WWC Virtual Book Tour: L. Diane Wolfe

Be Aware of the Different Publishing Paths

For the past five years, I have taught seminars on publishing and promoting. During that time, I’ve discovered that most writers aren’t familiar with the three basic publishing paths. Often they are limited in their knowledge or don’t understand the fundamental differences.

Three aspects separate the options: expenses, royalties, and the book’s ISBN.

Traditional Publishing
When an author signs with a traditional press that has accepted his or her manuscript, with or without an agent:

  • The author does not share in the cost of book production – no upfront expenses. (Although the author will be expected to put money into marketing.)
  • The author will receive percentage royalties based on the amount of books sold and sometimes a cash advance.
  • The publisher owns the ISBN, which was purchased by them from Bowker.

When the author chooses to publish through his or her own company:

  • He or she will be responsible for editing, formatting, cover design, marketing, and all production costs.
  • The author keeps the profit after retailer/distributors take their cut – no royalties.
  • The author purchases the ISBN from Bowker, which means the author’s publishing company owns them.

Subsidy Publishing
When an author pays a subsidy press/service company to produce and distribute his or her book:

  • The author pays all production costs, which often include a service fee.
  • The author receives percentage royalties based on the amount of books sold.
  • The author pays a fee to use the subsidy’s ISBN, which means that company, not the author, owns the ISBN.

Before embarking on a publishing path, writers need to research their options. They should understand the difference between true self-publishing and subsidy publishing. They need to be prepared to market regardless of path chosen. And they should be sure the path they are selecting is the best for them.

L. Diane Wolfe
Professional Speaker & Author

Known as “Spunk On A Stick,” Wolfe is a member of the NSA and a motivational speaker. “Overcoming Obstacles With SPUNK! The Keys to Leadership & Goal-Setting”, ties all of her goal-setting and leadership seminar’s information together into one complete, enthusiastic package. She also conducts seminars on book publishing and promoting, and assists writers through her author services. Her YA series, The Circle of Friends, features morally grounded, positive stories that appeal to both teens and concerned parents. Wolfe travels extensively for media interviews and speaking engagements, maintains a dozen websites & blogs, and contributes to several other sites and newsletters.

Non-fiction/Self-help, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
$13.95 Print ISBN 978-0-9816210-2-9
$1.99 EBook ISBN 978-0-9827139-2-1


    • Leila says

      It was my pleasure and I would be more than happy to host you again! Thank you for such a wonderful article!

  1. Stephen Tremp says

    You ar so organized! And your posts so easy to read. Thanks for helping to make life easier on the rest of us and doing so much research that we would normally have to do on our own.

  2. says

    Thank you, I had no clue~ It is mind altering, but necessary to know what we are up against~
    Thanks again, for this insightful post 😀

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