What Is Publishing? What Every Author Needs to Know

Vivalogue provides comprehensive publishing services for individuals, groups and companies, whether you want just one copy or hundreds.

  • Help to be your own publisher
  • Genuine self-publishing
  • Commercial publishing support
  • One-off or short-run publishing


Many authors frustrated with trying to find a traditional publisher for their work are turning to self-publishing. What does this mean? Any book that is going to be sold must have an ISBN (International Standard Book Number). There are other recommended registrations as well. If you decide to self-publish, you create your own publishing company and obtain your own ISBN. By doing so, you retain 100% control over your book and are responsible for 100% of your costs. This is not a difficult process—and we can advise authors considering self-publishing on how to go about setting themselves up as their own publisher.

People self-publish for a number of reasons, but profit as the prime motivation is unrealistic in most cases. Vivalogue can advise you on pricing, optimal print runs and book promotion opportunities to minimize your financial risk. Vivalogue also offers a full range of design and editorial services for authors and self-publishers.



In certain instances,  you may not want to be your own publisher but still wish to sell your books. In this case, Vivalogue can issue an ISBN for you and publish your book under our imprint. However, unlike a POD (Print on Demand) company—which charges you a fee to design your book, prints individual copies as they are ordered and sets the retail price and retains a percentage of each order— with Vivalogue you retain 100% of the control over all aspects of your book and 100% of the revenue. We provide the ISBN as a service only to our clients.

We provide all editorial and design services on a “work for hire” basis, which means that everything created specifically to produce your book belongs to YOU and not to Vivalogue. We do not take any royalties on sales of books published under our imprint, unless specifically agreed, in advance,  by the client. These cases are the exception, not the rule. In general, we always encourage our clients to act as their own publisher.



Individuals or groups may wish to print just one copy or only a few copies of a book to mark a special occasion, present as a gift or distribute privately to friends, family or colleagues. These books do not need an ISBN, because they are not going to be sold. Vivalogue can provide as much or as little editorial, design and production support as required to create these special publications.


  • ISBN
  • Expenses and royalties
  • Editorial control

The person or company who owns the assigned ISBN “owns” the book. They are the publisher of record, and receipts from sales will be paid to the ISBN holder. The author may retain the copyright to a book, but not the publishing rights; these have been assigned by the author to the person or company holding the ISBN for the book. For example:

    • Traditional publishers
    • Hybrid publishers
    • Vanity publishers
    • POD publishers

You can only genuinely self-publish if YOU hold the ISBN for your book.



The expenses involved in publishing a book include editing, design and layout of the cover and interiors, proofreading, printing, distribution and marketing. Revenue comes from book sales, the net amount received after the bookseller or distributor has taken their percentage fee. The publisher then pays an agreed royalty to the author.

  • In traditional (or trade) publishing, the publishing house pays 100% of the costs involved; the author pays nothing towards the expenses and receives a royalty as reimbursement.
  • Hybrid publishing is a new form of publishing, grown out of the increasing challenges of the book publishing industry. In this model, both the publisher and the author contribute towards the expenses, and share in the revenue, on a negotiated basis. Both parties share the financial risk of the publishing venture; if the financial risk is NOT shared, it is NOT hybrid publishing — it is vanity or POD publishing.
  • Vanity and POD publishing houses require the author to pay 100% of the costs, and retain a percentage of the sales revenue because they have issued the ISBN for the book and may have offered some marketing support. The publishing house has 0% financial risk, but receives sales revenue in addition to monies paid for providing the editorial and design services necessary to produce the book.
  • Self-publishing authors pay 100% of the costs of publishing and keep 100% of the revenue.

If you are paying 100% of the publishing costs, you should not give sales revenue to a “publisher”.



The publisher has editorial, distribution and marketing control over the book. They can set the title of a book, edit the manuscript extensively, ask the author to make changes, decide where the book will be sold and at what price. This is justified because the publisher is paying all the costs and has all the financial risk.

Self-publishing authors retain control over all aspects of the book publishing process, whether they do it themselves, or pay an editor or designer for services.

If you are paying 100% of the publishing costs, you should not give control of any aspect of the process to a “publisher”.


Publishing your book can be a daunting experience. Vivalogue was established to make your journey a straightforward, transparent and rewarding experience.

We offer honest, unbiased advice, based on more than ten years’ experience. We help authors to genuinely self-publish their manuscript, with no hidden fees, charges or royalties.




Vivalogue Publishing co-adminsters the annual Whistler Independent Book Awards (WIBAs). These are the only juried prizes for fiction and non-fiction, open exclusively to Canadian self-published authors. Sponsored by The Writers Union of Canada.

Visit the WIBA website to learn more.

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