As more and more subsidy/cooperative publishers become a part of the Christian publishing scene, I am getting more and more questions about the different types of these publishers—and what the various terminology means. This month I want to give you a few definitions that will hopefully clarify some of those terms for you.
1. royalty Publisher—also known as a Commercial Publisher, Mainstream Publisher, or Traditional Publisher. With this type of publisher, they pay all the expense of producing the finished book—the author pays nothing. These publishers are very selective, as they are footing the bill. Many of these publishers now expect you to be represented by an agent.
2. Vanity Publisher – The author pays the full cost of publishing the book. These publishers will publish any book as long as the author is willing to pay for it. Some may offer help with editing, marketing, warehousing, and limited promotion—but don’t expect much.
3. Subsidy Publisher – The author pays all or most of the cost of producing the books. Usually they are more selective about the books they publish. In some cases the author is responsible for the final editing and making decisions as to interior design and cover design. The books belong to the publisher and the author buys books from the publisher at an established discount. They sometimes pay royalties on the books they sell, but the author will be responsible for most or all of the distribution/sales.
4. Co-op Publishing - The author pays part of the cost of production and the publisher pays the rest. Or, the publisher may pay the cost of production and the author pays for the promotion. There are a number of different scenarios that include a sharing of costs.
5. Self-Publishing: The author has full responsibility for the production of the book. They must arrange for the final edit, cover design, printing, etc., finding the best prices for all these services. The author owns all the books and makes all the profit from the sales.