Self-Publish using a Publisher for Printing and Distribution only?

As I get closer to finishing the first edit of Conspire, I have been thinking more about my strategy for getting my book out there. As disheartening as it was to try the traditional agent and publisher path with my first book Times of Trouble, I’m still committed to giving this a try for Conspire, if just for a short time.

I would like Conspire to be available for people to read in a book format, and in an eBook format.

The book format is definitely easier to distribute when you have a traditional publisher representing you. They have relationships with the book stores and they know how to print a very nice looking book, with all the professional trimmings.

Apart from printing and distribution, the rest of the publishing process can be self managed – if you have the time and are willing to make a small investment in your project. I can commission an editor. I can outsource a designer for my cover design and typesetting. Or I can do it myself (like I did for Times of Trouble).  I can do my own marketing, which as far as I can tell, most new authors do anyway even when they sign with a major publisher.

So here’s an idea. What if I presented a fully edited and professionally designed book to a publisher, and just asked them to print and distribute it? They would obviously have to verify that the book was worth putting their stamp on. But they wouldn’t have to invest nearly as much as they usually would in a new author – I wouldn’t be asking for an advance because I don’t believe that publishers can generally justify this initial upfront cost when they have an unproven product on their hands. My marketing strategy would of course then be crucial to make the book a success, but since I have to promote the eBook myself anyway, most of this promotion will also drive readers into stores to buy the actual book.

Some might argue that I could achieve all of this myself by self publishing, using POD services, but I still think that distribution by publishers is the key.

So this brings me to my final idea. What if I self publish an eBook and manage the entire process myself, and also find a publisher who is willing to deal only with the printing and distribution of the actual book? I wonder how this would affect the royalty figure. I don’t even know if this would be allowed by a publisher. I’m just making this up as I go along.

Does anyone else have any thoughts on the subject?

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3 Comments on “Self-Publish using a Publisher for Printing and Distribution only?”

  1. Victoria: Your idea of presenting a “complete” novel to a publisher to see if they’ll bite is outstanding! In the past such an idea would have been considered unprofessional, but I think the time is right.

    I would love to hear your experiences about the process if you decide to go through with this.

    – Kelly

  2. […] distribute her work to readers who aren’t interested in eBooks. This idea relates to my earlier post about publishers and their most useful service – printing and distributing books to book […]

  3. […] by myself. I even dreamt of a situation where I retain the rights to my work, but use a traditional publisher as the distributor only. For both my novels, I have approached agents and publishers via the traditional ‘proposal’ or […]


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