I currently have four full requests out with agents for the manuscript I'm querying, but I've decided that if those fall though, I'd like to move forward and self-publish it (for personal reasons, I'm eager to have it in the hands of readers--I don't feel the same about any of my other work, to be certain).
I wanted to try querying this book first because I do want a traditional publishing career--or, more accurately, I'd like to be a hybrid author, as I plan on self-publishing the next in a series of interconnecting novellas in the fall. However, traditional publishing to me would mean increased readership, greater credibility, and financial support for publishing, the latter of which is unfortunately necessary at the moment.
Which brings me to my question. I was also under the impression that traditional publishers would offer various support to their authors like marketing, publicity, etc (though I know not to the extent of the heavy-hitters like Stephen King and Suzanne Collins).
Financially-speaking, what does this mean for the authors?
When I was self-publishing my first book, I knew those expenses would fall to me, including website design, professional photos, and marketing campaign materials (plus cover design, editing, formatting which I know publishers handle in-house). Am I right to assume from your post(s) that publishers won't pay for the above and that they expect authors to finance these things out of their advance or own pocket?
Financially-speaking, I feel a little like I'm caught between a rock and a hard place no matter which method of publishing I end up choosing for this book.
Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated, as always.
Generally speaking, trade publishers pay for expenses related to the book; you'll pay for expenses related to the author. In self-publishing, you pay for everything.
A trade publisher will also be paying for things that you as a self-publisher won't be including:
1. Materials for their sales force to talk about your books to their accounts: B&N, Amazon, other chain or big box stores, indie stores.
2. Material to be used in the sales catalog that will be distributed to libraries and other institutional sales outlets.
3. Sending review copies to places that won't consider self-published books
4. Printing and warehousing your book and shipping it to stores in bulk quantities.
If you work with a trade publisher they will pay all the book production costs: design, layout, printing.
They will not pay for author photos or website design.
Think of it this way: if you elect to self-publish, you're starting a company, and you'll pay for everything.
If you elect to publish with a trade publisher, you're starting a job, and you'll pay for things you need that the company doesn't provide.
In both instances you'll have to cough up some cash; if you go with a trade house, hopefully that advance money will cover it.