What type of publisher should you choose?

You’re a writer. You’re passionate about what you do and you want to share a message with the world. What is your next step? Take this quiz from Huffington Post to find out what publishing option is right for you, then check out the following definitions and comparisons.

Here are the four different types of publishers. I’ve added links on each type of publishing to point back to where I found my information.

Traditional: “A traditional book publishing company buys the rights to an author’s manuscript. Buying rights from the author is how book publishers have traditionally acquired books. Usually an agent, representing the author, negotiates the deal with the book publisher and in return gets a percentage of any monies earned from the sale of the author’s book. Part of the arrangement includes payment of an advance by the book publisher to the author to secure the book deal. In return, the author, working with an in-house editor, is expected to finish writing the book in an allotted time – which is often years away. The advance is deducted by the book publisher from any royalties the author receives from the sale of the book.”

Self-Publishing: “Self-publishing is the act of publishing your work independently of an established publishing house. In the past writers unable to publish their work through larger presses have gone through vanity presses, but with print-on-demand services, there are more options today for writers interested in self-publishing than before.”

Hybrid: “The newest model of publishing to have emerged is hybrid publishing, a combination of self-publishing and traditional publishing that empowers both authors and publishers.” This type of publishing gives authors the freedom of self-publishing, with the assistance of a professional editor and designer.

Vanity Press: “A vanity press is one option for writers who have not found a home for their work at a major press and do not have the means to entirely self-publish their book. A good vanity press will proofread and copyedit your manuscript, design a cover, print the book, and even provide some basic marketing services. However, it is expensive to publish your book through a vanity press, and most authors do not recoup the expense. Nor will major publishing houses take your book more seriously as a result.”

It is important to do your research on the company you choose to publish with. I’ve selected a few publishers to compare with my publishing business to give you an idea of the variations of services. 

OWL of Hope (Our Written Lives of Hope) is an independent, small press publisher, a hybrid between a traditional and self-publishing company. Focuses on positive publishing (often with Christian themes) for authors who have a business, congregation, or a venue to sell their book. Strong values centered on holistic health and education. Offers the professionalism of a traditional publishing company and the high royalty benefits of self-publishing.

WestBow Press  is the self-publishing division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan (a traditional publisher). They offer publishing packages specifically for Christian self-publishing authors. Anyone can publish through WestBow, for a price. Regular review of WestBow titles occasionally finds an author an offer of a traditional publishing contract – no promises. They have value standards manuscripts must align to which ensures readers of WestBow books a Christian worldview.

Create Space offers online do-it-yourself options for self-publishing. Also offers professional services for a fee. This is Amazon’s self-publishing option.

Tate Publishing is a family-owned Christian hybrid between a traditional and self-publishing company. Requires agreement with statements of beliefs. They don’t list publishing costs on their website, but a simple Google search produces results that range from $4000+

After much research, I made a chart where you can easily compare pricing and services offered by OWL of Hope, WestBow Press, CreateSpace, and Tate Publishing. Click HERE for the chart.

Note: Unless you’re famous and everything with your name on it brings money on its own, you will have to work to market and sell your book no matter what publishing option you choose. Even famous people do book signings and speak publicly to promote their books. Each publishers will offer a different level of marketing support. Do you research. No publishing company will “make it happen” for you simply because you have a great manuscript. It takes work. The question is, how much work (beyond writing) are you willing to do?

Rachael HartmanRachael Hartman is an experienced writer and author. She has worked as a full-time newspaper reporter, and as a freelance contributor to magazines. She writes high school Sunday school material for Word Aflame Press as well as lessons for Project 7 (P7) student-led Bible Clubs, and blogs for Lady by Design. She enjoys health and exercise, reading, art, and playing with her two dogs Darla and Danny. She owns Our Written Lives of Hope, an online bookstore and publishing house in which she helps others share the message of the hope of Jesus Christ and promotes holistic health. Check out her web site at www.owlofhope.com and link to her on Facebook.

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