Traditional Publishing or Commercial Publishing
Traditional publishers are investors in a product. The product just happens to be a book.
Most often they purchase the rights to produce the product from the author. Agents are often involved to negotiate sales and terms of contract.
Subsidy Publishing or Partner Publishing
Subsidy publishers enter a partnership with authors.
They are like co-producers of a product.
Let say if the contract is 50%/50%.
Each partner (the author and the publisher) will invest 50% of the cost for production.
Once the book sales start coming in, they will split the commission 50%/50%.
These percentages can be all over the scale. Just make sure the investment and commission is fair. You should get back the percentage you put in.
Often, these kinds of publishers will invest services such as editing, cover work, formatting etc. and the author will pay for the actual printing or they will use print on demand.
Authors should keep all rights and ownership of the work.
Good Vanity vs Bad Vanity
This is basically a publisher for hire.
Everyone rolls their eyes at the mention of Vanity Publishing, but if you've used CreateSpace at all, in a very real way you could fall under Vanity Press.
Lets say you wrote a book, but have no idea what to do next.
You want to hire a company to edit, format, do the illustrations, printing, etc.
You give them a wad of cash and they drop of a pallet of books on your doorstep.
They make their money from services and printing. What happens to that pallet of books is up to you. Sometimes they will also sell you services such as marketing or distribution.
See. That doesn't sound so bad. Its a lot like self-publishing except you have a ton of help.
Why Vanity Presses have a bad rep
- Uneducated authors feel scammed.
Sometimes Vanity Presses present themselves as a "publisher" and not a "press." This can be misleading and authors often fell ripped off when they get a pallet of books on their doorstep and not a pallet of money.
****Vanity Presses are in the business of printing books, NOT selling books.***
As long as you are educated in this, you shouldn't feel ripped off.
Vanity Presses can be amazing for some authors.
- Quality control
Vanity presses don't often have quality control and will accept any author (good or bad.)
****This model should only be used if the author has an incredible amount of knowledge in the publishing industry.***
The author wears all the hats and bears all responsibility for the writing, investment of production cost, quality control, marketing, distribution, etc.
They will often use a services company like Eden Literary to make sure they have a quality product that is edited, illustrated, formatted, etc. to professional standards so they can compete with other authors.
The author makes 100% of the profit, and retains 100% of control, and 100% of rights.
Hiring a publicist and submitting to distributors will help an author be more successful with sales.
Getting a good distributor, reputation, and fan following can be MORE IMPORTANT than getting a publisher.
Publishing Group or Publishing Guild
This is like the Law of Consecration, but for authors.
Lets say you have a tight-knit group of 5 authors.
Susan is a professional editor.
Sally does professional formatting.
Sidney is a professional cover designer.
Sarah does marketing and tours.
Sandra does events and wed design.
This glorified writer's group is each other's cheerleaders, writing coaches, and each invest time equally in the other's books.
The authors then may use a print on demand such as CreateSpace to then make their books available to readers or they may print and distribute like traditional publishers.
This awesome thing about this is that when one author is successful, then it raises everyone else up. The guild name becomes more powerful and each author has increased credibility.
This is a great way to build a fan base fast.
if you want to join a writers guild, make sure you have something amazing to offer and the people in your group can offer you something amazing in return.
Make sure you all work at a similar work pace. If everyone is producing 15 books a year and you only write 1 book over 15 years, then this group may not benefit you.
These kinds of groups fall apart when there is inequality.
Other important terms:
Authors who use 2 or more ways to publish.
These authors statistically make more money than other types of authors.
For example: Angelia published with a big publishing house in New York, but she also has a Christmas book she self-published.
Publishers who offer several types of publishing services.
Their contracts are flexible depending on the author's needs and what they are willing to invest.
These publishers may just act as a coach for self-published authors, or invest 50/50, or if the product is something they think they can get a return on, then they may offer the author an advance like a traditional publisher.
Indie Publishers and Indie Author
These terms are often used very loosely, but would usually fall under the category of Self-published or Partner Published.
The authors have flexible contracts or no contract at all.
The author will also retain most, if not all rights.