Book Publishing Options

Traditional vs Self vs Digital vs Community

There is an unprecedented upheaval in the book industry today and authors have several options when publishing their works. Some are foregoing the old traditional publishing paradigm and embracing hybrid versions of digital and self publishing models. Authors with large fan bases are using community publishing and crowdsourcing to finance and distribute their works. An explanation of different models follows.

Traditional Publishing

In traditional publishing the author submits the work to an agent or editor. It is highly selective and few authors are accepted. Traditional publishers often demand exclusivity and offer their authors professional editorial, design, marketing and publicity. Most traditional deals involve nationwide or international bookstore distribution, although some are now offering only digital publishing deals. In this model, authors pay nothing to publish and may receive an advance. Royalties are paid to the author after the publisher had recouped the advance. There are hybrids of the traditional publishing model and the newer models involve partnerships which usually offer no advance, but better royalties.

Self Publishing

In the self publishing model, the author purchases the services he or she needs, typically from an e-publishing company. Services typically include, editorial, design, digital formatting, layout and marketing. Books are sold online and via the well known online distribution channels, such as Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, et al. Print books are usually handled via print on demand services, such as Amazon’s Createspace.

Digital Publishing

There are a wide range of digital publishers, from traditional publishers to small independent e-publishing studios. In the digital publishing model, authors typically do not receive advances but keep the majority of royalties. The contract is often fixed term contract and the rights revert back to the author after the specified term.

Community Publishing

In the community publishing model, authors give away their work but they develop an audience base. Wattpad is a well known online community themed around story telling and writing. Another variation of the community model is crowdfunding. Here, authors solicit money from the public offering rewards, such as the completed book, to donors. KickStarter and Indigogo are well known crowd funding sites.