Publishing Options

My publishing services offer what is called Hybrid Publishing to new authors. This is, in my humble opinion, the best option for an author who wants to get a quality-written book (professionally edited and designed) out in a public venue. Read more below for the definition and choices you have as an author.

I want to provide a little bit of education for the types of publishing available for authors.  There are four options for authors to get published:

  1. Traditional publishers – with the authors needing to find and hire a representative to shop the book to the traditional publishers, in a process that could take years.  Once a traditional publisher shows interest in the manuscript, the editing, formatting, cover design, and move to print then distribution could take several years. Authors may obtain an advance on the book, against which any royalties are applied – the publishing houses are taking the financial risk that the book will sell. 
    • The largest publishing houses in the USA are: Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan; mid-size to smaller publishing houses are Houghton-Mifflin, Scholastic, Workman, Sourcebooks, Wiley & Sons, W.W. Norton, Kensington, Chronicle, Tyndale; university presses are Cambridge, University of Chicago; smaller publishing companies examples are Graywolf, Forest Avenue, and Belt Publishing
    • The publishing house sales reps meet with retailers to sell to stores, books are purchased in advance, then a release date set for the books to be put on shelves
    • Authors sought by traditional publishers are: 1) writers on mainstream topics with popular interest (e.g., Rush Limbaugh), 2) celebrity-status or brand-name authors, 3) Genre fiction writers – women, youth, commercial fiction, or 4) non-fiction writers with a huge fan-base or platform
    • Publishers retain publishing rights (usually five years), subsidiary rights and licensing (movies, merchandise), distribution of books to retail stores, increased visibility to media and press
    • Authors do not have control over their book covers or design
    • Authors do not receive much, if any, marketing assistance – this is on their nickel and clock
  • Vanity Presses – these businesses call themselves publishing houses, but they are more services to get the books to the market with the author paying the publisher for the services – ranging between $4K-$10K in advance. 
    • Authors fund the manuscript’s publication in exchange for assistance
    • Often retain the full copyright to the manuscript (not the author!)
    • Funnel royalties through their accounting then shares a royalty percentage with the author
    • Mandate the author purchases a minimum number of prints of the book (e.g., 1,000 copies), author’s wrap and mail to buyers (print-on-demand also performs this service)
    • Places the book on the print-on-demand market (e.g., Amazon, Barnes & Noble, as well as expanded distribution to retail stores and libraries via Lulu or Ingram Sparks publishing companies) but do not offer specific marketing assistance to the author
  • Collaborative, Hybrid, or Assisted Publishing – is actually the best option for new and undiscovered authors while still getting their book out on the market quickly.  The hybrid publisher charges for the manufacturing of the work upfront – the book design and manuscript formatting, editing (proof, line, and developmental), file compilation, book-cover design and layout, file submission(s), error fixing, and setting up the printer’s platform for the author’s personal profile and account.  The pricing for services using a hybrid publishing house may run between $1,500 and $4,000, depending upon the amount of work required and whether an ISBN number is needed (hybrid publishers may offer discounted ISBN numbers to the author under their ‘shingle’ – normally about $150 via Bowker in the USA [free in Canada through their ISBN service provider]).  Once the front-work is completed, and the book published, the hybrid publisher steps away once their tasks are completed.  The author owns their book’s copyright, royalties are deposited into their bank account, and the author is under no obligation to purchase any minimum number of books, while all book sales are print-on-demand and shipping is handled by the marketing platform.  Collaborative publishers can get the manuscript (book) loaded to Amazon (international sales), Barnes & Noble (USA nationwide sales), as well as create an ebook version.  Books created in KDP (Amazon) are available in paperback, but soon will offer hard-cover options (2021).  Barnes and Noble offer paperback and hardcover book options. 
  • Self-Publishing – if you are good at editing, designing, formatting content, and files, use specialty design software, and have an English Grammar Literature-based education or skills set and/or Art Design background, you may do well in self-publishing your own manuscripts, as well as designing your own book covers.  The free version to self-publishing is via Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).  KDP offers free ISBN numbers, templates, and loads of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Forums for newbies.  Since KDP offers free ISBNs, your book will be listed as an ‘independent author’ on Amazon (some readers discriminated against self-publishers).  Or you can purchase an ISBN from Bowker (about $150) to set up and publish under your ‘publishing house’ shingle (business name).  As of April 2021, KDP only offers paperback and ebook publishing, but they are in beta version for hardcovers.  Another almost free version of publishing is Barnes & Noble, but authors are required to purchase Bowker ISBN numbers to publish on this platform.  Barnes & Noble offers both paperback and hardcover print options.  One can also use book printing and distribution services such as Lulu or Ingram Sparks. Those services cost between $50-$100 to publish, offer paid services for editing and cover design (prices range).  The advantage of using these services are they push the distribution of the books to retail stores and libraries nationwide.

