Book Publishing Options (part three)

Last time I briefly discussed the option of having a manuscript published by a subsidy publisher. But that’s not the only alternative to commercial publication. Here are three more.


You can take full control and responsibility for the entire process of publication, putting every aspect of the process out for bid rather than accepting a preset package of services from a subsidy publisher. Publishing-related services include:

1. Writing coach/mentor (or ghostwriter/collaborator)

2. Editing and proofreading

3. Cover design

4. Obtaining an ISBN/barcode

5. Typesetting (interior design)

6. Book printing

7. Getting your book set up with a distributor

8. Marketing/publicity (PR company, speaking engagements, press releases, book reviews, online promotion, social media networking, book videos/trailers, etc.)

Self-publishing can be more cost effective than subsidy publishing and may result in a higher-quality product (or at least something that is more appealing to you).

The completed books are the author’s sole property, and you keep 100 percent of sales proceeds.

Electronic Publishing

Maybe you simply want to get out the message God has given you, and you don’t care whether it gets into printed form. Many authors publish their writings on their own websites, e-newsletters, and/or blogs. You can even make your own electronic publication by converting your Word or WordPerfect file into a PDF file, design a nice-looking front-page “cover,” and send it to anyone you want by e-mail or on disk.

You can also publish your writing as an eBook that can be read on eBook readers like Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook. An eBook publisher will take your Word or WordPerfect file, design an electronic cover for it, typeset it, and convert it to a format that can be read on eBook readers. (.epub is the most popular open standard format; it’s used with all the major retailers except Amazon/Kindle. Amazon uses a proprietary format: .azw.)

Some desktop-publishing software programs, like Adobe’s InDesign, enable authors to convert their writing to an .epub-formatted eBook.

Do-it-Yourself Printing

Most copy shops and many office supply stores offer various book-binding services. Alternately, you could purchase binders or report covers at an office supply store and fill them with three-hole-punched sheets of paper. If clear-front covers are used, you can design an attractive cover page using either a color printer or specialty paper.

Whether you plan to self-publish, e-publish, or DIY, I strongly encourage you to get a professional edit/proofread to make sure your writing flows smoothly, doesn’t contain anything that could potentially be misread or found offensive, and is free of typos, inconsistencies, or errors in punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling. For a more professional-looking product, consider hiring a typesetter and/or cover designer. (Let me know if you’re interested in any of these services.)