What is assisted Self-Publishing?
The term ‘self-publishing’ refers to the publication of a book or other printed media by the author of the work, without the involvement of an established third-party publisher. The author is responsible for the entire process, from the beginning until the end, including the design of the cover and interior, the formatting, price, distribution, marketing and PR.
The author has the choice, of course, to do it all themselves or to outsource all or part of the process to companies that offer these services, which is what Animal Dreaming refers to as ‘assisted self-publishing’.
As a self-published author, it should be safe to say that you:
- Will only ever pay one up-front fee to the publisher for their services, with no mention of ‘royalties’ or talk of ‘sharing the profits’
- Will never be bound by contracts or legal agreements that extend beyond the production and printing of your book
- Will be guaranteed a full-publishing package from the company you sign up with; a package that should include full editing, interior layout, cover design, author corrections, printing and distribution.
- Will retain the full copyright on your manuscript forever
- Will own the full copyright on the layout and design of your finished book
- Will see ACTUAL books printed and delivered, and not the now fashionable ‘print on demand’ option preferred by most self-publishing companies that allows a greater profit for them, but actually retards the potential sales and success of your book
- Will have full input and the right to make the final call on all stages of editorial and design
- Will receive all financial return (every cent of profits coming back to you) after production and publishing costs and distribution fees
- Will control the destiny and longevity of your work
- Will be free to break away and either self-publish under your own steam or with another company, or to hand your book over to a publishing company if you are offered a traditional (contracted) publishing deal. It’s your book. You should be free to do whatever you want / go wherever you want with it.
NB: These may not be guarantees that other self-publishing companies are willing to make, but at Animal Dreaming Publishing, we are adamant that every point listed above should have a big, fat tick next to it …
Assisted Self-Publishing v’s Vanity Publishing – What’s the difference?
Vanity Publishing (a term that came from the once common belief that an author who had to pay for their book to be published was probably guided to do so by an inflated belief in their ability to write) is the process of paying for a book to be published after signing a publishing contract with an established publishing company.
Typically, a publishing company will pay their signed authors a percentage of sales as a royalty, with the intention of only signing up authors whose books are guaranteed to generate a substantial financial return for the publishing house.
For the unknown author, therefore, to get a publishing contract under these conditions has always been very difficult. ‘Vanity Publishers’, often as imprints of established – and desirable – publishing houses, are set up with the notion of apparently giving these would-be authors a chance to see their dream brought to reality.
In today’s electronic world, Vanity Publishers generally take advantage of ‘print on demand’ technology, eBook publishing and online distribution. Essentially, a Vanity Publishing House will publish a book in exchange for payment up front from the author on signing of a binding contract that, in reality, protects the publisher more than it does the author. Most offer essential services such as editing, marketing and cover design etc. at an extra cost, and usually with the promise of delivery of a single book (to appease the ego), with the ‘rest’ promised via ‘print on demand’ delivery.
Assisted Self-Publishing, on the other hand, still involves payment to be made by the author, but with no need for binding contracts that bind the author to the publishing house after the book is released.
Instead of having to source their own editors, layout specialists, designers and distributors, the assisted self-publishing company shares their contacts with the author by doing all the legwork for them. In short, the entire publishing process is ASSISTED and not CONTROLLED by the publisher, with guarantees of editing, design, formatting and distribution (conditions apply) included in the agreement; services not usually offered by Vanity Publishers unless a further payment per service is made.
Assisted Self-Publishing involves an ‘agreement of intent’ to be signed by the author, which ensures that the process of producing and printing the book is completed, protecting both the author and the publisher. There is no expectation that the author will stay bound to the publisher after the first printing of the book, with the author given the option to either reprint or break away. And instead of a single copy of their book, the author also enjoys delivery of actual product (depending on the size of the print run) at the end of the process.