What is the 'real'difference between self publishing and Traditional Publishing?

Over the past two years I have read every blog, watched every You Tube post and subscribed to every quality newspaper or magazine about publishing.  I now am trying to work out which route is best.  Have you been able to answer that question for yourself?

 

I write because I want to share by telling stories.

My motivation is not money but story telling.

I would prefer to spend all day long sitting behind an old fashioned typrwriter overlooking a gorgeous sea and just tell my stories.  I wrote my books and then...

Shock! Horror!

 

I have to learn the difference betwen a traditional publisher and a vanity publisher, I have to learn about publicising my book, I have to learn about book covers and so I have loved creating my books but have been sinking in a quick sand of jargon and feel as if I am drowning in ignorance.  In fact, the more I know, the more I feel I don't know.

 

All I wanted to do was tell stories and enter competitions but, at the moment I am learning more about publishers and less about my craft. 

 

Have you any success stories on this topic?

Why do you write?

Why do you self publish?

 

I still feel lulu.com offeres the best all round service when it comes to self publishing.  I end up in debates with Create Space fans.  Is this your experience?

How do you publicise your work?

Have you found competitions that have led to success in spreading the word about your texts?

Hope you have a fab weekend.

E

 

 

Comments


  • Enghisauth wrote:

    Over the past two years I have read every blog, watched every You Tube post and subscribed to every quality newspaper or magazine about publishing.  I now am trying to work out which route is best.  Have you been able to answer that question for yourself?

     

    I write because I want to share by telling stories.

    My motivation is not money but story telling.

    I would prefer to spend all day long sitting behind an old fashioned typrwriter overlooking a gorgeous sea and just tell my stories.  I wrote my books and then...

    Shock! Horror!

     

    I have to learn the difference betwen a traditional publisher and a vanity publisher, I have to learn about publicising my book, I have to learn about book covers and so I have loved creating my books but have been sinking in a quick sand of jargon and feel as if I am drowning in ignorance.  In fact, the more I know, the more I feel I don't know.

     

    All I wanted to do was tell stories and enter competitions but, at the moment I am learning more about publishers and less about my craft. 

     

    Have you any success stories on this topic?

    Why do you write?

    Why do you self publish?

     

    I still feel lulu.com offeres the best all round service when it comes to self publishing.  I end up in debates with Create Space fans.  Is this your experience?

    How do you publicise your work?

    Have you found competitions that have led to success in spreading the word about your texts?

    Hope you have a fab weekend.

    E

     

     


    The basic difference between a traditional publisher and a vanity publisher is that the former pays you to publish your book and the latter expects you to pay all the expenses.

     

    A traditional publisher will not only pay the author an advance against royalties (which the author gets to keep even if the book, God forbid, doesn't sell even a single copy), but also pays for professional editing, proofreading, design, art, advertising and marketing. 

     

    In the case of a vanity publisher, there is no advance (of course) and the author is responsible for all of the expenses of the book's production.

     

    Self-publishing resembles vanity publishing in the respect that it is the author who bears the financial burden of producing their book. Since this can be very expensive (if the author wants their book to be comparable in quality to one that has been traditionally published) many authors will forego professional help, leaving them with a subpar product that they hope to sell at the same price a traditional publisher asks for their books.

     

    But when someone becomes a "self publisher" the operative word is "publisher." And the publisher of a book has a great many important responsibilities. If someone does not feel competent enough to take on every one of those jobs then it behooves them to find people who can.

     

    There are many reasons an author will turn to self-publishing---some of these are perfectly legitimate, many others are based on misconceptions or unrealistic expectations. If the reason an author wants to publish their book is to see it purchased and read, then they have an obligation to make their product comparable in quality to a professionally published book. It is unfair to the consumer to offer anything less. Of course, many authors will complain that they cannot afford to do this. That may be true and if it is they probably should not be offering their book for sale.

     

    I have used this analogy many times in these forums: If an author would not buy a chair from a woodworker who says: "I know that my chair is full of splinters and the legs are uneven and the joints are shakey and the glue is runny and the paint is sticky, but please buy it anyway even if it is priced the same as a chair by an expert craftsman because, you know, I couldn't do any better," then the author should not expect their readers to do the same if their book is not of professional quality.

    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • oncewasoncewas Librarian

    Writers come to self-publishing because they want to be published
    and not because they want to be publishers. This is an important
    distinction.

    I always maintain that everyone is free to publish whatever they
    want to as long as they are realistic about the prospects. Publish
    a book full of grammar and spelling errors, and as dull as ditchwater,
    and you probably will not sell many copies. That does not mean you
    should not have published it in the first place, only that you should
    not expect it to sell very many copies.

    Digital publishing has democratized published. It is as unrealistic
    to expect all the millions of people who self publish to be realistic
    about their chances of sucess as it is to expect that all the people
    who have digital cameras and cell phones to stop posting pictures
    of their butts on the internet. You might not like it, you might
    think it immoral, you might think it depraved and disgusting and
    uncultured and ridiculous but it keeps on happening.

    What am I trying to say? If you are a serious artist, if you have a
    'voice' that the world needs to know about, go out and find a publisher.
    If you can't go down that route, but you are convinced that you can hit
    the big time, hire an editor, proof-reader, cover designer, promoter
    etc, etc.

    If you are realistic and/or can't afford to hire help, welcome to reality.
    Make your book the best it can be within your budget and then set
    it free. I have paid for, and taken much pleasure from, books that
    were far from perfect. I'm not talking about books that have incorrect
    formatting and twenty errors per paragraph but books with warmth, wit
    and wisdom with a few faux pas. I salute those authors. If you had listened
    to the grand old fogeys you would have been silenced. Your courage
    led directly to my reading pleasure.


