How to choose your editorial path | Monthly Winston-Salem


By Jamie Rogers Southern Bookmarks Executive Director

The question we get asked most often at Bookmarks is “How do I get my book published?”

People may want a quick response, but it’s an incredibly complicated process. The book industry is constantly changing and more and more books are published every year. Advancements in technology have allowed publishing methods to develop in exciting ways (described below).

The first step is to determine your goal in publishing. Is it to get your book into as many hands as possible, or do you only care that it gets printed? There are three main ways to publish a book in print today – traditionally, self-publishing or hybrid publishing.

Traditional edition

According to Writer’s Digest, traditional publishing “occurs when a publisher offers the author a contract and, in turn, prints, publishes, and sells your book through booksellers and other retailers. The publisher essentially buys the right to publish your book and pays you royalties from the sales. »

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If you are considering this method, you will most likely need to acquire an agent, which is a whole other article (find a link to this article on


There are several options when self-publishing, including print-on-demand, vanity, grant, and self-publishing.

The definitions below are provided by Writer’s Digest.

● Print-on-demand (POD) publishers accept all submissions and anyone willing to pay is published. This method prints books one by one as orders are placed.

● A vanity editor publishes anyone’s work provided they have the money to pay for their services. The manufacturer prints and binds a book at the author’s expense and does not provide publishing, marketing or promotional assistance. However, the author owns the printed books and retains all profits from sales.

● A subsidized publisher is similar to a vanity publisher in that the author must pay for the printing and binding of the book. However, this type of publisher contributes some of the costs of publishing, distribution, warehousing and marketing. In this case, the publisher owns the books until they are sold, and the author earns money from the royalties.

● Self-publishing requires the author to invest his own money to produce, market, distribute and store the book. Although it can be time-consuming, the process can be more cost-effective than vanity or grant posting.

Sometimes POD books are difficult for bookstores to transport because they cannot be returned. So if no one buys them, the bookstore is stuck with cost and inventory.

Vanity poses a similar challenge: these books can be difficult for bookstores to transport if the publisher does not accept returns.

Most bookstores can accept self-published books (as defined above) on consignment, but policies vary widely.

Hybrid publishing

This is similar to traditional publishing, but hybrid publishers “use a business model subsidized by the author, instead of funding all the costs themselves, and in return for a share of the proceeds from sales to the author higher than the industry standard,” according to the Association of Independent Book Publishers.

This method has become popular for authors having difficulty obtaining an agent.

For many beginning authors, I would recommend researching the book industry to find out which path is right for you.

There are many local and national resources available to writers, including the Winston-Salem Writers Group and the North Carolina Writers’ Network. There are many pre- and post-publishing steps that many authors overlook, such as editing, design, marketing, and event planning, to name a few.

Regardless of how a book is published, there are countless steps to get a book into a reader’s hands. Bookmarks continues to hope to increase access to books in our community for all ages, and we are grateful to be in this city so dedicated to the literary arts.


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