What Can Your Publisher Do for You?

Here's a breakdown of the distinct  differences between a traditional publishing house and a self-publishing service.
Author:
Publish date:

Development, content and copy editing

Traditional: An in-house editor offers feedback on early drafts and helps you revise. Some authors complain that today’s time-pressed editors aren’t as involved in this process as before.
Self-Publishing Service: You hire an editor independently or through your self-publishing service. (If you’re serious about bringing your book to the market, do not forgo this step.)

Cover and interior design
Traditional: Your publisher handles everything design-related and usually has the final say on cover and interior design, relying on in-house expertise about what sells and what doesn’t.
Self-Publishing Service: Varies. Most basic self-publishing packages include a template-based design. Some services offer upgrades for a fee; others charge you to control the process.

Title
Traditional: Your publisher’s marketing and sales department, in collaboration with the editorial team, often has the final say over your title.
Self-Publishing Service: You have the final say.

Sales and distribution
Traditional: Most publishers have an in-house team that sells your book to national chains and other retailers, or a distributor to perform the task.
Self-Publishing Service: Your book is usually available for purchase through the service’s site, as well as Ingram or Amazon.com (sometimes at an extra charge). Otherwise, it’s all up to you.

Marketing and publicity
Traditional: Varies greatly. It’s common for publishers to rely on authors to market their own work and to let readers know it’s available. At the very least, most publishers send out review copies and include the book in their sales catalogs and promotions sent to retailers.
Self-Publishing Service: Completely dependent on the author, though most services offer marketing and publicity package upgrades. Some also select outstanding books for special marketing at no cost.


This article appeared in the
March/April issue of Writer's Digest. Click here to order your copy in print. If you prefer a digital download of the issue, click here.

The Full Package on Self-Publishing:

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Under the Influence

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Under the Influence

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let a character fall under the influence of something or someone.

WD-PersonalEssay-2020-WinnerGraphic

Suspended: Writer's Digest Personal Essay Awards Winner

Congratulations to J.E. Stamper, grand prize winner of the Writer's Digest Personal Essay Awards. Here's his winning essay, "Suspended."

Planting Clues: Red Herrings That Fool but Don't Frustrate Your Readers

Planting Clues: Red Herrings That Fool but Don't Frustrate Your Readers

Want to know how to keep your readers engaged and entertained with your mystery novel? Let these six tips from thriller author Kris Calvin guide you!

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 15

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a blank story poem.

Kristin Beck: On Writing Quickly and Publishing Slowly

Kristin Beck: On Writing Quickly and Publishing Slowly

Debut novelist Kristin Beck shares what it was like to write her historical fiction novel Courage, My Love and why she was so thankful for a slow publishing process.

Whitney Hill Elemental

Whitney Hill: Self-Published E-Book Awards Winner

Whitney Hill, winner of the 8th Annual WD Self-Published E-Book Awards, talks fan fiction, creating her own stories, and why she chose to self-publish.

8 Tips to Build Your Supportive Writing Network

8 Tips to Build Your Supportive Writing Network

Writing can be a solitary activity ... but it doesn't have to be. Let author Gale Massey give you some tips for building a supportive writing network.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 14

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a "from where you're sitting" poem.

Tension in Poetry: The Hidden Art of Line-Writing

Tension in Poetry: The Hidden Art of Line-Writing

Writer and editor Matthew Daddona explains how to easily create tension in your poems and how that adds weight to your message.