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What is Book Publishing

Book Publishing is the process of producing and releasing books to the public. The process starts at idea stage, goes through writing, editing, proofreading, book design, printing, marketing, through to distributing the books.

What is the difference between Self-publishing and Traditional Publishing?

There’s one main secret to differentiating Traditional Publishing and Self-publishing. In Self-publishing, the author owns the rights and all or a greater percentage of the royalties. If the publishing company owns the rights and royalties, then the book is traditionally published.

Traditional Publishing and Self-publishing compared

1.CostsThe publisher handles all the publishing-related costs post writing. With commissioned projects, the publisher also funds the writing process.The Author is responsible for all costs upfront, from research, writing through to distribution of the work.
2. ValidationThe publisher validates the book, thereby making it easily acceptable in the market.No validation with pure self-publishing, unless an independent publisher is used.
3. TimeThe long and winding process as the publisher handles several projects at once. If your book is not time-specific, for example, an agriculture book may be timed to launch just before the farming season, then your book can be pushed down, hence takes time to release.The Author is the director of their work hence they set specific timelines which they supervise, either with an Independent publisher, freelancers, or on their own.
4. DistributionWide reach using the publisher’s muscle.This can be limited if print, but e-publishing has no boundaries.
5. Literary prizesHigh chance as most favor traditional publishers.Although limited, the playing field is changing.
6. The ProcessThe publisher handles all the work, with an experienced and dedicated team.You’re the director of your work and may have to do other tasks yourself, especially if you’re purely self-publishing. An independent publisher provides an experienced team.
7. Niche marketTraditional publishers focus on mass distribution.Stronger muscle as you can choose to concentrate on just that.
8. LiberationThe publisher owns you and your work.With self-publishing comes liberation and the satisfaction of achieving something on your own.
9. Creative controlYour input may end when you sign and submit the manuscript.You have a voice in the production of your work.
10. RoyaltiesFixed percentage and nothing more.You have control of all your profits.
11. MarketingWhile the publisher handles marketing, the Author is still expected to carry out some marketing activities such as book launches, interviews, and book tours.You handle all marketing and can take advantage of social media.
12. RightsAll rights are surrendered to the Publisher.All rights remain the Author’s.
13. PrestigeCoupled with validation, you gain prestige associated with the Publisher’s name. But, like with any label, this can also go sour when the publisher’s name is dragged in the mud.You’re on your own unless where an Independent publisher is used.

Other Book Publishing Models

Traditional Publishing or Independent and/or self-publishing may not be the preferred route for everyone. Other publishing forms to consider include print-on-demand, vanity and subsidy publishing.

Print-on-demand (POD)

Print-on-demand (POD) publishers or digital printing publishers accept all submissions from anyone who has written their work and is willing to pay to be published. POD publishers use digital printing technology to produce books, one at a time.  Although it is argued to be generally expensive when compared with running a full press printing run, if you identify the perfect POD publisher, the option can come in handy as the books are printed individually as orders come in.

This would be a suitable preference for Authors who do not want to run the risk of stocking up copies more than what they can sell. POD substitutes that loss and eliminates the need for storage space.

Unless agreed otherwise, the Author wholly owns their book rights and enjoy full royalties on their sales.

Nowadays there are some online POD spaces that allow a self-published Author to either sell e-books or buyers opt for the paperback copy – which would be printed on demand.

As technology evolves, the world of publishing keeps changing as well.


Vanity publishing is mainly practiced by printing presses. This is the processes of printing and binding a book, while the author pays for it. Vanity publishers do not offer editing, layout, marketing or promotional assistance.

Due to their lack of design assistance, a few vanity presses try to do book covers and layout. This reminds me of my sister who had a hurried job closing in on deadlines, she couldn’t contract me for the job for the obvious nepotism factors, hence she decided to cut corners through a vanity publisher but her story was sour. However, for authors who are not worried about quality, this can be a cost cutting route to take.


From the word subsidy, a printer may subsidise the cost of editing, design, distribution, warehousing and marketing while the author is paying for printing and binding. The subsidy publisher owns the printed book until they’re sold and the author which get royalties.


Which Publishing model should I use?

I aim to leave everyone in a relaxed state and eliminate all the confusion about publishing. If you and your child are writing for fun but want keep sakes, vanity publishing will work for you. Take that short cut and cut off some costs to get your printed copies to distribute to a few people. Your writing will improve with time as you continue to write and develop your hobby, after all, you were writing for fun and just want to share your story, probably for free or at the lowest price possible. POD maybe used as a printing model for poets, those writing on family history, or self-published authors who do not want to run the risk of printing large quantities and not sell. Traditional printing presses will work best for self-published authors with a ready budget or traditional published authors who are under the wing of the publisher.

Best of luck with your book project. I hope this has helped and you can’t wait to deliver your baby to the world. It might be your first, second or third; every time a new baby comes, there’s a special excitement that’s associated with it.




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