If you're a new writer and haven't been published yet, you're likely to be tempted by a magazine ad that says, "Publish Now!" Or "We'll Help You Publish Yourself!"
But where do you start? A quick web search reveals an amazing range of self-publishing options. How legal are they? How much was the robbery? And how can you find out?
Let's take a look at what publishing, self-publishing, and publishing funding really mean.
Independent publishers bypass traditional publishers by starting their own small publishers. The author makes all investments and assumes all monetary risks, but keeps all profits.
To self-publish books, authors need to find a good printing service that produces high-quality books. Before investing in a POD service, it's always a good idea to get a sample copy.
Self-published copyright files are assigned a Library of Congress number and pay for the ISBN and barcode. While the latter is not strictly necessary if one wishes to sell locally, it is necessary if the author wishes to sell books through online bookstores and through booksellers.
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In a broad sense, the verb “to publish” means “to make public”. According to this definition, "publishing" can be anything from a printed book between two covers to a notice on a supermarket noticeboard. Blogs, websites, newsletters, and self-printed brochures are all forms of publication.
When we speak of "traditional" publishing, we refer to companies that buy the rights to make selected works public. A traditional publisher, whether small or large, will select the best work out of many submissions, draw up a contract with the author, take out copyright in the author's name, and pay the author for various rights, including first publication rights.
The publisher makes the entire monetary investment, as well as taking all the monetary risk, and recoups that investment from book sales. The author may be paid an "advance," which is an "advance against royalties." Once the advance is earned back, the author receives any additional royalties from further book sales.