Self-Publishing vs Commercial Publishing

Self-Publishing vs Commercial Publishing
Source: Eva Henn
January 2021

Ultimately, a writer who decides to publish must consider how they will publish their book, self-publishing or commercial publishing. Each publishing process has strong benefits and some drawbacks. Some of these pro’s and con’s will be considered here.

Commercial Publishing
The biggest benefit of commercial publishing is that they do it all for you, from cover design to all copy editing. You are taken out of the publishing process but you are relieved of constant and continuous decision making. The outcome, your book is published fully and easily. The disadvantages, expensive, and loss of personal input. Costs can increase as you buy into more services and more assistance from the publisher.

Two commercial publishers investigated are examined below.

Kindle Publishing
Kindle will print your book in e-book format assigning 40% royalty in addition to costs for services you might select. The basic services needed are listed with their approximate cost:

  • Editing: – $45.00/hr, based on Henn’s book, approx. 12 hours $540.00
  • Cover: – publisher designed, mandatory service $500.00
  • Interior design – formatting, style, font size, approx. $900.00

      Final costs, approx.      $1940.00

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

An in-house counsellor is assigned to the writer to assist in the publication steps. The counsellor provides the writer with a folder that outlines the fundamental Do’s and Don’ts of publication.

Friesen’s initial suggestion is to consider their “Level I” service for a first-time author with a basic book. The author provides the publisher with a draft manuscript in WORD format.

Level I cost    $2500.00

Included 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

Friesen discourages any personal work relating to the book, cover design, editing and formatting. The company insists that their service, handling all aspects of the publishing, ensures a more professional final book.

Both companies retained the manuscript for two years and will publish only on demand.

The greatest advantage of self-publishing is that it will cost significantly less than the commercial route. The other important benefit is that the author has much more control, makes all the final decisions regarding the publication. The disadvantage is that the author is responsible for every step in the publishing process and may be burdened with finding artwork designers, editors and fact-checkers to polish their work. Basically, self-publishing is hiring a printer and then making all the decisions about the book’s publishing process. Bigger printers may have access to artists and editors which increases the cost of publication. Still, self-publishing is the less expensive route to publication.

Two self-publishing companies can be found easily

Greenwood Creative Printing House
Greenwood Creative Printing House is a printing company in Pickering, Ontario. Established in 1962, it is owned and operated by two sisters, Cathy Taylor-Tjin and Kim Taylor. Working with a printing company means one is working with professionals in a personal way, you make the final decisions but in collaboration with the printer. The Taylor sisters are knowledgeable professionals with decades of experience in publishing. They advise and counsel an author in every aspect related to the publication of their work based on their many years of experience and gained professional knowledge. They can also provide authors with connections to designers and editors.

The bottom line with Greenwood is that an author can have a professional product published at a very reasonable price.

Cover – author option to have it done independently or consider contacts;
Editing – responsibility of the author or use Greenwood’s contact
Historical accuracy – author responsibility
Final Proofreading – responsibility of the author or Greenwood can provide the service
Grammar, punctuation, word use and clarity editing – responsibility of the author or Greenwood can provide the service
Premium Grammarly software – a useful program that provides analysis and advice relating to grammar as well as style, available via the Internet
Final editing – responsibility of the author or Greenwood can provide the service
Interior design – book size, layout, formatting, font size and style are subjective decisions for the author but Greenwood can advise
Draft review – final manuscript assessment and evaluation done by Greenwood Creative Printing. In the case of Henn’s book                                       30 black and white copies             $460.00


Staples offers a self-publishing service, but the least expensive route may limit one to a cerlox bound,  soft-covered booklet instead of a bound book.

Staples also offers a software training program that outlines, guides and trains an author in many of the steps in self-publishing. The process is called Coding, Programming Publishing Bundle by Total Training for $159.99.rlox bound,  soft-covered booklet instead of a bound book.

Final decision
Henn chose to self-publish with Greenwood Printing. Greenwood provided her with easily understood and comfortable collaboration throughout the self-publishing process. The printer provided friendly and practical advice in a non-pressured relaxed way making the whole process easier and less stressful.

Henn concludes, “In my opinion, I understand fully that while self-publishing is not on a dime, it was acceptably 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.”

To view Eva Henn’s original text, click:    HENN



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