Did you know that the bestsellers The Joy of Cooking, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, What Color Is Your Parachute? and Rich Dad, Poor Dad started out as self-published books?

The truth is that traditional publishing isn’t for everyone, or at least not right away. Most authors today experience insurmountable barriers to landing a publishing deal if they aren’t a well-known celebrity or haven’t had at least one commercially successful book in the past. But now even many authors who have had books “traditionally published” are increasingly turning to self-publishing for the advantages it offers. Self-publishing is a more accessible way to share your book with the world and retain more control over the creative process.

Self-publishing is a term defined by the word “self” and the decision of the author to publish their book. However, the term occasionally generates confusion because self-publishing today actually refers to several possible paths to publication, where the author is the driving force in all of them. Here we’ll examine some of the most common paths to self-publishing today.

Self-Publishing On Your Own

Do you like doing everything yourself? When you self-publish a book on your own, you are in charge of every single aspect of it. This is the hands-on, DIY path to publishing. You not only write the content of the book, but you might also design the book cover, create the interior layout, secure and assign an ISBN, create the metadata, set up distribution channels, create and execute a marketing strategy, etc. Or you might hire individual designers, marketers and/or other freelance help to perform the book duties that you don’t want to or can’t perform. However, the book’s success lies solely with the author.

Self-publishing on your own can be a good path to publishing for authors who want to have 100% control over their book project and its achievements, are very detail oriented and have lots of time and patience for trial and error. Most books published this way sell few copies, unless the author invests a great deal of time and energy in becoming a professional publisher as well as author.

Self-Publishing with a Publishing Services Company

Are you willing to spend more to have everything done for you? Is your book a personal project that you’d like to share with family and friends? Also referred to as the vanity press option, self-publishing with a publishing services company typically involves writing a check – $2,000 to $20,000 or more is not unusual – often for a bundled publishing package. The publishing services company does the production work needed to bring your book to life. Some companies also offer services like printing up promotional bookmarks or running social media campaigns on your behalf; however, their role is still essentially limited to that of a printer. A publishing services company has no vested interest in the success or sales of your book. They will print or publish whatever manuscript you provide to them regardless of quality or marketability.

Self-publishing with a publishing services company works for authors who have realistic and clear expectations for their book as a personal project for a limited audience or for authors who don’t want to get bogged down with the details of book publishing and don’t want editorial scrutiny or market assessment of their work.

(Self-)Publishing with a Hybrid Publisher

Are you attracted to the idea of a traditional book publishing deal but don’t have the stature to establish that kind of relationship? Hybrid publishing brings the best of traditional publishing and self-publishing together. Hybrid publishing works as a partnership between the author and the publisher with the intention of meeting the author’s goals – including selling as many copies of the book as possible. Royalties with a hybrid publisher are higher than for a traditional book publishing deal, but lower than for a 100% self-publishing enterprise. A hybrid publisher ensures that the books they publish meet professional industry standard and have reasonable expectations for success in the marketplace if that is the author’s goal. Hybrid publishers partner with the author financially. The hybrid publisher guides the strategy, and designs, produces and distributes the book. Marketing duties are shared.

Publishing with a hybrid publisher can be a good path to publishing for authors who seek the opportunity to publish but don’t want to do it alone, and are committed to doing what it takes to sell their books.

Looking for a Publishing Partner?

Dudley Court Press is a hybrid publisher who works with authors to publish meaningful books. For more information about hybrid publishing, what we do for authors and their books, and our publishing process, please get in touch at +1-520-329-2729 or publisher@DudleyCourtPress.com or check out our newest online coaching program, Aspiring Author to Published Pro