In all three types of publishing, the author has the onus to market the books.  Here is an anecdote from General Colin Powell, who was one of the speakers at a Navy Blue Coast Annual military trade show and convention (2007, Virginia Beach, VA) and he told this story:

Powell had signed a publishing contract to write a book (either “My American Journey” (https://amzn.to/2irWrQk; Ballentine Books or “In His Own Words: Colin Powell” https://amzn.to/2jQzz2c; Perigee Trade). He received a $1M advance on the book.  While he was in the publisher’s office, they pushed the advanced royalty check across the desk to him.  And then they asked, “What is your plan to market your book?”

He was dumbfounded and responded, “I thought you all did that?”

They responded, “Oh, no!  We print massive copies of the book and ensure they get into the stores, but marketing the book is up to you …”

So, General Colin Powell had to make plans to market his own book, hire a PR firm, set up a marketing schedule, including visiting bookstores, and advertise his book signings.

Authors of books are really the critical marketing point for sales – they must get out to speak, offer papers at conventions, get onto TV shows, send out emails to fellow academics to get the book on class reading lists, get the book into university and college student bookstores and libraries, and call up the local bookstores and book fairs to meet with readers and sell the books.  They can call up and/or email academic professors to encourage them to add the book to their student’s reading lists.

While traditional publishers funnel books into bookstores nationwide, who wants to wait two years before earning royalties?  Vanity presses ‘own’ the author’s work, and who wants to work that hard and long for someone else to own one’s productivity.  The Collaborative (Hybrid) publishers earn their services in advance, where the author has 100% control over the process while the editor and publisher provide professional advice and counsel at a reasonable price to the author.

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Publishing Options

My publishing services offer what is called Hybrid Publishing to new authors. This is, in my humble opinion, the best option for an author who wants to get a quality-written book (professionally edited and designed) out in a public venue. Read more below for the definition and choices you have as an author.

I want to provide a little bit of education for the types of publishing available for authors.  There are four options for authors to get published:

