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Almost Traditional Publishing
It can be an absolute headache when deciding what to do. If you are one of the many authors who don’t want to go through the motions of self-publishing, there are other options available. One of them is traditional publishing which can also prove to be quite difficult since it’s really hard to find a press that will accept unsolicited manuscripts or publish an unknown author with no agent. If you find yourself in the position of choosing between these options and you are aware of the need to avoid vanity publishing houses, it is possible to publish in an almost traditional way.
I say ‘almost traditional’ because the publishing services I am referring to are actually imprints of two of the major publishing companies. DAW Publishing is an imprint of Penguin/Random House Publishing, one of the top publishers in the business. I can tell you from personal experience that it is difficult to make it through the ‘slush pile’ which is the first reading but if your manuscript meets all of their requirements and stands out amongst the rest, DAW is worth a try. If the manuscript is accepted by DAW, the authors pay none of the costs and are published in the traditional way they are looking for. Be warned though, getting into this particular imprint can take a very long time and takes a lot of patience.
Simon & Schuster also offer services and an imprint called Archway Publishing that is intended to help self-published authors but they do require the author to share some of the expenses. Some authors are okay with sharing the expenses with an imprint press of a major publishing company while others are not. To be clear about the whole thing, Archway is not a vanity publishing house like the ones we avoid and some authors are more than happy to share the cost of the work they don’t have the time or inclination to do for themselves.
It may seem surprising but self-publishing is not exactly free for authors. With self-publishing the payment for printing and distribution are subtracted from the total book price, then the author receives a small percentage of that called royalty payments. The editing process is usually done by the author and a word processing program that has a spelling and grammar check installed. This process is never fool-proof because editing is a grueling and time-consuming task. This means that if a self-published author needs an editor because they don’t have the time to do it themselves, or they just want a fresh pair of eyes that belong to someone who can be unbiased, the author has to pay for that service.
Sometimes self-published authors also have to supply the cover art or the images that go into the book, which means they either have to use what they have, be really good at illustrating, or purchase photos from other photographers or illustrators. This can also run into a pretty high expense for each manuscript.
Either route you choose for your work is fine as long as it fits your lifestyle and budget but remember to be diligent and pay close attention to the guidelines. Some companies prefer short manuscripts while others require a novel-length story. Some require the author to share the cost while others will do all the work with the exception of the writing, of course. In essence, if you are an author that has no time to deal with the process of self-publishing, you could go with DAW, Archway or the handful of other companies that are similar to them. Make sure you do your homework about the company, follow their submission guidelines. Most of all, remember to always think it over before you actually submit to any company and be patient when waiting for their response.
Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Amy Raines