By Terry Wright
A couple weeks ago, I attended the RMFW May Workshop where I got into a conversation with other attendees about the publishing options available to writers these days. The subject of self-publishing came up, and I discovered there were differing opinions on what that entailed. So I’d like to share with you my thoughts on this subject.
There are three main routes you can take with your manuscript to come up with a book (or e-book).
#1. Traditional Publishing. This is any royalty-paying publisher, be it New York’s Big 6 or Anytown USA small press, that does not charge you a fee of any kind to publish your book. Most writers set out to be traditionally published. Whether these publishers pay an advance or not does not affect their “traditional publisher” title. These published books, paper and electronic, go through the editing process to ensure the best quality product gets to market.
#2. Vanity Press. This is any publishing or printing company that charges you a fee to produce your book. These companies offer a variety of ‘services’ and ‘packages’ in different price ranges. Problem is, they will put most anything in print, edited or not, quality or junk. After all, money is money. Some vanity presses disguise themselves by setting you up in your own publishing company under a separate marquee. And there are those who offer file conversions and uploads to Kindle (for example) for a fee. These too are vanity presses.
#3. Self Publishing. This is where you set up your own publishing company, take charge of every aspect of the process from beginning to end, and risk every dime of your investment on the success or failure of your book. Unlike vanity publishing where the ‘company’ does everything, you may have to wear many hats or hire professionals to do the work of editing, cover design, book formatting, printing, POD, file conversion...the list goes on. If you self publish, you are the boss of your own business.
The route you choose depends on what you want from your writing career...or not. Is your goal to make the New York Times Bestseller list? Traditional publishing may be your best bet. Do you just want a few (or a hundred) books to sell or give to your family and closest friends? Vanity Press, by all means, don’t get into the business. Or maybe you want control over your books, be hands on in the business, then self publishing may suit your entrepreneurial aspirations.
Whichever you choose, be the best that you can be.