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Kim Tomsic

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Traditional Publishing vs. Self Publishing

Statistics indicate 85% of people would like to write a book. A much smaller percent of that sampling actually sit down and invest mental and creative energy in the process. And an even smaller percent actually see their publishing dream come to fruition.

Some people call the publishing executives “The Gatekeepers” and they’re said to run an exclusive club, inviting in only a select few. It’s why Self-Publishing has been around for decades. Self-published authors bypass these “Gatekeepers” and present their work directly to the public.

In the past, self-publishing didn’t garner a large amount of respect, mostly because some quality steps used in big publishing houses were skipped by the solo author. Things like editing, cover art, and layout were too expensive for the independent author of the past. This is no longer the case. Today’s self-published authors are better able to take the time to go through the same processes a traditional publishing house administers because of accessibility to quality and affordable freelance artists and editors .

It takes a team to produce a great book, and self-published authors are on board. It’s why the reputation of the self-published industry has grown to popular status. Today self-publishing is a respected, and it’s sometimes a savvy move for an author, but only if the author puts its business house in order.

In this guest post by Author Katie Salidas, you can learn what you get from a traditional publishing house vs. what you need to set up if you decide to successfully take the self-publishing route. She knows first-hand the in’s and out’s of self-publishing and has sold thousands of self-published books through Amazon, Kindle, Nook, Barnes & Noble, Indie Bookstores, etc.  If you decide to choose the self-publishing track, please pick up a copy of her book Go Publish Yourself! so you can save yourself a lot of grief, time and money. She’ll teach you mistakes to avoid and steps to take in this simple-to-follow manual. 

 Guest Blog:  Building Your Self-Publishing House vs. Traditional Publishing HouseBy Katie Salidas

Traditional Publishing:  What a Publishing House does for their authors

To understand what a publishing house does for an author, you have to take a look at some members of the publisher’s team. Your manuscript will travel through the hands of each of these players.

Some of THE PLAYERS and some of THEIR JOBs:

Editor-falls in love with your writing and wants to take it to market, but first helps author with plot and character development to make sure you’re presenting your best work.

Managing editor-manages time tables of team members below to get product to market as planned.

Copy editor-checks for grammar, accuracy of your details (dates, descriptions, etc), and brings a set of fresh eyes to the manuscript.

Proof reader-checks for final mistakes.

Designer-oversees artwork, typeface, size, style, page layout, chapter layout and (if qualified) prepares jacket design (if not qualified, oversees an illustrator to do so).

Production Manager-determines which paper to use, printing company, binding, and evaluates cost effectiveness, printing schedule, and deals with printer on any errors.

Distributors- manages how finished books get into the retail market (big box bookstores, ebooks, and independent bookstores) and does periodic quality control checks.

Sales reps-secures sales for books by talking to book buyers, teachers, museum shops, specialty shops, and specialized clubs.

Marketing manager-sends manuscript out to print, radio, TV, industry bloggers and submits book for awards as well as for school visits.

Publicity manager-sets up interviews

And there is an even bigger team (all with staff) not mentioned (i.e. reprint manager, copyright manager, foreign service managers, etc.).

Self-Publishing: What an Indie Author must do for their book
Just like with Traditional Publishing, certain jobs must be done to produce and sell a good book. Though Self-Publishing is often a solo production, there are jobs that can and often should be delegated to others in order to produce a good quality book. Please note that some jobs can be done by the author, but most shouldn't.  


Proof Reader/ Critiquing Partner(s): A person or a group of people who read and offer feedback and editing advice on some or all of an author’s manuscript. This is done by a third party (not the author) before editing.

Line/Copy Editor:  This editor intensively edits for continuity as well as grammar and spelling. You will have to hire a freelance editor to do this job. (It cannot be done by the author.)
Cover Artist: A graphic artist with an eye for the specific needs of book covers. They should be able to match your genre with the art. There are many freelance artists ready and willing to create covers for you; however authors often take a stab at doing it themselves.

Interior Formatter: A person (this can be the author) who can alter the original word document into ebook and print formats for publishing. (e.g. Epub, Mobi, PDF, Print, etc…)

Publicist: A person (always the indie author) who sets up blog tours, interviews, appearances, book signings, radio promotions, etc…

Sales Manager: A person (always the indie author) who arranges for the distribution of their work through various channels like: Createspace, LSI, Amazon KDP, Barnes & Noble Pubit!, Smashwords, etc…

Being a Self-Published author is not an easy job. As you can see, you are responsible for every aspect of the work that you produce. However, there are some benefits to going it alone. A Self-Published author has 100% control of how their product looks. In Traditional Publishing cover art, interior format, and even editing are not under the author’s control. You could be asked to delete entire chapters if your assigned editor feels they are not good (your proof reader and critiquing group may suggest the same thing with your self-published work) .

But, the biggest benefit to Self-Publishing is the ability to gain a higher royalty. Yes, you do have to foot the cost upfront, but if you are a savvy Self-Publisher, you can find the most cost-effective ways to do things. Once those initial investments are paid, the rest of the money earned is all yours.

Self-Publishers earn as much as 70% of the price of their book on Amazon. That’s significantly more than what a traditionally published author can expect per book. The reason is, less overhead. As you’ll see in the list below, Traditional Publishing employs quite a few people. Those people need to be paid, too.  Self-Publishing cuts out a lot of middle-men. But that also means the author has a bigger job to do.

It can seem overwhelming at first, but Self-Publishing is a viable form of publishing for the highly motivated author!

Katie Salidas is a Las Vegas native. Wife, mother, and independent author, she’s made a career out of producing successful self-published titles.

Go Publish Yourself – Quick and Dirty Tips for Self-Publishing Success
The Immortalis Series
The Consummate Therapy series
Vampire Bites – Erotic vampire anthology
And many more….

Each of her books were created in the DIY (Do It Yourself) style, without the aid of author service companies. Through trial and error she has gained the knowhow to successfully publish print and ebooks.


Unknown said...

What? I have do all those jobs Katy described myself? :-) This was a good short description of what Indie authors do. I'd highly recommend Katy's book, "Go Publish Yourself." It's very informative and helpful.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Katie. I love how you've broken it down to the exact jobs, and their descriptions. :)

Katie Salidas said...

Thanks for stopping by Dana and Kitty! I <3 you guys!! =) And Dana, when do I get my nifty Omega Airline tags?

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