When it comes to sharing your words with the world, it’s important to know what publishing option is best for you. Be it traditional publishing, hybrid publishing, or self-publishing, each comes with its own pros and cons. Each option is fluid and ever-changing, all based on a variety of factors. Additionally, there is a lot of noise in the publishing realm currently as different companies step out into this lane, some driven by potential profits and some with an honest desire to serve aspiring authors.
You’ve invested time and energy—possibly even sweat and tears—so this next step is critical. Let’s look at a snapshot of the different publisher types to help you make an informed decision for what is right for you and your book.
Three Main Types of Book Publishers
Traditional or Trade Publishing
Most of the books you’ve read or recognize made it into bookstores through traditional publishing companies. For the most part, they pay authors an advance, buying the rights to edit, produce, publish, and sell the work. To get in the door with these companies usually requires an agent who handles all the negotiations on your behalf, as well as a robust platform of followers who are poised to buy your book.
The “Big Five” publishing houses include Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Hachette Book Group, and Macmillan.
Pros of Traditional Publishing:
- Receive an advance for your work
- Increased chance of hitting a bestseller list
- More marketing help and resources and more likely to get press attention
Cons of Traditional Publishing:
- Longer timeline to publish (average timeframe is 12-18 months)
- Less creative control – your book becomes a product of the publisher so much of the creative decision is up to them
- Low royalties and return on your investment
- Possible large financial investment expectations to market book (dependent on your publisher’s preferences or requirements)
Hybrid publishing is a somewhat newer option that exists somewhere between traditional and independent publishing. It can be a bit confusing or even controversial because there is no universal definition. There are many different hybrid models, so if you are interested in a particular hybrid publisher, we definitely recommend further research into their structure and terms to see if this is best for you.
There may be submission guidelines, and the company may retain the right to direct the editorial and creative process. Some may make deals with traditional publishers, requiring authors to pay more upfront but yield higher royalties in the end. Overall, most hybrid publishers offer a partnership agreement, providing authors some in-house editorial and distribution support, as well as share in the book’s profits.
Pros of Hybrid Publishing:
- Quick publishing schedule
- Possible traditional publishing option
- Potential creative ownership
Cons of Hybrid Publishing:
- Author’s monetary investment
- Share royalties with publisher, in most cases, which can drastically minimize the return on your investment
- Responsibility of book marketing planning and execution, in most cases
Self-publishing is a wonderful option for those with a great message but who lack the large platform required by most publishing houses. You will find different models to choose from, but for the most part self-publishing allows you to handle the entire process from A to Z with you in the driver’s seat.
Often times, you will hear self-publishing and independent (or indie) publishing used interchangeably, but even in that there are variations between the two. A true self-publishing author is both author and publisher and is solely responsible for all expenses related to writing, editing, designing and publishing his or her book. An indie publisher can be a fully independent author or it can be a trusted company, like MRM, who offers a variety of menu options to help guide authors through the process.
Pros of Self-Publishing:
- Quick publishing schedule
- Full creative control
- Full ownership and rights
Cons of Self-Publishing:
- Author’s monetary investment
- Possible lack of professionalism or accuracy in final product or process, if managed solely by the author
- Responsibility of book marketing planning and execution, if managed solely by the author
What is the best publishing option for you?
At the end of the day, it’s important to research your options to know what fits you best. It took months (if not years) to put your words onto a page, so don’t skimp on this next, crucial step. And remember not all companies are the same. There may be many to choose from but be prayerful and particular so you’re happy with the process from start to finish. Key items to consider as you research and plan are: your available budget, the timeframe you would like, and how much support (ranging from DIY to Done-for-You) you will need.
Market Refined Media & Publishing
For those interested, MRM brings expertise to every step of the publishing process. From content creation, editing, formatting and typesetting, cover design, copyright, marketing and publicity, and distribution, MRM lets the author choose the support they require. Then we work to amplify your message and optimize each area of support we offer. We are ready to help you bring your message into the world. Because we’ve worked extensively with authors for more than a decade and know what works and what doesn’t, we are able to guide you with integrity and expertise.
Market Refined Publishing follows a compilation of hybrid, independent, and self publishing models, which we affectionately refer to as “boutique publishing”, and here’s what sets us apart from other publishing options:
- You keep 100% of royalties from your hard-earned book sales – we charge a flat fee up front for the use of our publishing imprint and the related services; no other fees or royalties are owed to us.
- You maintain ownership of all author accounts and files – we not only oversee the actual publishing process under your own Kindle Direct Publishing and IngramSpark accounts, but we also provide you with all final files for each platform.
- You can order books in bulk on your own when you need them – there is no need to go through us or another publisher to make that happen, and you purchase these books at cost to print and ship only (no added fees).
- You can choose to un-publish or update yourself – should you choose to un-publish your book in the future, or revise and re-release it, you may do so without the need to request our permission. (You might need our help again with the design, and that’s ok!)
- You are not in this alone! We work to educate and communicate well with you through every step of the publishing process, and we are always here to help if/when you need us!
Want more information or to schedule a call to learn more? Contact us here to get started!