De-bunking Subsidy Publishing Horror Myths

By: M. Lavora Perry

De-bunking Subsidy Publishing Horror Myths
? 2004 M. LaVora Perry

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Subsidy publishing companies are those that require an author to pay to produce her or his book. These companies are also known as co-publishers, or pejoratively, "the vanity press."

Some of these companies make unreasonable promises about how their services lead to books becoming instant, phenomenal best-sellers, or engage in other unscrupulous business practices. However, legitimate subsidy publishers do exist.

In this article, I'll explain the 6 factors that led me to choose the subsidy publishing company with which I partnered to publish my children's book, Taneesha's Treasures of the Heart.

First, let me say that whether one self-publishes solo or uses a subsidy publisher, the expense of paying to publish can be high. Publishing print-on-demand (POD) is a form of subsidy publishing that can greatly reduce this expense. However, this article will cover conventional subsidy publishing in which a certain number of books are printed in anticipation of orders being placed.



If you can afford it, and you do your homework and footwork, partnering with a subsidy publisher can have its advantages. In my case, the factors that influenced me to select the company I chose were:

1.) I pay a one-time, flat fee that includes free reprints for the duration of my two-year contract, and I will not pay for reprints if I renew my contract. My intention all along was to produce a top-selling book. I invest the book promotion hours and effort it takes to make this happen. As a result, my book was published in June of 2003 and I'm presently into my 3rd free printing; books are being sold both nationwide and internationally.

2.) My fee includes worldwide distribution through Baker & Taylor--which means something to those vendors to whom it means something.

3.) I don't have to pay for or personally handle warehousing and shipping, or pay additionally for these essentials--no matter how many times my book is reprinted.

4.) I own the copyright to my work--not the subsidy publisher.

5.) The company's finished products have a professional appearance in terms of paper and bookcover stock and print quality.

6.) I didn't want to wait until a traditional publisher picked up Taneesha's Treasures of the Heart; the story was unconventional enough that I believed I had to make substantial sales before traditional publishers realized there was a market for this type of book.

Now that Taneesha's Treasures of the Heart is in print, my co-publisher has provided me with a significant additional reason to be glad about my decision to use their services: As I continue to learn more about the publishing business and approach them to revisit certain terms of my contract, they have been flexible about doing so.

I would never tell anyone that they should stay away from every subsidy publisher, no more than I would dissuade someone from totally self-publishing, publishing POD or seeking a traditional publisher. Rather, because I realize that so much of what I've learned and achieved in relation to my book is the result of people sharing their expertise with meFind Article, my approach to disseminating information is to provide balanced assessments of what the reality of publishing is so that writers can make well-informed decisions about how they want to proceed with their work.

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