Hello, all! Kimberly here from Jera Publishing. Today I am going to talk to you about the difference between subsidy publishers and self-publishing. Authors new to the self-publishing world often confuse subsidy publishing with self-publishing, but they are different. It doesn’t help that many subsidy publishers call themselves a “self-publishing” company and target self-publishers.

When you use a subsidy publisher, you pay them an upfront fee and they will provide you with services such as formatting and cover design. Most importantly, they will handle the ISBNs, printing, and distribution. In addition to the upfront fee, they will also take a cut of the profits when a book is sold and pay you royalties. This is the key difference!

When you self-publish, you will probably still hire someone to do the formatting, cover, etc., but you get your own ISBNs and take your book files to the printer and distributor yourself. When profits are made, you don’t share those profits with a publisher. Because you are not splitting the profits, you have the potential to make more money off your book sales.

You will know you are dealing with a subsidy publisher if they

  • assign one of their own ISBNs to your book;
  • charge an upfront fee;
  • take a cut of the book sales;
  • pay you royalties.

Some subsidy publishers will require that you sign over certain rights to your book, the price determination, or control of certain elements of your design. Make sure you read contracts and understand what they mean before signing up!

While subsidy publishing is not necessarily a bad thing, you do need to be aware of what that really means before you decide to go that route. Some subsidy publishers have a bad reputation, so do your research and search for complaints and testimonials if you decide to go with one instead of self-publishing.

Watch the video version below:

Kimberly Martin

Kimberly Martin

Self-publishing specialist with over 15 years of experience, speaker, and coach. In my spare time, I can be found reading, hiking, taking photographs, riding my motorcycle, spoiling my three rescue cats, and decorating the Jera office with my collection of vintage typewriters.
Kimberly Martin
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