In Lewis Carroll’s famous Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, Humpty Dumpty told Alice, “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean.” For better or for worse, word meanings and implications do change. Radio Shack stores aren’t shacks and they sell much more than radios. “Don we now our gay apparel” gets a different reaction now than when the words were written years ago.
In the late 20th century, the terms “vanity publisher” and “subsidy publisher” were applied to the companies that provided pay-to-publish services. Those companies and their writer-customers were derided by other publishers and writers. Writers identified as “self-publishers” were ignored or sneered at.
In the 21st century, self-publishing has gained increasing respectability, and the term is now so much in vogue that companies love to call themselves “self-publishing companies” to attract business.
I consider myself to be an “independent” self-publisher. I own a small publishing company. I hire editors and artists, buy photography, get copyrights, pick printers, and promote my books. I could call my company, Silver Sands Books, a self-publishing company—but that would make my situation even more confusing.
On the other hand, companies such as AuthorHouse and Mill City Press that I would like to call “author services companies,” call themselves “self-publishing companies.
Below are some of the words and phrases used by some pay-to-publish businesses to describe themselves and to attract customers. Most of these companies provide pretty much the same services. PublishAmerica is a special case.
· Aachanon Publishing: self-publishing service provider
· Arbor Books: self-publishing, subsidy publishing
· Archway Publishing: the best that self-publishing can offer
· Authors Online: Pioneers in Self Publishing
· AuthorHouse: the leading self publishing company in the world
· Author Solutions: alternative publishing, self-publishing, indie book publishing, cooperative publishing, on-demand publishing service, independent publishing, indie, do-it-yourself-publishing, supported self-publishing
· Aventine Press: the best print on demand publisher you never heard of, quiet professionalism
· Balboa Press: self-publishing
· Beckham Publications Group: joint venture publishing, self-publishing
· BookPal: the widest and largest book distribution channel in the world
· BookPros: subsidy publishing, traditional publishing—redefined
· BookSurge: do-it-yourself-publishing, publish-on-demand
· Canmore Press: assisted self-publishing
· Covenant Signature Publishing: independent book publishing
· CreateSpace: do-it-yourself-publishing, print-on-demand publishing, self-publishing, subsidy publishing
· Crossway: blends the best of self-publishing and traditional publishing
· DellArte Press: assisted self-publishing, self-publishing
· Dog Ear Publishing: co-publishing
· eBookTime: the book publisher who can turn your dream of becoming a published author into a reality!
· Eloquent Books: joint venture publishing
· Fertile Ground Press: assisted self-publishing
· GM Books: co-publishing
· Infinity Publishing: author originated book publishing, print-on-demand publishing, an independent (indie) book publisher that has blended aspects of traditional and self-publishing to create a new kind of publishing.
· Innovo Publishing: full-service family-owned publishing company serving the Christian and wholesome self-publishing markets
· Isaac Publishing: subsidy publishing
· iUniverse: print-on-demand publishing, self-publishing
· Light Messages: partnership publishing
· Llumina Press: publish-on-demand, self-publishing, print-on-demand
· Lulu: free self-publishing, print-on-demand publishing, self-publishing, publish-on-demand
· Mill City Press: self-publishing
· Morris Publishing: self-publishing, short-run book printing for self-published authors
That covers examples from just the first half of the alphabet—but I think you get the idea. If you’d like one more term, author Theresa M. Moore calls these companies “self-help publishers.”
Even if there are not as many varieties of publishing as Baskin-Robbins has flavors of ice cream, the number must be getting close.
Uh-oh. Apparently I’ve neglected HYBRID PUBLISHING.
Google shows nearly 40,000 links for the term (up from 13,000 a few years ago), so apparently I’ve ignored something important.
Google’s first link goes to Windy City Publishing. The company's website tells us: “As a hybrid publisher we provide authors the control, flexibility and speed of do-it-yourself publishing. But more than that, we also provide support with a team of experts that help guide our authors through the entire process.”
Gee. That sounds like AuthorHouse, CreateSpace, Outskirts and many others. Windy’s publishing packages cost as much as $$13,999. OUCH.
RevMedia Publishing says Hybrid-Publishing [the company hyphenates the term] “is publishing your book with a minimal investment and getting paid royalties for bookstore sales and other retail revenues from a publisher. It’s getting your book in the wholesale market without warehousing thousands of copies costing you huge money that could be used in marketing. It’s getting your name on retailers book lists and providing access to major book retailers to order your book with out [sic] paying big dollars to publish your book.”
Gee. That sounds like AuthorHouse, CreateSpace, Outskirts and many other self-publishing companies.
BQB Publishing wants us to know that “Hybrid publishing is typically a combination of the high-quality processes for acceptance, editing, and book design that are indigenous to the traditional houses, combined with the author’s financial participation that is a part of self-publishing.”
Gee. That sounds like Vantage Press, Beckham Publications and others.
The new She Writes Press says: “We are a hybrid because we are, in fact, a publishing company. What we’re offering is fee-based publishing, but we are also offering a partnership. With SWP, you own your content, but you publish under our imprint and our ISBN. You can have your rights reverted at any time, but we are bringing you under our umbrella when we offer you a contract.”
Gee. That sounds like lots of other self-publishing companies.
----From my just-published How to not get Screwed by a Self-Publishing Company.