The 3 Types of Self-Publishing

These days, the term “self-publishing” is thrown around so much that it has actually lost its identity. Subsidy publishing and print on demand are often confused with self-publishing, and the term “self-publishing” itself has taken on a negative stigma. In this article, we are going to set the record straight and explain the three easily accessible options available for publishing your book.

Subsidy Publishing

Subsidy publishing — or “vanity publishing” — is the first form of publishing that people commonly mistake for self-publishing. These are companies that you pay to publish your book for you, making them the publisher of record. Examples of subsidy publishers are Vantage Press, iUniverse, AuthorHelp and Xlibris. 

Although subsidy publishers refer to themselves as a “self-publishing” act, that is technically not true. One thing to keep in mind if you are considering a subsidy publisher is that you should always make sure to carefully read and understand the contract you sign with these companies. They are not always upfront about the services you’ll be getting, and if you’re not careful, you may end up entangling yourself in a bad contract that’s difficult to break later.

P.O.D. (Print on Demand)

P.O.D. or print-on-demand publishing is the second type of publishing that often is confused with self-publishing. Those who opt for print on demand are usually looking to print only a few copies of their book — generally somewhere between one and a few hundred copies. Unlike subsidy publishing, P.O.D. printing is done digitally. This is in contrast to larger print runs, which are done by offset printing. 

Although it is not a viable option for those looking to sell their book commercially, print on demand can be the way to go if you need only a few copies of your book produced. Examples of P.O.D. companies are Lulu, CreateSpace, Lightning Source and Café Press. Again, be sure to read the contracts carefully.

Independent Publishing (Self-Publishing)

The only true form of self-publishing is independent publishing. Only someone who publishes his- or herself by creating an independent publishing company is technically self-published.

It can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000 to create your own publishing company. However, the benefit is that you know all the rules. There are no shady contracts to sign or loopholes to deal with. On the flip side, it also means that you are responsible for managing every part of the publishing process itself. To read an overview of the self-publishing process, click here.

If you need assistance planning and organizing your book, a professional ghostwriter or editorial coach can help.

Related Content

Read more about Self-Publishing

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