  • danielblue wrote:

    Writers come to self-publishing because they want to be published
    and not because they want to be publishers. This is an important
    distinction.

     

    I will have to disagree. An author may not want to be a publisher but by definition they take on that mantle when they become a "self-publisher." The process of getting a book into print is publishing. And once an author decides to do that, they need to perform all the various roles of a publisher. Even if an author decides to forego editing, proofreading and design, the simple act of getting their book into print is publishing.

    I always maintain that everyone is free to publish whatever they
    want to as long as they are realistic about the prospects. Publish
    a book full of grammar and spelling errors, and as dull as ditchwater,
    and you probably will not sell many copies. That does not mean you
    should not have published it in the first place, only that you should
    not expect it to sell very many copies.

     

    Indeed. You make an important point that many authors who want to self-publish too often fail to realize.

    Digital publishing has democratized published. It is as unrealistic
    to expect all the millions of people who self publish to be realistic
    about their chances of sucess as it is to expect that all the people
    who have digital cameras and cell phones to stop posting pictures
    of their butts on the internet. You might not like it, you might
    think it immoral, you might think it depraved and disgusting and
    uncultured and ridiculous but it keeps on happening.

     

    There is a difference, however. The tens of millions of people posting photos on the Internet are not charging for the privilege of looking at them. The vast majority of self-published authors are not giving their books away for free. They are charging for them. But, as you are suggesting, no one is being forced to purchase these books...and, thanks to previews, most people can spare themselves the worst of the books.

    What am I trying to say? If you are a serious artist, if you have a
    'voice' that the world needs to know about, go out and find a publisher.
    If you can't go down that route, but you are convinced that you can hit
    the big time, hire an editor, proof-reader, cover designer, promoter
    etc, etc.

    If you are realistic and/or can't afford to hire help, welcome to reality.
    Make your book the best it can be within your budget and then set
    it free. I have paid for, and taken much pleasure from, books that
    were far from perfect. I'm not talking about books that have incorrect
    formatting and twenty errors per paragraph but books with warmth, wit
    and wisdom with a few faux pas. I salute those authors. If you had listened
    to the grand old fogeys you would have been silenced. Your courage
    led directly to my reading pleasure.

     

    Well said.

     

    A good writer needs to be a good craftsman, however, and a good craftsman takes pride in their work. And not just in the finished piece but in the entire process of creating it. It is entirely possible for an author to publish a book that is not only well worth reading but well crafted---even if the results do have a few bumps and warts. So do many great paintings and sculptures. The point is do as well as you possibly can with all the resources you have, and try to get better with every effort...that is what any craftsman does.

     

    I don't know of any "grand old fogeys" who are discouraging---let alone silencing---would-be authors. I can see, however, how easy it might be for anyone listening to someone talk about the fact that learning to write well is hard---and publishing well perhaps even harder---to think they are being discouraged. Or how someone may decide that the entire industry is against them after getting their first rejection slip. These are all too often the same people who want it all to be dead easy....but neither art nor craftsmanship comes easy---nor should it.

     

    By the way, it's an interesting fact that---contrary to what just about every self-published author believes---every major commercial publisher welcomes new authors. (Think of it this way: every best-selling author had to have had a first book at some time.) Not long ago I did a survey of the catalogs of more than a dozen of the largest commercial publishers in the country and discovered that first-time authors counted for anywhere from 10% to more than 30% of the new books listed. What publishers are looking for, however, are new ideas and new voices...not the ten thousandth Harry Potter clone, urban vampire romance or zombie invasion...however well-written they may be. What a publisher wants is not another Harry Potter but the next Harry Potter.

     

    (By the way, before anyone pipes up with the old "you gotta know someone to get your book published" mantra, let me explain something. I  have had something like fifty commercially published books. Some of these have been pretty successful [one alone has sold more than 190,000 copies and I have even had books become Book Club selections]. And I still have to run the same gauntlet as anyone else when submitting a project. My history may get my book past the slush pile and into the hands of an editor...but that's as far as it goes. It does not remotely guarantee that my book will get published. I only wish it did! But I still get my full share of rejections, I'm sad to say.)


     

    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Your words are soooooo encouraging.

     

    I am reading all the posts.  I am also a technophobe so it takes me forever to find my postings and your wonderful replies.  Thanks for that.

     

  • You are soooooooooo right! 

     

    I discovered writing workshops this week and so will head out to one of those.

     

    Thanks for the heads up!

  • '(By the way, before anyone pipes up with the old "you gotta know someone to get your book published" mantra, let me explain something. I  have had something like fifty commercially published books. Some of these have been pretty successful [one alone has sold more than 190,000 copies and I have even had books become Book Club selections]. And I still have to run the same gauntlet as anyone else when submitting a project. My history may get my book past the slush pile and into the hands of an editor...but that's as far as it goes. It does not remotely guarantee that my book will get published. I only wish it did! But I still get my full share of rejections, I'm sad to say.)'

     

    Wow!

     

    How do we introduce ourselves to Book Clubs?

     

    I am willing to put in the hard work even though I am quite shy.

     

    I am not in the US but in Europe so do you think there is a list of Book Clubs?

    When I try lists on google, sometimes I find that the listing of addresses and phone numbers are no longer active.

    Thanks for the above I feel motivated by what you have shared.

  • potetjppotetjp Professor

    I mainly publish didactic books that are targeted at a small international readership. No publisher can make money with this sort of book, so the best solution for such publications is print-on-demand (POD). Among my short list of POD publishers, Lulu came out as the best, and I have had no reason to regret my choice so far. 

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