With the emergence of modern copiers and sophisticated printing technology, many authors are now opting to get into self-publishing rather than to stick to conventional third-party printing. The reason could be quite obvious. Authors like the prospect of having to stick to their own creativity and style, without the need to please and fill the standards of publishers and editors. In terms of revenues, self-publishing is also promising greener pastures compared to the conventional kind of publishing.

Not known to many, self-publishing has been around even during the start of the industry’s long and winding history. The practice has taken several forms through the years. These days, there are three major kinds of self-publishing that are adapted by authors, namely, vanity publishing, subsidy publishing, and true self-publishing.

In reality, vanity publishing is pejorative. The practice is that a publisher contracts with an author without giving much regard to the quality as well as marketability of content. The term is called such because in this arrangement, publishers are basically appealing to an author’s vanity, which mainly is the desire to become a full-pledged published author. This kind of self-publishing is usually most attractive among new writers.

Vanity presses exist under the guise of subsidy or joint venture presses. However, in this arrangement, the author agrees to shoulder every cost of publication. He also agrees to take all the existing risks. Publishers have nothing to lose in vanity press deals. They would earn money from the fees they would collect from the authors (yes, the authors pay publishers fees for publishing their work). Many experts are advising writers to stay away from such presses.

In reality, many writers/authors are willingly and knowingly entering such deals because they are in principle putting more importance on having their work commercially published rather than on gaining profit from it. To some, vanity press is a stepping stone, more of a springboard into the tight publishing industry. Experts believe most published materials through vanity presses fail commercially because content is criticized by skeptics, distributors, and even readers. This could be because the quality is not judged by an independent body prior to massive printing.

Subsidy publishing is almost like vanity publishing only that in this arrangement, the publisher agrees to contribute some to costs, specifically in adjunct services like editing, warehousing, distribution, and in part, marketing. However, such adjunct services are most of the time minimal. In the long run, the commercial publisher possesses and owns the book, but the author gets royalties for every copy sold in the market. It is also a standard practice that subsidy publishers keep some rights in the book. Lastly, authors are given minimal say and control over other production aspects like cover design.

True self-publishing is the best option among all three. This is real self-publishing. In this setup, the author takes care of everything, from writing content, marketing, storage, distribution, and all other publishing aspects. Every right to the book is owned by the author. The books are registered as the author’s intellectual property, with the author getting all the right to enjoy the proceeds from sales.

In the long run, true self-publishing is deemed most cost effective because the author could have control over variable publishing factors. He could also enjoy more freedom in terms of style and earning.

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Book publishing is not an easy activity and business. These days, the number of readers who invest in books is significantly declining because of the popularity of the Internet. Expect publishers to be stricter in accepting manuscripts and books for publishing. It is basically harder to impress publishers these days. If you are determined to become an author, you should turn to self-publishing.

Nobody says self-publishing would be easy. In fact, it could be as hard, if not much harder, than traditional book publishing. If you aim to become an author through self-publishing, you are bound to exert more effort. It would take simply much more for you to be able to launch your book, sell like hotcakes, and succeed.

But as always, the road to success is not always paved. Most of the time, it could be full of challenges. There are common obstacles that are often faced by authors who take a shot at self-publishing. Here are some of those.

Gathering enough money to fund the initiative could be exhilarating. Because you are publishing your own work, no other entity or people would be able to subsidize you or shoulder the costs for you. It is important that you have much money in the back prior to such an endeavor. Also, do not spend all you have in self-publishing your own book. You could never be sure whether you would be able to gain back or get returns for your investment. It would not be wise to make loans just to fund your book. The financials is always the top challenge that bothers self-publishers.

The second obstacle is the stigma about self-published books being amateurish. You could not blame critics for generalizing. Most of the time, self-published materials are of inferior quality. This could be because of the fact that the content did not pass through the scrutiny of editors and publishers, who set very high standards for book publishing. Third-party scrutiny and criticism could really help bolster the quality and appeal of books.

There are obstacles of promotion and marketing. Your book should be treated as a usual product, which should be targeted to specific audience or readers. How could people learn about your book if you would not make a fuss about it? As always you have to establish and raise awareness about your book. Doing so could just be difficult because you obviously and logically would need money. When putting up book publicity, you have to develop lists of book reviewers and editors who would make issues and critics about your content. They do not do services for free, whether they would say constructive or destructive opinions.

Minor obstacles could accumulate to provide greater problems. Bookstores are usually not dealing with small publishing firms, so how could you expect them to deal with independent publishers like you? Such stores only trust in dealing with major publishers, wholesalers, and distributors. Then there is a gush of intense or extreme competition. There are just too many authors like you who are aiming to mark big in the market. An influx of self-published books could make yours just among the crowd.

If you have the determination, the confidence, and the drive, you could proceed to self-publishing. Do not let such obstacles prevent you from doing so. But moreover, be practical and realistic.

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