Sunday, April 6, 2014

What is the best way forward for Indie Authors for publication?

A hot topic of conversation around the writers circuit is around the benefits of Traditional Publishing over Self Publishing over 'Vanity Houses'. I have to confess that I know very little about this subject, so I went looking for a volunteer, with experience, to shed some light.

Rik and Linda are a husband and wife Author team and between them have numerous years within all aspects of Authorship - AND Rik was kind enough to volunteer the time to put it into print for us - Thank You!

This is One of two posts, the second will appear on Wednesday.

Traditional and Vanity Publishing houses

Some simple thoughts on Traditional and Vanity publishing houses from twenty years of experience with five different publishing houses.

Point one - all publishing houses publish to make money for themselves, all of them! Every one! Period.

Point two - there are differences. Traditional Publishing houses make their money from readers, Vanity Publishing houses make their money from writers.

Traditional publishing houses take you on because they see your future sales and their commission on those sales as a potential source of income. Sometimes (not always) you get an up-front advance. If you do get an advance, your sale's royalties pay off the advance before you see new money. That means you will get a contract that might contain information like this:

Advance - $3,000 payable as outlined:

·         One third (1/3) upon signing the contract
·         One third (1/3) upon final submission of the work
·         One third (1/3) upon publication of the work.

So, when you send back the signed copy you would get $1,000.00  Now, if you have an agent (and he or she should have gotten you the best deal possible so they are worth it) the funds will go to the agent and he or she will take out their commission which is usually 15%.

The publishing house will pay all the up-front costs. Edits, cover design, sales promotion, proof copies, advance reading copies, sending those copies to readers, postage, phone calls, support. Everything. You should never ever pay anything up front with a non-vanity press!
They will set you up with an editor. Listen to the editor! Go back and read the first sentence in this section. They get their money based upon the sales of your book. So, they want your book to be the best book possible.  They want your book to SELL! Because, then, they make more money.

Vanity publishing houses take you on because you are willing to pay your own up-front costs and possibly a publishing fee. If they are lucky they might see a return based upon your sales and their commission on those sales, but that is secondary. To them, that does not really matter and is not part of their ROI (Return On Investment) strategies.
You pay in some way for edits, cover design, sales promotion, proof copies, advance reading copies, sending those copies to readers, postage, phone calls, support.
Everything. If you go Vanity - get in writing, everything you have to pay for, everything!
They often don’t care about the edits, the cover and such, because they already have your money. The money you paid them to publish your book. And it can run into four or five figures.
And when you see something you want changed;
“No worries, just send in the $75.00 revision fee and we’ll be happy to do that for you.”

There is a new breed of Vanity Publishing Houses that say they are not Vanity houses, they claim to be publishing houses, but like Vanity houses, the rule is

You pay – they publish.

There are some pretty good web-sites that can help you a great deal when picking a publisher or an agent. Take a look at:

Preditors and Editors

Which is best for you?

Depends upon:

       how deep your pockets are,
       how desperate you are to get your work in print,
       how lucky you might be in getting someone's attention, and
       last, but by no means least - how good your book is.

Point Three - another option - self-publish it yourself

That’s the next topic......

Just Rik's morning coffee thoughts ...
Bio – Rik is married to Linda, an author. Rik and Linda met 44 years ago in the student newspaper offices at a college in Chicago. Linda was writing then, Linda still writes (
Other than checking out potential ladies friends, Rik mostly just hung around the office, wrote a few headlines and tried to look busy. The next Christmas they were married. Forty-four years later Linda has more than 25 works published, both traditionally and by self-publication. Rik is a sort-of-retired educator. Today Rik provides educational technology support to a local university, formats books for authors (, is a professional Magician ( and spends as much time with Linda on their boat, Mystery, with their cat Captain Hook, as they can. They have two children and seven grandchildren.

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