April 11, 2016 | Posted in: April 2016 A to Z Blog Challenge, Author Resources, XterraWeb Book Blog

Share this post
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

I is for Indie Publishing Options

Authors who choose not to publish traditionally are referred to as independent, or indie, authors. Indie authors must make several decisions throughout their career as an author. One of those decisions is how they will publish their books.

The chart below provides information about four indie publishing options—self-publishing, self-publishing + distribution, assisted publishing (a.k.a. vanity publishing), and partnership publishing—with main characteristics, positives, and negatives of each. This chart will help indie authors to make an informed decision when considering available publishing options.

Use the comments to share your thoughts, choices, and experiences about indie publishing options.

Indie Publishing Options with Positives and Negatives. Self-publishing. Assisted publishing. Vanity publisher. Self-published distribution. Publishing partner.

Self-publishing

Main Characteristics:

  • Author does all the work—responsible for hiring outside services (editing, cover design, formatting) and other assistance.
  • Author chooses retailer(s).
  • Retailer receives a portion of sales.
  • Author keeps all rights to book.
  • Author is responsible for all marketing and promotion.

Positives:

  • Maximizes earning potential.
  • Author can change prices.
  • Author can make changes/updates to any part of book when needed.
  • Author can view sales figures at any time.
  • Author has maximum control over book and marketing.

Negatives:

  • Some retailers demand exclusivity (e.g., Amazon KDP Select).
  • Author is responsible for all marketing and promotion.
  • Requires the most time, skill, and effort from author to get highest quality book possible.
  • Difficult to place books in bookstores.

Self-publishing + Distribution

Main Characteristics:

  • Author does all the work—responsible for hiring outside services (editing, cover design, formatting) and other assistance.
  • Author provides distributor with final files/book.
  • Distributor may take portion of sales and/or charge upfront fee.
  • Author keeps all rights to book.
  • Distributor pays author.

Positives:

  • Distributor is mandatory for print or POD books.
  • Some distributors provide e-book file conversion, marketing tools, and other services for free or a fee.
  • Author isn’t responsible for managing several accounts for multiple retailers.

Negatives:

  • Print and POD services won’t place your book in bookstores.
  • Some distributors are also online retailers which may require upfront fees, a portion of sales, and/or exclusivity.

Assisted Publishing

Main Characteristics:

  • Often referred to as a “vanity publisher.”
  • Better royalties than traditional publishing but less than self-publishing.
  • Author must pay upfront fee for a package of services.
  • Service provider will only do what has been paid for.
  • Any and all work is accepted, regardless of content/quality.

Positives:

  • Author doesn’t have to find services.
  • Author only needs to be able to write a check or make a credit card payment.

Negatives:

  • You get what you pay for.
  • Publisher tries to sell you services you “must” have, which have little value.
  • Books published this way are often seen as lower quality.
  • Some publishers have a poor reputation, which may reflect on the author.

Partnership Publishing

Main Characteristics:

  • Partner provides marketing and industry expertise.
  • No upfront fee is needed, but advance is unlikely.
  • Author must go through a selection process with specific criteria and may be rejected.
  • Author is a partner with an agent, publisher, and/or other author collective.
  • All revenue and risk is shared.

Positives:

  • Author can focus more on writing and less on the business end (marketing, obtaining services, etc.).
  • Lower risk than self-publishing.
  • Better royalties than traditional publishing.
  • Benefit of experienced and knowledgeable partner in publishing industry.

Negatives:

  • Contracts may vary widely, and you may need to hire an agent/attorney to read and review contracts.
  • Some partners only offer distribution and administration services.
  • May be hard to determine if partner is doing enough to earn their share of revenue.

4 Comments

  1. Jodie Whitham
    February 25, 2017

    Leave a Reply

    Which would you recommend? Great to see the options. They are all have their downsides and big benefits x

  2. fashionbeyondforty
    February 25, 2017

    Leave a Reply

    This is such valuable information! I self published the very year it came out and wish I had waited. It was such a new thing back then but now it is more the norm. I am glad to see this updated information on the options in case I want to publish again!

  3. emmaeatsandexplores
    February 26, 2017

    Leave a Reply

    For me, I’d rather go for the publisher option as I’m not really sure what I would be doing if I did it myself. Al they help with the marketing and distribution and I could do with the extra help there.

  4. Chloe
    February 26, 2017

    Leave a Reply

    I’ve actually considered writing a book and hadn’t thought of all these options for when it is finally finished. Thankyou for sharing this!

Leave a Reply