What is Self Publishing?

Self Publishing (or self-publishing) is one way of many ways an author can have his/her book published. In this method, all expenses related to the development and distribution of the book are borne by the author. Consequently, the author holds all rights to the book, and decides on every aspect of the book. These aspects include the book dimensions, the type of binding, the nature of the cover, the number of copies printed and the avenues of distribution. All rights related to the conversion of the book to other formats, and those related to other media, also rest with the author. Further the author decides how much royalty she/he will earn and factor that into the price of the book.

CinnamonTeal Publishing introduced is to India way back in 2007. We distinguish ourselves from our competition by insisting on certain processes we know will have a positive impact on the book, and on the impression the book creates on the reader. For instance, we insist that the book should be edited before it is published. While Self Publishing allows the author to decide how the book will be published, we feel that certain aspects of what is the traditional publishing process should not be altered.

This approach to Self Publishing has meant that we have, under our belt, a small but incredibly readable list of titles. Small because we pay individual attention to each book, and that means taking on a few books at a time. Incredibly readable because we pay a lot of attention to detail.

So how is Self Publishing different from traditional publishing?

The term “traditional publishing” or “mainstream publishing” refers to publishing as it is usually understood – where the publisher bets on the book and spends on it. All expenditures related to the book – its editing, design, printing, marketing and distribution – are borne by the publishediff between traditional and self publishingr. In many instances, this follows an agreement whereby the author hands over the rights to the book to the publisher, and in turn agrees to a ‘royalty fee’, a fixed percentage of sales paid to the author by the publisher. In some cases, an advance is paid against future royalty earnings.

Since the publisher is literally putting its money on the book, the publisher is choosy about the book it will publish. (Usually a publisher will publish just one kind of book, a genre, like crime thrillers, for instance. Or it may publish many genres under different labels, or imprints. For instance, Penguin India publishes business books under its Portfolio imprint and other contemporary non-fiction under its Allen Lane imprint.) A publisher may choose to reject a book that an author submits to it for publishing because, either, the book does not fit among the books it publishes, or because the publisher does not see a market large enough for the book, that will recoup its investments in that book.

Further, the publisher will take all necessary steps to ensure that the book appeals to its readers. These steps might include making certain changes to the text, developing a cover that it deems suitable for the book, setting an appropriate price for the book, and formulating a marketing plan that is tailor-made for the book. The publisher can choose to do all of this without the involvement of the author. Based on its estimation of the market, the publisher will print a certain number of copies of the book, and reprint or discontinue the book depending upon the response it gets. Depending upon the nature of the contract signed between the author and the publisher, the publisher has the freedom to negotiate and sign on agreements for translations of the book into other languages, for conversion into other electronic formats, and even for TV or movie rights.

For a quick summary of the differences between self and traditional publishing, click on the infographic to your left.

Are these two the only options of publishing available?

In fact there is a third option suited to author who would like a bit of both, self- and traditional publishing. It is called hybrid publishing and it is explained here.