What Does a Self-Help Publisher Do?

Esther Ejim

A self-help publisher helps an aspiring writer achieve his or her dream of becoming a published author by providing some of the services offered by bigger publishing houses, but often with a minimum of the hassle associated with having a manuscript published by a big publishing house. Most self-help publishers are small independent publishers who offer various levels of book publishing services to their clients. The services are usually divided into stages so that the author can customize the process to suit his or her needs and budget.

A self-help book often draws from the author's own challenges.
A self-help book often draws from the author's own challenges.

Just like big publishing houses, a self-publisher exists to make a profit. Unlike big publishing houses, the self-publisher has a limited budget that leaves no room for the things writers expect from other publishing houses when they accept their manuscripts. For instance, things like promotion and mass publication of books are usually not in their itinerary for the author.

Writers do most of the work in order to make sure that their self-published books achieve a measure of success.
Writers do most of the work in order to make sure that their self-published books achieve a measure of success.

Indeed, almost all self-publishers sell their services to authors in different packages. They usually provide authors with basic print-on-demand services, which means the book is published and then printed only when there is a demand for it. This is in contrast to big publishing houses that mass produce a set number of books and distribute them to various outlets like bookstores and gift shops.

A self-help publisher could provide editing services to an author, which involves the use of an in-house editor for a fee. The self-help publisher could also offer services like the use of an in-house illustrator to draw the illustrations to accompany a children’s book, also for a fee. If the writer cannot afford such services, he or she will have to provide illustrations to accompany the book.

Another service the self-help publisher provides is selling promotional packages to the author, which may include business cards, book place markers, t-shirts and other promotional items depicting the author’s work. The promotional package may also include the building of an author’s Web site, or even press releases and a promotional tour, depending on the type of package the author purchases.

A self-help publisher will also provide the writer with royalties, based on the percentage and terms contained in the contract between them. Royalties are usually paid on a quarterly basis. Most of the time, the writers do most of the work in order to make sure that their self-published books achieve a measure of success. The self-publisher mainly helps writers get their manuscripts to print much faster and with more ease than traditional publishing houses.

A self-help publisher could provide editing services to an author, which involves the use of an in-house editor for a fee.
A self-help publisher could provide editing services to an author, which involves the use of an in-house editor for a fee.

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