Why We Must Understand the Continuum of Book Publishing

Book publishing options are no longer a black and white decision but an array of grays

In past posts, I discussed the benefits of traditional publishing and the benefits of self-publishing, as well as the downsides of traditional publishing and the downsides of self-publishing. Now we’ll discuss book publishing options.

Book publishing, however, does not exist as two sides of a coin, with traditional publishing on one side and self-publishing (once disparaged as vanity publishing) on the other.

Book Publishing Options

Instead, book-publishing options exist on a continuum. At one end are the major presses who carefully screen, edit, produce, and promote books, much as they have done for years. At the other end are the do-anything-for-a-buck outfits. They will print any book, for anyone willing to pay their fees, regardless of its content, quality, or marketability.

In between them lies a vast array of options, from indie presses, to assisted publishing, to outsourcers, to any number of companies with intriguing labels, seeking to find a niche and fill a need.

A few of these presses care nothing about books and only about money. However, most possess a sincere desire to help writers become published authors, advancing the cause of book publishing in the process (as well as earning a profit). They just do it in different ways.

Carefully consider the pros and cons of each book publisher before committing. Click To Tweet

These permutations of publishers are too numerous and evolving to delineate with any accuracy. An author should carefully vet each publisher before making a selection.

The key to evaluating them is to realize that each has a business plan and must make money. Comprehending what their plan is (sometimes we need to dig a bit). And understanding how they make money (even nonprofits must generate income) will provide a basis for determining if their sweet spot matches a writer’s needs.

Book publishing options exist on a continuum, as do the needs of the authors they serve. Finding the right match between publisher and author is essential for the success of both.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

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