Lately, I’ve noticed the terms e-publishing and self-publishing used interchangeably, however, the two are not synonymous. Self-publishing is a do-it-yourself method, whether it be in electronic format, paper format, or both. E-publishing, on the other hand, is exactly as it sounds: publishing in an electronic format, which may or may not be self-publishing.
Instead, the distinction should focus on traditional vs. self-publishing, both which have their pluses and minuses.*
A traditional publisher buys the rights to an author’s work and pays royalties based on sales. The author must go through an official query process, sometimes through an agent, and as such, faces rejection. Although one thinks mostly of hardcover and paperback products with a traditional publisher, some publishers put out e-book formats only. They remain “traditional” publishers, however, because they assume the publishing process for the author, including cover-art design, editing, and formatting, and they pass on a percentage of sales to the author. The author does not pay any fees to a traditional publisher.
In self-publishing, the author completes the entire process independently, and thus has more control. Sometimes he or she may pay a company to do the work, but regardless, the author foots the bill, which may be minimal or sizeable depending on the publishing venue chosen. Furthermore, the process outpaces the snail journey of traditionally published books, as my daily wait attests (though I have received contact from my editor–yeah!).
Hey! Where Are the Laughs?
Oops. Sorry. Today’s post contains no humor. But the interchanging use of these terms nabbed my attention and gave me a chance to pontificate–something I never do.
Though my husband might say otherwise. And my kids. And my dog if I had one. And…
*Note: I am being simplistic with these divisions, sticking to the barest descriptions, not differentiating between small presses, giant publishing houses, or strictly electronic publishers, all of which can fall into the “traditional” publisher category. Subsidy publishing also exists, where an author pays a fee for “extras.” See the resources above for more information. And feel free to clarify or expound on my thoughts. After all, for every opinion, dozens more exist.
Well, this is embarrassing. I can’t think of a concluding question to ask. Um…let’s see…watched any good movies lately? Read any good books? Hello? Are you still there? Probably not…
All images from Microsoft Clip Art