Self-publishing vs. Commercial publishing

Self-Publishing vs Commercial Publishing
by Eva Henn
 Jan. 26, 2021

Once I completed writing my first book on my early childhood recollections of a certain segment in my life, I was ready to publish it. It was a daunting task as I decided early on that it will not be for public consumption, rather a legacy for my family and friends. I started researching and talking to a few publishing companies such as Friesen Publishing, Kindle e-books, Retired Teachers of Ontario and Greenwood Creative Printing. I asked them and myself what would be the benefits, the pitfalls, the rewards and the cost of self-publishing versus commercial publishing.

Here are my findings:

Commercial Publishing,

*Kindle Publishing -while printing is free printing e-book format, they take 40%  royalty regardless how much e-books you sell.

*editing-the most important cost of the process, costs $45.00/hr and it would take approximately 12 hours to edit my book. 12 x 45= $540.00

*Kindle creates its own cover design the cost of which is $500.00

*interior design, formatting, font size and style were to cost around $900.00.

Therefore, publishing an e-book with Kindle would be 500 + 540+ 900=$1940.00


Friesen Press is a Canadian Publishing Company in Victoria B.C.

I was first assigned a counselor to assist me through the steps of publishing. He sent me a file folder of steps and general information on the Do’s and Don’ts of publishing. I read the folder cover to cover before reaching out to the counselor. In a nutshell, this is what I found;

*up-front I would pay $2500.00 for a level 1, basic publishing package. I send in my draft of the book in Word, and I would get the following services.

*initial evaluation for progression of the book,

*editing several times over,

*recommendations for changes to add more context, more interest, more value to the book,

*cover design, formatting, promotions and distribution.

*printing of 50 copies of 6×9 soft covered bound books,

The counselor highly discouraged me from designing my own cover, editing my own work and formatting my own text. He emphasized, that in the end going with a publisher will yield a more professional looking and sounding book.

Both of these companies keep the manuscript on file for two years and will publish only on demand.     

So then, I investigated Self-Publishing.

Publishing on my own, I felt that I would have total control over my own work, however, I was looking for a guiding framework to go forward. I turned to Greenwood Creative Printing House, a local printing company owned and operated by two knowledgeable sisters. I also used valuable source material from Retired Teachers of Ontario. I received a good framework from both and set to publish my book. I asked friends who had the skill sets needed to advise me every step of the way.

*the cover was designed by an artist friend and she matched a banner tittle with it. Although I later changed the title that I thought was more suited to the art work and to the context. That is the beauty of self-publishing. I make the changes.

*another friend worked on developmental editing which involved omitting wordy text, adding more content, more interest and asking guided questions to round out my story; 

*another editor checked for historical accuracy;

*another did the proofreading for grammar errors, punctuation, word usage, and clarity or fluidity.

*Premium Grammarly software scanned the text, line by line, page by page

*another friend, a professional copy editor completed the final reading and polishing of the entire content.

*my son formatted and designed the text and the interior of the book to the required size, font and style and formatted the cover to the size of the 6×9 finished book.

*I then sent a draft of my manuscript to be evaluated by Kim at Greenwood Creative Printing. She accepted the entire package as it was and she was ready to print.

*She printed 30 copies with a black and white cover for the price of $460.00

I could have taken another path in Self-Publishing through Staples. However, the finished product would have been a cerloxed, soft covered booklet not a bound book. Staples offers a software program that outlines all the steps in the process. It is called Coding, Programming Publishing Bundle by Total Training , and the price is $159.99

In the end, I chose to self-publish and chose Greenwood Printing as Kim had a deep understanding of what I was trying to do and with collaboration and knowledge she guided me along the process. In my opinion and in conclusion, I understand fully that while self-publishing is not on a dime, it was still cost-effective for me, it was a valuable learning curve, but most importantly I accomplished my mission in leaving a legacy for my family. It was a rewarding experience.

E.H

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