Recent changes in the book publishing business have opened up new opportunities for authors to publish and profit.

Now that so many people have time to write, a computer to type on, and a story to tell, there has been an explosion of new books on the market. A conservative projection based on industry trends is that more than 1.5 million new books were published in 2011.

There are many paths you can follow to get your book published. You could sign a deal with a royalty publisher who will buy your manuscript and publish your book. Or, you could sign up with a subsidy publisher who will sell you a publishing package. You could also take control of every aspect of your book project and collaborate with an experienced book packager to help you become an independent publisher.

The best web site for information about specific book publishers is Preditors and Editors -

But before you start writing you should define your target audience and know that they care about your story. Ask yourself, will this audience take the time to buy and read your book?

Here is a breakdown of the three publishing options:

Royalty Publishing

• Commonly thought of as “the way to publish”
• Publisher invests all the money
• Roughly $100,000 is invested to produce and market each title
• Author is paid a royalty on sales typically 7.5% - 15% based on quantity sold

• No money invested by the author
• Sense of status goes along with “being published” by a royalty house

• May never happen (< 1% of books ever get signed to royalty contract)
• Author gives up significant editorial and creative control
• 2-3 years to edit and launch book
• Requires writing a proposal, getting an agent and many other costly and time
consuming steps

Subsidy Print on Demand Publishing
• You invest your money
• Publisher is the POD company which owns the ISBN, and in most cases the exclusive publishing and sales rights to your book
• Publisher offers you a royalty for books they sell (approx. 10%-25% of retail price)
• You can buy books from them at a discount from retail (approx. 20%-55% of retail price)

• Less up front money out of your pocket
• Good option if book has a limited audience

• Slim profit margins on books you sell
• Subsidy publisher typically sells very few books to people other than the author; total sales average 200 books per title.
• Prices set by publisher, often above market standards making it less desirable by stores
• Design and printing quality can be poor and often does not meet industry standards
• Many book sellers will not accept POD books

Independent Publishing
• You hire a book packager or skilled professionals to edit and build your book
• You are the publisher
• All of the sales and marketing rights are yours

• You control intellectual property – editorial and creative
• Most profitable per book sold – author drives sales
• Speed to market—6-8 months
• Book can appear to be published by large press

• You invest your money

The Money Question
The only thing that is free in publishing is the “Free Publishing Guide”.

If you would like to have the opportunity for commercial success, and can sell thousands of books, you should invest in professional services. Most professionally published books require an investment of between $10,000 and $20,000 depending on the number of books you print. This estimate includes editing, design, marketing, and printing. The return on your investment can be non-existent or it can be three to four times your initial investment. Your return is dependent on your ability to understand the four P’s of marketing, Product, Price, Place, and Promotion.

So if you have a great story to tell and have the means to invest in professional publishing and marketing services, you have the potential to profit with Independent Publishing.

Author's Bio: 

By: Steven Bollinger, Publishing Consultant, Jenkins Group

With more than 20 years of publishing experience with both royalty publishing and independent publishing business model, my goal is to help every author become a profitable independent publisher. For more information on how you can create the perfect custom published book or convert your printed book to an ebook, contact me at Jenkins Group, at or visit us on the web at