1. Commercial Publisher (also referred to as a Traditional Publisher):
Buys the rights to publish the author’s manuscript. The agreement is most commonly exclusive. Typically, the author receives a royalty advance against
future sales. Commercial publishers are the most selective of the four types of publishers, taking only a very small percentage of the manuscripts they
receive for consideration. They handle all facets of production, from the initial author submission to producing the final product. They fund the advertising,
promotion and other necessary items to create public awareness and a demand for the book. They fund the actual production of the book and the
distribution channels making it available to the public. After the book sells generating royalties that exceed the initial royalty advance, the author is paid
royalties on sales. Royalties are typically 8 to 12%. There are no costs to the author. The publisher derives its profits from the public sale of the book.
2. Subsidy Publisher:
Enters into an agreement with the author to publish the author’s manuscript. The agreement is typically non-exclusive with the author retaining certain
rights as described in their particular publishing agreement. The author retains ownership of the work. It is more of a partnership between the publisher
and the author, whereby the author makes a financial commitment to subsidize a portion of the publishing costs. There is no additional financial
commitment required from the author. The terms of the agreement define the specific obligations of the publisher and the author. The author is usually
required to make more efforts in the marketing and promotion of the book than with a traditional format. The publisher handles all facets of production,
from initial author submission to producing the final product. They fund the advertising, promotion and other necessary items to create public awareness
and a demand for the book. They fund the actual production of the book and distribution channels making it available to the public. Because there is no
royalty advance, the author is paid royalties from the very first book sold. Royalties are typically 20 to 40%. Subsidy publishers are generally less selective
than traditional publishers, taking a larger percentage of the manuscripts they receive for consideration. The publisher derives its profits from the public
sale of the book.
3. Vanity Publisher:
Enters into an agreement with the author to publish the author’s manuscript. Depending upon the terms of the agreement, the author may retain specific
rights and may also be required to fund the bulk of the cost in producing the book. Other arrangements may require little or no initial author funds, but
editing, design, marketing, promotion, distribution and other services may need to be purchased from the publisher. Vanity publishers usually generate the
bulk of their income from sales to their authors. With the exception of pornography or other liability issues, vanity publishers generally exercise little
selectivity in what they publish. Authors are paid royalties on sales. Royalties vary based on the specific agreement with the publisher. Usually vanity
publishers maintain extensive websites offering their author’s books for sale. If the publisher funds the entire cost of production, the book is usually
offered for sale at a higher price than comparable books, allowing the publisher to recoup their investment.
The author handles everything needed to get their work into print. In most instances the author contracts with companies providing self-publishing
services such as printing, ISBN number, editing etc. The author funds the entire cost of production and publication from manuscript to the completion of
the book. Marketing, promotion, distribution and other facets of making the book available for sale are either contracted for, or provided by the author.
Because the author funds complete production of the book, full ownership and rights are retained in addition to all proceeds from sales. In the publishing
industry, a self-published author is generally not considered a published author, anymore than someone who starred in their own home movie is considered
a movie star.
Author Service Providers:
Although not a publisher in the true sense of the word, the Internet has spawned thousands of companies, print shops and graphic design houses that
simply added the word "Publisher" to their name. These companies in spite of having the word "Publisher" in their name are not recognized as publishers
in the industry, but service companies providing author services. They are generally not accepted as members of legitimate publishing trade associations.
The primary method of determining if a publisher is really an industry standard publisher, is that a legitimate publisher has a vested financial interest in
the success of the author's book. If a company, regardless of the name, does not have that vested financial interest, they are not an industry standard
trade publisher. Additionally, every legitimate publisher is a member of trade publishing associations, just like every legitimate attorney is a member of
the bar, and every legitimate doctor is a member of the American Medical Association.
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