Publishing 101

  1. Traditional and Self-Publishing
  2. Publishing vs. Printing
  3. Text and Formatting
  4. Fonts and Styling
  5. Editing and Proofreading
  6. Photos and Illustrations
  7. Color vs. B&W/Grayscale
  8. Paper Options
  9. Trim Sizes
  10. Covers and Bindings
  11. ISBN
  12. LCCN
  13. Copyright
  14. Publishing Costs
  15. Pricing Your Book
  16. Sales and Marketing
  17. Legal and Tax Requirements

Traditional and Self-Publishing

Traditional publishing generally involves the acceptance of your book by a publishing company. The acceptance is based upon various factors, including the company's assessment of your book's moneymaking potential.

Self-publishing may or may not involve a publishing company (such as Bloated Toe). The difference is that there isn't usually an acceptance process, or at least not one as rigorous as that associated with a traditional publisher. Typically, the author simply agrees to pay the publisher to publish his/her book.

The table below summarizes some pros and cons related to traditional and self-publishing. The table represents broad generalities, and the topics in the table are discussed in more detail in subsequent sections.

Traditional vs. Self-Publishing
Self-Publishing Traditional Publishing
Pros Cons Pros Cons
More control over your book Larger financial investment required All or partially funded by publisher Less control over your book
Faster turnaround Fewer marketing resources More marketing resources Slower turnaround
More profit goes to author All or most profit goes to publisher

Traditional publishers often pay the entire cost of publishing and marketing an author's book. However, they take all or most of the profits resulting from the sale of the book. In addition, books typically go through a tedious process of reviews and changes (i.e., beyond editing and proofreading). Not only does this process extend production time, but the finished product may also differ greatly from the author's original work. Traditional publishers may also require authors to sign restrictive contracts. Among other things, these contracts may require an author to submit future books to the publisher.