Self-Publishing vs. Partner Publishing

Self-publishing vs partner

When selecting a publisher, it is important to understand and know your own needs first. Is your main goal simply to see your words in print? Or are you looking for a more curated process? Most people know how the traditional publishing model works: get an agent who sells your book, etc. But the options besides this traditional approach are more varied than ever, and yet often their differences are more vague as a result.

This month, we’re going to compare two types of non-traditional publishing: self-publishing and partner publishing.

Quantity vs. Quality

Self-publishers: Usually take anyone who can write the check. They are a “book mill” with no risk in the outcome of the book. Many of these “book mills” publish 500 to over 20,000 titles a year. Here is a great article with more information about this aspect of self-publishing.

Partner Publishers: Rather than accepting and printing every manuscript, partner publishers read and select works they wish to publish, and that they believe have a chance to succeed in the broader marketplace (in this respect, they are more similar to a traditional publisher, although they usually do not require that the author have an agent). This means that they pass on many manuscripts for every manuscript they accept. Instead of 500-20,000 titles per year, they’ll average around 35.

How It’s Sold

Self-Publishers: Will make your book available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, in general. Often, authors are told that their title will “auto sell,” but the truth is that with marketplaces as large as these, “auto-selling” is a myth. If you’re simply looking to have your book listed so that close friends and family can easily order it, this would be adequate; however, you’d be highly unlikely to spontaneously gain outside readers.

Partner Publishers: Will probably have a sales team. This means you’ll have someone making face-to-face pitches to prospective buyers. So, your title will not only be listed on Amazon and Barnes & Noble: with this model it will be actively promoted, making it a more suitable choice if your goal is reaching more readers. In addition to a sales team, most partner publishers will also utilize their leverage with media contacts to market their authors, book interviews, feature your title at trade shows, send review copies to media outlets, and so on.

In Deep River Books’ case, we also provide two hours of one-on-one media coaching, so authors can become their own champions through social media and other user-based marketing efforts.

Spell-check vs. Editing

Self-publishers: Because of the high volume of titles that self-publishers handle, there simply isn’t the man-power or time to edit each one well. Their authors will usually get a cursory spell-check, but not much else. (In some cases, they do offer deeper editing, but charge an added fee.) If you’re confident in your manuscript, just want to get it on Amazon for your friends and family, and don’t much care whether it has a few typos, this is a solid option.

Partner Publishers: Usually have a full editorial team. Because they handle a lower volume, they’re able to engage in back-and-forth revisions with authors, covering both concept and technical editing. If you’re after a more professional book that would be presentable to people outside of your close connections, this would be the better option.

Know What You Need

If you’re just itching to get a book in print for the heck of it, and don’t particularly care whether it comes off as professional or not, self-publishing is a route you could consider. Beware of companies that try to include hidden costs though, and research thoroughly whoever you’re considering for your book.

If you’re looking for a non-traditional route that offers professional quality, then partner publishing is something you should look into.

We hope you found this breakdown helpful, and that you find exactly what you’re looking for in your publisher! If you want to know more about Deep River Books’ publishing process, just follow this link to our FAQs.