Quite some time ago, I reviewed a book called “Blow Us Away! Publishers’ Secrets for Successful Manuscripts,” by E. Keith Howick, Jr., President of WindRiver Publishing. It was an exceptional read and one I recommend to every aspiring author or published one. You can order it from www.WindRiverPublishing.com or Amazon.com.

On a mailing I get, “JB” commented on self-publishing. I’m not saying I think it is bad, I’m just providing a publishers point of view. I do believe there is a place for both if you have thought through your marketing and objectives.

Since “JB” rendered this so well, I thought I’d pass on his thoughts:

From a certain point of view there is no such thing as a self-publisher.

“1) A “self-published author” is an author who publishes his or her own books. The author may or may not have created a company to accomplish this feat. A self-published author is, by definition, not in the habit of publishing other authors’ books.

“2) A “traditional publisher” is a company that publishes books from multiple authors. Exempting the “co-publishing” model, traditional publishers never ask authors for money to publish their books. They always pay a royalty and may pay an advance against royalties. Traditional publishers are, therefore, investors, and as such will pick and choose the projects they will publish to protect their ability to continue investing. Co-publishing is where a traditional publisher enters into an agreement with an author to publish a book the publisher would normally reject. In this case the author is agreeing to cover some of the costs of publishing.

“IMHO, a publisher that co-publishes 50% or more of the titles it prints, or that demands 100% of the money from the author, or that regularly offers the co-publishing model to authors (rather than waiting for the author to ask if the co-publishing model is available) is a “subsidy publisher.”

“3) A “subsidy publisher” regularly asks the author to pay for publishing. Subsidy publishers have a poor reputation due to the habit of a few (sometimes more than a few) to cajole authors into using their services based on the argument that “publishing is publishing,” leading the author to believe they can buy a traditional publisher’s services. Sadly, this is rarely the case. Note that there is a difference between a subsidy publisher and a printer (whether traditional offset or print-on-demand) in that the printer is honestly telling the author that all they do is print books where a subsidy publisher is a printer using a fancy name to lure authors into paying for their limited services.

“4) Self-published authors frequently become traditional publishers as they begin to offer their hard-won publishing experience to other authors.


For the record, The Hill Team books shown below are independently published. We have been satisfied on the return and have gotten some good opportunities to earn more assignments as a result of these. None of this would have happened without a marketing effort. If you have a book, you need to think about the marketing from inception as well as your goals and expectations.

Maralyn D. Hill, President
International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association
Books By Hills Success With Writing Where & What in the World
Member: Society of Professional Journalists

Finalist in the Writing and Publishing category of the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards,
“$uccess, Your Path to a Successful Book,”