There are three difficulties in authorship: to write anything worth publishing, to find honest men to publish it, and to find sensible men to read it.
~Charles Caleb Colton
The moment has finally arrived. Your manuscript is complete, and you feel confident that it will appeal to the masses. Your next step: publication.
You will likely take one of three paths:
1. Traditional Publishing. A publishing company buys the rights to your manuscript. You are paid an advance, and all costs associated with the publication (editing, cover design, etc.) and distributions of the book are covered by the publisher according to the budget they have set.
Once the book is launched, the advance that was paid to you is deducted from royalties. You’ll begin to receive royalties after the advance is paid in full. In addition, the publishing house may or may not assist you with marketing. The publisher decides where your book will be sold and how many copies will be printed or made available digitally. Selling your book to a publishing house creates the opportunity to work with professional editors, designers, and promotions teams without incurring high costs. However, when you sell the rights to your book, you sign away most (if not all) creative control and the rights to any distribution decisions for the future of your book.
Currently it is harder than ever for a new author to get a book in front of publishers for serious consideration. It has always been difficult to get your manuscript in front of a publisher, and traditional publishing houses are increasingly cautious now; they can’t afford to take as many chances. They need to be fairly sure they can turn books into bestsellers otherwise they risk losing money. Because of this, first time authors aren’t as attractive as they once were.
2. Vanity Publishing. You pay a company to publish your book. There is no advance, and all costs are covered by you. Typically these types of publishers offer services through packages at various price points, which gives you access to their contracted editors, designers, etc. Creative control will depend on which level of service you choose, and you’ll have more of a say in the finished product than with traditional publishing.
The finished product will be distributed through POD (print-on-demand) or downloadable digital formats. Depending on the contracts you have signed, you may or may not own the distribution rights to your book at the end of this process.
Vanity publishing can be appealing for an author since they offer ready-to-purchase packages. It seems like an easier option on the surface, but be cautious about the terms and conditions and make sure to read the fine print. Vanity publishing is still in the process of finding its way out of the stigma attached to it by traditional publishing. As the self-publishing community grows, look for Vanity press companies to grow and change into a better solution than it is currently with even more offerings for authors.
3. Self Publishing. As the name implies, self publishing means the author is responsible for all of the costs and management of publishing a book. You make your own team. You decide who is going to edit, who will format, who will create the cover design, how the book will be distributed, etc. You are, for all intents and purposes, the publishing company. You can hire editing services from one company, cover art from another company, and distribution services from yet another. You can find one company that will handle all of it under your guidance. You can attempt to do it all yourself, although we strongly suggest professional editing services and cover design to give your book its best chance for success.
Once you have your final edited manuscript, cover art, and written descriptions you’re ready to have your manuscript formatted, arrange for print-on-demand options, and load your book in to distribution channels. You also decide if you want to hire a marketing team or take it on yourself. In addition to retaining all creative control, you keep the highest royalty rates. You will have complete ownership of your finished product, and complete control of bringing your book to market, including all marketing and distribution decisions. Acting as your own publishing company will allow you to reap the rewards of your extensive efforts.
Deciding on a publishing option is both a personal decision as well as a business decision. The world of publishing is changing, and self-publishing is a viable option for authors now. As the lines between vanity publishing and self-publishing blur, the dream of being a published author will be more accessible to authors who don’t have the opportunity to get their books in front of traditional publishers.
The choice is yours. Not everyone wants to take on the challenge of self-publishing, just like not everyone wants to give up creative control over the finished book. There is no “easy” way to publish a book – each option has pros and cons. WaveCloud champions and supports authors, no matter the publishing path they choose. Truly lucky are those authors who get to experience both traditional publishing and self-publishing. They will have the advantage of learning what both sides have to offer after witnessing both processes firsthand. For authors with less publishing experience, companies like WaveCloud have the knowledge you need to help make the decision that is right for you and your manuscript.