Exciting Possibilities

We’ve talked a bit about traditional and digital publishing and the new possibilities in the publishing industry. Let’s talk today about types of publishers.

Major publishing houses produce most of the books you see in stores. These are the books you see reviewed on the New York Times bestsellers list. Lots of preparation, production, and publicity dollars go into these titles, so competition is stiff. When an author signs with a major publishing house, they usually receive a contract with an advance on royalties (a percentage of the selling price that goes to the author). IF the book sells well enough to earn back the advance, the author may receive a percentage of additional sales. This is a very simplified explanation, obviously, but with minor variations this is the traditional way books have been printed for the last century.

Other books are produced by private publishers or print-on-demand (POD) publishers. These companies do business in a variety of ways. A few pay advances and royalties like the larger houses do. Others pay royalties but do not pay advances. More often YOU pay, purchasing their services individually or in packages, to order a minimum required number of prints. Marketing and sales are up to you, but the company may retain the rights to your manuscript for several years.

Most towns of any size have a printing company. These printers can produce brochures, booklets, and books. Usually there is a bulk discount so that the more you order, the less you pay.

With the advent of digital printing and pdf files, a new wave of printers is developing–hybrid companies like Snowfall Press, CreateSpace, Lulu, and Lightning Source. Why are these exciting?

  • In many cases, there’s no minimum order required. You pay only for what you want.
  • Low or no set-up fee. Just follow the directions to upload your manuscript file.
  • Some will “coach” you through the process so you can do it yourself without buying a “service package,” though those may be available too.
  • For a small charge, they can handle shipping.
  • You may be able to use the same company to publish your manuscript as a paperback or an ebook.

It pays to increase your business skills as you work on your writing skills. Learn more about the publishing industry and the advantages and disadvantages of the many routes to print!

About Lynn Dean

Lynn Dean dictated her first story before she could write and continued to write stories, illustrate them, and bind them into books throughout childhood. As a homeschooling mom, she enjoyed passing a love for writing to her own children and ten years of co-op students.

Read more about Lynn.

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