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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Traditional? Vanity? Small-Press? Self? Hybrid? What's It All Mean?? #RB4U @Melissa_Keir

Traditional? Vanity? Small-Press? Hybrid? Indie? 
What's It All Mean?

Hello and welcome back to RB4U. I'm your host today and I thought I'd share some terms which are used in the publishing business. What's in a name?

According to Shakespeare..."A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" is a frequently referenced part of William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet, in which Juliet seems to argue that it does not matter that Romeo is from her rival's house of Montague, that is, that he is named "Montague." (Wikipedia) 

And recently, April, the Giraffe's little baby was named Tajiri- so named because his name means "hope, king, and confidence". He is adorable!

My name "Melissa" came from my Great-Grandmother's middle name and "Means "bee" in Greek. This was the name of a nymph that cared for young Zeus in Greek mythology. It is also the name of the fairy who helps Rogero escape from the witch Alcina in Ludovico Ariosto's poem 'Orlando Furioso' (1516). As an English given name,Melissa has been used since the 18th century." (

But in the publishing world, we use different terms to name different types of publishing options. It can be confusing for readers and authors, so let me see if I can help you with it.

Traditional is just what it sounds like. A big publishing house has decided to publish your work. They are going to offer you a contract, possibly an advance and royalty payments. You won't have to give them any money up front, but in some cases if your book doesn't sell the minimum set forth by the advance, you could either have to pay it back or not make any money. One good thing about a traditional publisher is that they have access to put your book in a variety of markets and stores and you have the potential to make a good deal of money, even with them taking a percent of your royalties.

A vanity press is a publishing house where you pay to publish your book. For a set fee, you can have your book put in ebook and print. They charge you to publish your book. The cost can be upwards of $10,000. But the fee/cost is your responsibility and even if you sell books, chances are they will take a percent out of your royalties. 

A small-press publisher like Decadent, Inkspell, Evernight or others, publishes your book at their cost. They pay for the cover and editing. As the author, you don't pay anything but will get a portion of the royalties. One of the nice things about small-press publishers is that they give authors a great deal of say in their covers and releases. They are more like a family but they may not be able to get your book into all the larger markets. They do have a lot of resources for promotions and connections, however, like all the other options, promotion does sit firmly on the shoulder of the author.

Self-published is another type of publishing. It's taken off in the last few years as Amazon and other vendors have opened the gates and resources to authors. This means all cost is the author's responsibility but then all the profits are as well. In the past, many people looked down on the self-published books because they lacked the quality of traditionally published works but that's no longer the case (as a rule- but I'm sure there are still some out there). One of the benefits of indie-publishing is that authors retain control over all aspects of their work. This can be very scary for some people but can also be freeing in a way. 

Hybrid publishing is a mix of any of the above, although it is most often used when a traditionally published author also self-publishes some works. As authors become more familiar with publishing, many enjoy learning the skills to be able to do formatting, uploading, as well as cover design. Maybe it's because we spend so much time with our babies...umm...books that we like to be a part of all their pieces. At the very least, it allows us to release older, back-list books and make them available to new readers. 

I hope this clears up any questions you might have had about terms used by authors and publishing houses. Sometimes, it can be like people are speaking a whole different language. But as a reader, it doesn't matter to me who publishes a book, only that my favorite authors continue to write. :)

Feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions. In the meantime, I have to get back to my own writing, which you can always check out along with my movie reviews on my website! Until next month!

Melissa Keir


Liza O'Connor said...

I am so glad I took the Indie plunge. I've great editors who understand my writing style and don't try to change it to their writing style, I make my own covers which truly represent my books, and finally, I am making money!

N. N. Light said...

What a great introduction to the world of publishing! You're right, Melissa, it can be confusing for some writers and readers. I'm a self-published author and I love it. Choosing my own editors who get my vision and writing as well as choosing my own cover is very freeing. The reality of publishing today is that while there are many options to publishing, the author has to do more marketing than ever before. I'd rather do it all myself and receive all the royalties than the other way around.

I shared on Twitter and Pinterest! :)


Cara Marsi said...

Nice explanation, Melissa (love your first name BTW). I'm all indie now and love it.

Tina Donahue said...

Great post, Melissa. Publishing used to be so easy, no? LOL. It seems to get harder every year.

Kate Richards said...

Very well said, Melissa. Our world changes so quickly, I know it's sometimes hard to be sure we're all talking about the same thing at the same time. ;)

stanalei said...

Great explanations, Melissa. Thanks for sharing this.

Vicki Batman, sassy writer of sexy and funny fiction, blogger at Handbags, Books...Whatever said...

Hi, Melissa! Love learning about your name and shall check on mine in just a sec. I'm a hybrid-pubbed with a small publisher and self-pubbed. Both have worked for me.

jean hart stewart said...

Very interesting. Good and clear...Thanks....

Mia McKimmy said...

Great explanations on our publishing options. When I first started writing I was really confused, and was almost taken in by a vanity publisher. The moment I googled publishing options, the vanity publishers were at the the top of the page so I clicked on one to get their info. Major mistake! They started sending tons of emails to reel this little fish in. The extreme amount of money they wanted up front was the first turn off, and when I saw they amount they were charging for books on their site, I told them no one in their right mind would pay $20 and up for a paperback when they could pay less than half that amount anywhere else. I broke off all communication. Lesson learned! They always have a convincing answer ready, and my heart goes out to those who were taken in.


D'Ann said...

Indie for me, partly b/c of you! Love ya, lady!

Melissa Keir said...

Thank you everyone. I know I struggled with the language. Indie is another one which I didn't include because so many people disagree about it. Some say it's the same as self-pubbed but others say it's like the small publishers. I think we all need to use the same language if we are going to talk about books and publishing.

Paris said...

Great post, Melissa! I love the independence of self-publishing some of my stories because I really do enjoy picking an editor and being in charge of the cover but I also love working with my new publisher. I have to say that the hybrid road is the best for me:)

Krista said...

Great post Melissa, clears up alot of questions !! I also like the Behind the Name site, very interesting to look up my family names :)

R. Ann Siracusa said...

Good Information. So often I hear people refer to the types of publishing incorrectly. But everything changes so fast, as soon as you learns these terms, the big "they" in the sky, will be using something else.

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