How to Publish a Book: Key Differences Between Publishing and Self Publishing

For many authors just starting out, it can be a confusing and overwhelming decision whether to self publish a book or to seek out a traditional publishing house. It is important to know that the decision you make can have a huge impact on the success, or the failure, of your book. There are many factors to consider, and the right decision is going to be different for every author and for every book.

Here are just a few key factors and publishing tips excerpted from Idea to Book to Success to help you make the decision of exactly how to publish a book:


When seeking a traditional publishing house to publish your book, you will soon discover that the book will be published according to the publisher's timeline. Publishing houses have a set production mandate and books are scheduled for publication far in advance. Often, books are signed on for publication one to three years before they are actually published.

When you self publish, the only timeline restricting the publication of your book is your own. You can take years to publish a book if you so choose. Or, if you work incredibly hard, you can have your book out on the market within months. You can take as much or as little time as you want or need to publish your book.


If you sign your book on with a publishing house, you must understand that it is now the publisher's book. As a new author you will likely be conceding to the wishes of the publisher when it comes to book title, design and cover. Also be aware that the responsibility of promoting and marketing the book will fall on your shoulders as well once the publisher has finished an initial, brief promotional push.

When you self publish a book, YOU are the publisher. This means you are solely responsible for coordinating the entire production of the book. You must find an editor, a designer, a distributor, a publicist, etc. When you self publish, you are forming your own publishing house and you are now in the business of publishing. You maintain all control and you publish the book the way you want to publish it.


A publishing house signs books under the agreement of payment by advance and royalties. You will be paid a small sum of money up front as an advance on sales, and subsequently you will receive royalties once sales grow over and above your advance. Royalties are usually very small for new authors and are often as low as 5% of selling price.

Profit is definitely the biggest argument in favor of self publishing. If you self publish, the profits from your book sales are 100% yours. If you are willing to work hard to market and promote your book, you will reap the benefits of the sales. If you research carefully, plan properly and execute the right marketing strategy, there is no limit to the profit you can earn from your book sales.

As with any other business, you must properly research and plan to fully understand how to publish a book in order to be successful. If you publish the right way, the potential for success and profit is infinite.

� Copyright 2004 Ink Tree Ltd.

Ink Tree Ltd. helps authors publish, market and sell books. We have all the tools you need to succeed in book publishing. Let us help you make your book a success.

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