Monday, December 07, 2009

The Differences in Publishing

Do you really understand the differences between self-publishing, vanity publishing, pay-to-publish and traditional publishing? It’s all rather confusing. The lines have become blurred, partly because more authors are self-publishing or paying vanity publishers to do some of the work, but not all, and partly because some vanity publishers are promoting themselves as self-publishers and various pay-to-publish companies offer so many different options and prices.

Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware discusses the different options and how the lines have become entangled or deliberately blurred. She takes you through the history of self-publishing and vanity presses, and asks some important questions, like:
Is self-publishing keeping 100% of the profit from sales? Is it owning your ISBN number? If the company that produces your book takes a cut, or if you use its ISBN, are you by definition vanity published, even if you didn’t pay an upfront fee? Is any print-on-demand publishing service vanity publishing, or are there meaningful differences between them?
She does more than ask questions, though. She gives you her definitions of Self-Publishing, Assisted Self-Publishing, Vanity Publishing, and Deceptive Vanity Publishing. She not only defines the categories, she names companies that fall under each.

Her article is definitely one to read and save.
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17 comments:

  1. I will check out the article!

    My understanding is that true self-publishing means you use your own ISBN number.

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  2. I'll read this too though it might be slightly different in Canada. My dear friend, Arlo Moen, used a self-publishing company to get his book done. The woman was a treat. In his case, it was a life-saver as he was 88 when he finished his book. Maybe he'll live to be a hundred but that still might not be long enough to go through the long query process. I advised him to just get the darn thing done and I believe he is happy he did so. He just did another batch and thinks he has to sell them all but really he has more money than time. He retained his ISBN number.

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  3. Wow, Helen thanks! You always give valued information and clear up all the questions lingering about this business.

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  4. Timely article with so much misinformation out there.
    I'm surprised you don't have captchas on after yesterday.

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  5. I retained my ISBN, I own all the artwork and interior layout, design, etc. Plus I get 100% of the money from sales. But I think you must research very carefully what company you use.
    Karen

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  6. This topic is a confuser for sure. Victoria Strauss has long been a great friend of the author community. Her assessment is pretty close to the Gold Standard. Good find, thanks for sharing.

    BTW, best of luck with your elderly dog (Saw your tweet.) I did that series of issues some years ago and it is...difficult.

    Best Regards, Galen

    Imagineering Fiction Blog

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  7. Thanks for the link. There seem to be more and more options for authors with each passing week, and yes, it can get confusing! What is it they say, knowledge is power? I'm headed over to read up on it ...

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  8. Definitely will check out the article. Sounds like it goes into quite a bit of depth, clarity and detail. Thanks for the link.

    Marvin D Wilson

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  9. Thanks for the article. I've frequently lumped them together in the past, but know there are differences.

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

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  10. I just read the very interesting article. I have some friends who are trying to decide what to do with their books right now so I'll pass this helpful information along.

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  11. Laura, I've used the Captcha thing before, but try not to. Those spam comments seem to come in batches. I'll get them for several days in a row, then they stop for awhile. Yesterday, late in the day, for some reason I got a long string of them and had to delete each one. I apologize to you; I know you had to wade through them to leave a comment.

    I'm glad y'all are checking out Victoria's post. If you've wondered about the differences, she really helps in breaking it down.

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  12. No, I didn't see them yesterday but since I subscribe to comments they were in my mail box this morning! I don't mind, I just thought you might be pulling your hair out. ;)

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  13. No missing hair yet. I'm hoping they won't keep appearing.

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  14. I know next to nothing about this topic, so this is a great link for me :) Thanks!

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  15. Very informative article, Helen. Thanks for the link. It has been so difficult lately to know the boundaries between self-pubbed and vanity or subsidy, and that has made it hard for self-pubbed authors to get distribution. Too many distributors are lumping them all together.

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  16. I know there are situations where it makes good sense to self-publish, and others where it's best to hold out for a traditional publisher, even if it's a small one. One factor is the author's expertise in self-editing, and another is the professional requirements of the various writing organizations a writer may wish to join for full active benefits. There's a lot to consider, and so many options. Boggles the mind.

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  17. Very good points, Maryann and Patricia. There is so much to consider with a decision on how to publish. And writers' organizations which can be very helpful with promotion and advice are drawing lines on who can be a member, based on those very publishing decisions.

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