  1. Traditional publishers – with the authors needing to find and hire a representative to shop the book to the traditional publishers, in a process that could take years.  Once a traditional publisher shows interest in the manuscript, the editing, formatting, cover design, and move to print then distribution could take several years. Authors may obtain an advance on the book, against which any royalties are applied – the publishing houses are taking the financial risk that the book will sell. 
    • The largest publishing houses in the USA are: Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan; mid-size to smaller publishing houses are Houghton-Mifflin, Scholastic, Workman, Sourcebooks, Wiley & Sons, W.W. Norton, Kensington, Chronicle, Tyndale; university presses are Cambridge, University of Chicago; smaller publishing companies examples are Graywolf, Forest Avenue, and Belt Publishing
    • The publishing house sales reps meet with retailers to sell to stores, books are purchased in advance, then a release date set for the books to be put on shelves
    • Authors sought by traditional publishers are: 1) writers on mainstream topics with popular interest (e.g., Rush Limbaugh), 2) celebrity-status or brand-name authors, 3) Genre fiction writers – women, youth, commercial fiction, or 4) non-fiction writers with a huge fan-base or platform
    • Publishers retain publishing rights (usually five years), subsidiary rights and licensing (movies, merchandise), distribution of books to retail stores, increased visibility to media and press
    • Authors do not have control over their book covers or design
    • Authors do not receive much, if any, marketing assistance – this is on their nickel and clock
  • Vanity Presses – these businesses call themselves publishing houses, but they are more services to get the books to the market with the author paying the publisher for the services – ranging between $4K-$10K in advance. 
    • Authors fund the manuscript’s publication in exchange for assistance
    • Often retain the full copyright to the manuscript (not the author!)
    • Funnel royalties through their accounting then shares a royalty percentage with the author
    • Mandate the author purchases a minimum number of prints of the book (e.g., 1,000 copies), author’s wrap and mail to buyers (print-on-demand also performs this service)
    • Places the book on the print-on-demand market (e.g., Amazon, Barnes & Noble, as well as expanded distribution to retail stores and libraries via Lulu or Ingram Sparks publishing companies) but do not offer specific marketing assistance to the author
  • Collaborative, Hybrid, or Assisted Publishing – is actually the best option for new and undiscovered authors while still getting their book out on the market quickly.  The hybrid publisher charges for the manufacturing of the work upfront – the book design and manuscript formatting, editing (proof, line, and developmental), file compilation, book-cover design and layout, file submission(s), error fixing, and setting up the printer’s platform for the author’s personal profile and account.  The pricing for services using a hybrid publishing house may run between $1,500 and $4,000, depending upon the amount of work required and whether an ISBN number is needed (hybrid publishers may offer discounted ISBN numbers to the author under their ‘shingle’ – normally about $150 via Bowker in the USA [free in Canada through their ISBN service provider]).  Once the front-work is completed, and the book published, the hybrid publisher steps away once their tasks are completed.  The author owns their book’s copyright, royalties are deposited into their bank account, and the author is under no obligation to purchase any minimum number of books, while all book sales are print-on-demand and shipping is handled by the marketing platform.  Collaborative publishers can get the manuscript (book) loaded to Amazon (international sales), Barnes & Noble (USA nationwide sales), as well as create an ebook version.  Books created in KDP (Amazon) are available in paperback, but soon will offer hard-cover options (2021).  Barnes and Noble offer paperback and hardcover book options. 
  • Self-Publishing – if you are good at editing, designing, formatting content, and files, use specialty design software, and have an English Grammar Literature-based education or skills set and/or Art Design background, you may do well in self-publishing your own manuscripts, as well as designing your own book covers.  The free version to self-publishing is via Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).  KDP offers free ISBN numbers, templates, and loads of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Forums for newbies.  Since KDP offers free ISBNs, your book will be listed as an ‘independent author’ on Amazon (some readers discriminated against self-publishers).  Or you can purchase an ISBN from Bowker (about $150) to set up and publish under your ‘publishing house’ shingle (business name).  As of April 2021, KDP only offers paperback and ebook publishing, but they are in beta version for hardcovers.  Another almost free version of publishing is Barnes & Noble, but authors are required to purchase Bowker ISBN numbers to publish on this platform.  Barnes & Noble offers both paperback and hardcover print options.  One can also use book printing and distribution services such as Lulu or Ingram Sparks. Those services cost between $50-$100 to publish, offer paid services for editing and cover design (prices range).  The advantage of using these services are they push the distribution of the books to retail stores and libraries nationwide.

In all three types of publishing, the author has the onus to market the books.  Here is an anecdote from General Colin Powell, who was one of the speakers at a Navy Blue Coast Annual military trade show and convention (2007, Virginia Beach, VA) and he told this story:

Powell had signed a publishing contract to write a book (either “My American Journey” (https://amzn.to/2irWrQk; Ballentine Books or “In His Own Words: Colin Powell” https://amzn.to/2jQzz2c; Perigee Trade). He received a $1M advance on the book.  While he was in the publisher’s office, they pushed the advanced royalty check across the desk to him.  And then they asked, “What is your plan to market your book?”

He was dumbfounded and responded, “I thought you all did that?”

They responded, “Oh, no!  We print massive copies of the book and ensure they get into the stores, but marketing the book is up to you …”

So, General Colin Powell had to make plans to market his own book, hire a PR firm, set up a marketing schedule, including visiting bookstores, and advertise his book signings.

Authors of books are really the critical marketing point for sales – they must get out to speak, offer papers at conventions, get onto TV shows, send out emails to fellow academics to get the book on class reading lists, get the book into university and college student bookstores and libraries, and call up the local bookstores and book fairs to meet with readers and sell the books.  They can call up and/or email academic professors to encourage them to add the book to their student’s reading lists.

While traditional publishers funnel books into bookstores nationwide, who wants to wait two years before earning royalties?  Vanity presses ‘own’ the author’s work, and who wants to work that hard and long for someone else to own one’s productivity.  The Collaborative (Hybrid) publishers earn their services in advance, where the author has 100% control over the process while the editor and publisher provide professional advice and counsel at a reasonable price to the author.

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