For an author who wishes to see his or her books in print, the typical methods in the past have been traditional publishing, or subsidy publishing.
In the traditional publishing model, an author contracts with a publisher to write a book (or deliver a book as written), and then receives an advance against royalties. The publisher prints and sells the books and receives the lion’s share of the profits, and the author gets a cut (less the advance). Usually the publisher is responsible for editing and proofreading the book before it’s printed.
In subsidy publishing, the companies involved generally turn this process around, and get the author to pay for the print run of the book. Any editing involved is usually at the cost of the writer, if it’s done at all. As the subsidy publisher is in business to make money, the usual controls as to what’s an acceptable manuscript are often missing or diminished.
A traditional publisher may tell your science fiction novel draft or picture book prototype needs to redone / revised and / or reject it, whereas a subsidy publisher may tell you the same manuscript / book is just fine – and then ask you for $5,000 to publish it.
Generally the subsidy publishing method hurts you as an author in a couple of ways:
1. A poor first draft is accepted, and not rejected / asked to be revised. The revision process that a traditional publisher will make you go through strengthens your written material.
2. The publishing costs are put on the author, and they’re usually for an entire print run, which can be expensive.
3. Editing, proofing, and design services are usually either nonexistent or costly, and can be slipshod.
Blurb represents a new paradigm in publishing – a print-on-demand service that allows the author to be the publisher in a novel way.
Blurb is a middle ground between traditional publishing and subsidy publishing. By allowing authors to make their own books, and freeing them from the usual pitfalls of subsidy publishing, it makes the process of getting books in print a lot more realistic.
How does Blurb differ from a subsidy publisher?
In the first place, there’s no incentive for Blurb to take in a bad manuscript. The onus is on the author to make their book the best it can be, and there’s no subsidy company to give them incorrect feedback because it makes them a buck. Through Blurb Nation, independent editing services can be found, where users can get impartial feedback.
In the second place, Blurb’s unique print service, where the entire print run can be controlled, means the barrier of entry is pushed way down. There’s no scheme to get you to pay for an entire print run. As little as 1 copy can be ordered and printed, and volume discounts start at 400 copies.
In the third place, since the editing and design of the book is up to the user, the path to a better book is clear. There’s no subsidy publisher to gum up the works. BookSmart software makes it easy to create a great book by yourself, and editing / design services can be found through Blurb Nation (as noted).
Blurb. It’s way better than subsidy publishing.