is also more promising than conventional publishing. 

Not known to many, self-publishing has been around for many years. The practice has taken several forms through the years. These days, there are three major kinds of self-publishing adapted by authors: vanity publishing, subsidy publishing, and true self-publishing. 

Vanity publishing is disparaging. The practice is essentially when a publisher contracts with an author without giving much regard to the quality as well as marketability of the content. The term is called such because, in this arrangement, publishers are appealing to an author’s vanity — the desire to become a full-fledged published author. This self-publishing is usually most attractive among new writers. 

Vanity presses exist under the guise of subsidy or joint venture presses. However, in this arrangement, the author agrees to shoulder every cost of publication. He also agrees to take all the existing risks. Publishers have nothing to lose in vanity press deals. They would earn money from the fees collected from the authors (yes, the authors pay publishers fees for publishing their work). Many experts advise writers to stay away from such presses. 

Many authors willingly and knowingly enter such deals because they put more importance on having their work commercially published rather than on gaining profit from it. To some, a vanity press is a stepping stone into the tight publishing industry. Experts believe most published materials through vanity presses fail commercially because the content is consistently criticized by skeptics, distributors, and even readers. This could be because the quality is not judged by an independent body prior to massive printing. 

Subsidy publishing is like vanity publishing, only that in this arrangement, the publisher agrees to contribute to some of the costs, specifically in adjunct services like editing, warehousing, distribution, and in part, marketing. However, such adjunct services are most of the time minimal. Overall, the commercial publisher possesses and owns the book, but the author gets royalties for every copy sold in the market. It is also a standard practice that subsidy publishers keep some rights to the book. Lastly, authors are given minimal say and control over other production aspects like cover design. 

True self-publishing is the best option amongst all three. In this setup, the author takes care of everything, from writing content, marketing, storage, distribution, and all other publishing aspects. Every right to the book is owned by the author. The books are registered as the author’s intellectual property, with the author getting all the right to enjoy the proceeds from sales.

True self-publishing is deemed the most cost-effective because the author can have control over variable publishing factors and enjoy more freedom in terms of style and earnings. However, you may find that you know what to do but will need professional assistance to make your literary dream a published reality. 

If you are working on self-publishing a book and need assistance, please check out I A.M. Editing, Ink at www.iamediting.com to get started. We are currently closed for the holidays, but if you send an email to ia.m.editingink@gmail.com, we will be sure to respond as soon as we open on January 9! 

I wish love, joy, peace, and bountiful blessings to each of you who have taken the time to read my blog this year. Here’s to publishing amazing stories in 2023! See you next year!

Adrienne Michelle Horn is the owner of I A.M. Editing, Ink. Although she has a full-time professional career in healthcare, she is also a South Florida-based editor, poet, author, entrepreneur, and mother of her beautiful daughter, Paris.

For more information about Adrienne and her company, follow I A.M. Editing, Ink on social media or visit https://linktr.ee/iamediting