Monday, July 23, 2012

Getting Published: Decisions, Decisions.


by guest blogger Terri Leidich, President of BQB Publishing


Technology has a “constant change” effect on many industries and publishing is no exception. At one point, the only way to become a published author was to be accepted by a traditional publishing house, which for many authors didn’t happen. In today’s world, a traditional publisher is just one of the options available to writers. Here is a quick synopsis of the options for getting published:

Traditional Publishing Houses—With their business model of picking up all of the expenses for publishing a book and taking all the risks, traditional publishing houses are limited in the number of books they can publish each year. Before taking a risk on an author, they have to be certain that there is a strong, viable market of readers that would be willing to spend their money on the final product, which usually is not the case for new authors. That’s why traditional houses often publish books by celebrities—because there is already an established market. New writers occasionally get picked up by a big house, but the process can be long and arduous. 

Independent Publishing Houses—These are smaller publishing houses that typically concentrate on a region of the country or on specific genres. Their business model is similar to traditional houses in that they pick up all of the expenses for publishing a book and taking all the risks, so they are usually very limited on the new titles they publish each year.

University Presses—These are academic, nonprofit publishing houses that are typically associated with a large research university. They mostly publish scholarly works, textbooks, or reference works, but will often also publish titles designed to reach a particular target audience. 

Self-Publishing Companies—With the advance of technology, self-publishing companies abound. There is typically a relatively small cost to an author upfront to get their book “edited” and “formatted” but there is a myriad of other costs an author has to pay to get a book into the marketplace. The biggest problem with self-publishing companies is the lack of quality in the editing process. Self-publishing companies accept all manuscripts, and the level of editing that is offered is basic proofreading at best. As any serious writer knows, it takes a strong editor with developmental abilities along with strong editing knowledge to take any manuscript and turn it into a polished book. Once a book is created, distribution of the book is typically limited to Amazon because most booksellers will not sell print-on-demand (POD) books because of the general lack of quality.

Author Self-Publishing—Some authors choose to go the total self-publishing route where they have the books edited, designed, and printed, and they handle all of the distribution themselves. The drawback with this option is again the limited marketing and distribution that is available.

Independent Hybrid Publishers—This genre of publishers is relatively new on the scene. It is typically a combination of the high-quality processes for acceptance, editing, and book design that are indigenous to the traditional houses, combined with the author’s financial participation that is a part of self-publishing. These houses share the publishing costs with the author, which enables them to accept more books per year and to accept books based on the quality of the content and the writing and not on whether or not there is already a strong marketing platform. However, the distribution and marketing processes can differ greatly in this type of publishing house with some independent hybrid publishers using the POD method of distribution while others use full-service distribution that gets books into entities like Barnes & Noble Stores, Books-A-Million, and Baker & Taylor wholesalers.

The bottom line for choosing the right publishing model for a book depends on an author’s desires and intentions around their book. Deciding which publisher to pursue is one of the biggest decisions as an author. I encourage writers to keep publishing options in mind long before they ink the manuscript’s final page.
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Terri Leidich is the president of BQB Publishing and author of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart and For a Grieving Heart. Founded in August of 2010, BQB was created to be “the writer’s publisher,” focusing on quality writing from new authors. An independent hybrid publisher, BQB combines the quality processes of traditional publishing with hands-on author involvement to bring today’s new writers and tomorrow’s best sellers into the hands of booksellers and the reading public. To learn more about BQB, visit www.bqbpublishing.com.

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