Coming to Terms with Book Publishers

If there’s one thing the book publishing industry can’t agree on it’s definition of types of publishers, with one exception.

Everyone tends to agree the publishers who purchase the rights to your intellectual property that you slaved over for months, if not years, are called royalty publishers.

But after that, the definitions get murky.

The most negative term applied to any publisher is vanity publisher. In the old days, if you paid to be published, you were considered vain, and thus vanity published.

But in current days, with technology making publishing virtually available to everyone, and royalty publishers making it clear they’re not interested in working with hardly anyone, there’s been some major changes in book publishing options.

Vanity publishers today take your manuscript and put it into book form without improving it (thus the term deserves the negative reputation).

Self-publishing means the author starts a publishing company and publishes his/her own work. Of course, the author/self-publisher purchases the ISBNs (International Standard Book Numbers) and hires experts such as editors, proofreaders, designers to create a good product, but the key to the definition is self-publishing–the publisher publishes self.

So many of the Internet puppy mill presses use the term self-publishing, but the term doesn’t work because the authors don’t own the ISBN, so the authors aren’t the publishers. Thus the book is NOT self-published.

Subsidy publishers is a term that works better because the authors pay for everything (subsidize) involved in the publishing of their books. Most subsidy publishers offer tiers of service. The more you pay, the more services you get. And seldom, if ever, is anyone turned down by a subsidy publisher. You got money, you’ll get published–just pick your package.

And to make things appear sweeter, these publishers often thrown out the term royalty as if to make you think getting a percentage  back, called a royalty,  from books you paid to publish, then sold will make you feel better. (You already paid for the books, so shouldn’t they be yours?)

Equity publishers are rare. Yes, the author pays to be published, but equity publishers believe the books belong to the author once the author pays for the project. Thus, equity publishers don’t play the royalty game. All profits from the sale of the books go to the author.

Equity publishers also invest in the book’s success by paying for and NOT charging authors for listing the books on the publisher’s website (with a link to the author’s website so  people can buy books there), by paying for and NOT charging authors for space when the publisher is in trade shows, etc.

Equity publishers don’t publish everything submitted to them either. At Expert Publishing, we publish business, self-help, and inspirational books. Our imprint, et al. Publishing, publishes other worth work.

Many people don’t want to understand today’s terms–they’re back in the old days when you were royalty published, vanity published, or self-published. We’re way beyond those limitations and it’s time to catch up with the times.

Now that you’ve come to terms with book publishers, I hope you find the publisher best for your book.

Happy writing!


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