Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New publisher offers BOTH traditional and indie publishing

It used to be publishers were exclusively traditional or indie-friendly.

1. Traditional: These publishers will typically only accept submissions from literary agents. The smaller ones will sometimes let you send your manuscript, yourself. But either way, if they don't like your work, they don't publish it, and you move on. If they do want to publish it, you may or may not get an advance, and your books will appear in bookstores nationwide. These are your Random Houses, your Harper Perennials, and your Little, Brown & Cos.

2. Indie-friendly (whether "vanity" or POD): they print what you send them and you pay to have the book distributed through online bookstores. (There's a little more to it than that, but the point is, there's no acceptance necessary from a publisher to use any of the self-publishing methods. No gate-keeper is stopping you from releasing your book to the virtual shelves.) These are your Lulus, your Xlibrises, your iUniverses, and your AuthorHouses.

Traditional publishers: Pretty books. Quality books. Professional books. Edited books. Good distribution.

Indie-friendly "vanity" or POD publishers: Not really edited (you can opt to pay for editing "services," but ... well ... ). So-so to really bad paper quality and flimsy, curling covers. Little to no bookstore distribution.

It used to be authors had to make a choice...

...but one new company, Foghorn Publishers, offers both models. (Visitors to the under-construction website will notice a predominance of self-help, Christian, and African-American history books. That's how Foghorn began, and it's how they plan to continue, but they've also recently made the exciting decision to expand and will soon feature an even wider selection of categories.) 

Traditional: Foghorn accepts submissions from both agented and un-agented authors in the categories of fiction (mystery, sci-fi/fantasy, and literary only, and preferably with a unique - but still marketable - quality), creative nonfiction, and natural health and wellness. While relatively new, Foghorn has established a reputation with booksellers across the country and distributes nationwide. Those who have their work selected for traditional publication receive a standard publishing contract.

Indie-friendly:  Independencia Press, an imprint of Foghorn Publishers, offers its professional services to those who prefer to have more control over the creation and distribution of their material. The same skilled and experienced editors (professional writers and graduate degree holders in English, writing, and/or literature) and innovative graphic designers who create the traditionally published books for Foghorn are paid to proofread, edit, and design those submitted by indie authors, which means the aesthetic quality of the independently released book will be indistinguishable from those published traditionally.  Note: the printing press used by Independencia is the same one used by HarperCollins, Random House, Hachette, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster.

So, if you're an author who feels like  a) you've exhausted all of your options in the traditional publishing world, or b) you're going to have to choose the least of all self-publishing-company evils, there's another option.

- Lyla P.

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