Understanding Publishing Deals

In the world of publishing, the way in which your book is published is never as black-and-white as simply “getting published”. There are several different publishing deals that you might find yourself being offered as you advance into your career, and today we wanted to break some of these down. For first-time authors, the world of publishing can be kind of mystical and largely unexplained, so we hope that this article can help demystify it somewhat.

Well, good news! There’s really only three types of publishing; traditional, hybrid and self-publishing.

Traditional: Traditional contracts are commonly offered by major, established publishers, and entail the publisher covering all of the overhead costs associated with printing and production. Traditional publishing also means that the company will own the copyright to your book, and a lot of the process, including the marketing, will be handled by the publisher. Some smaller publishers also offer traditional contracts, and Olympia is one of these. We tend to offer traditional contracts when we believe that a book has the potential to sell well in the current market. The royalties for traditional contracts tend to between 5 and 15%.

Hybrid: The “hybrid publishing” model is a fairly recent addition to the publishing world, and the intention is very simple; it is a way for publishers to take a chance on books that are niche and are perhaps harder to market than a book that would be suited to a traditional contract.  This is worked out by the author contributing a sum of money to the overall printing and production costs. As a result, the publishing process is very collaborative, and the author has a say in how the book should look when it is complete, and can review the production process as it occurs. The marketing process is also quite collaborative, and hybrid publishers- us included- often encourage authors to do some leg-work when it comes to marketing, and work alongside one another to promote their work. Royalties for hybrid publishing tend to be 15% or higher.

Self-Publishing: Whilst not so much a “deal”, self-publishing is a very popular avenue for a lot of authors. Why? Well, the clue’s in the title; it’s all you. You get the opportunity to largely cut out the middle-man and operate entirely on your own terms. This means that you retain nearly all of your profits, and you will get published at the end of the process. Self-publishing is very easy these days, and can be done through platforms such as Amazon KDP and Barnes and Noble Press. Do bear in mind that once your book is out there, you are the marketing and publicity teams, unless you want to pay a sum of money for someone to give you a hand. That also goes for production and pre-production tasks such as proofreading.

We hope in reading this article that you feel a little more informed about the publishing world, and have a better idea of what to look for when seeking out the optimal avenue for publish your work. Happy publishing!

26 Jul 2023