Writers Digest explain very clearly that there are a variety of different publishing models. These include:
- Vanity publishing
- Subsidy Publishing
According to Writer's Digest, Print-on-demand (POD) publishers accept all submissions. They state that anyone who is willing to pay is published. POD publishing uses printing technology to produce books one at a time through a company at a cost-effective price. The books are printed individually as orders come in. Therefore, you can adjust the book's supply to meet the reader's demand.
POD cuts back on costs and eliminates the need for space to store unsold copies. Typically editing, proofreading, or book marketing is offered at an additional cost and you make money from your royalties from your book sales. In terms of rights, some can go to the POD publisher for a set amount of time, but this varies depending on the publisher.
A vanity publisher, also known as a book manufacturer, publishes any anyone's work provided they have the money to pay for their services. The manufacturer prints and binds a book on the author's budget and does not offer editing, marketing, or promotional assistance. However, the author owns the printed books and retains all profit from sales.
A subsidy publisher is similar to a vanity publisher in that the author has to pay for the printing and binding process of the book. However, this type of publisher contributes a portion of the cost to editing, distribution, warehousing, and marketing. In this case, the publisher owns the books until they are sold and the author makes money from royalties. Read about subsidy publishing scams before you decide to go this route!
Self-publishing requires the author to invest their own money to produce, market, distribute, and warehouse the book. While this can be a huge time commitment, the process can be more cost-effective than vanity or subsidy publishing. You may opt to store your own self-published book but then you need to factor in the postage and delivery of the books too.
For my own self-publishing journey, I will more than likely choose between self-publishind and print-on-demand.
The Difference Between Print On Demand And Self-Publishing
As I see it, printing your books on demand gives you the immediate ability to get your book published with no set up fees and high costs. Of course, there will be some like getting a stunning book cover and editing your book. But there will be minimal or no printing costs as such.
Self-publishing has the slight benefit of gaining better costs on printing your book - for the reader that is. Which makes it easy to get sales. Book pricing is an art, I believe, and one I am yet to explore and discover. The con here is either having to store your own books or paying a printing company to store them for you. One author we interviewed is paying £30 a month to store a couple of hundred books! Personally, I think that is downright robbery!
Whichever you choose, I suggest that you mock up a spreadsheet to compare your self-published book's pricing, your royalties and your profit as you may find this becomes the deciding factor between the two.
All in all, I found this advice from Writer's Digest easy to understand and errr ... digest.
I also discovered this excellent diagram which clearly explains the difference between the various self-publishing models that so often confuse new authors that start looking at the self-publishing world, which let's face it, is quite a minefield!
You may want to read more about the various formats of self-publishing on Writers Digest and study this graphic above to get familiar with self-publishing.