Mmegi Blogs :: Writing 101
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Thursday 16 August 2018, 17:52 pm.
Writing 101

Although I've written about many of these terms and issues in other columns, I keep meeting people who don’t seem to understand exactly what the difference is between some of these terms. If you're going to be in the publishing industry, you need to know the language that they use. So I've decided to put it all together in one easy column.
By Lauri Kubuitsile Fri 11 May 2018, 14:59 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: Writing 101

l Trade Publisher: A trade publisher is a publisher who publishes books for a general audience most often books that are sold through bookstores. This is the sort of publisher that most people think of when they think of publishers. Trade publishers publish both fiction and nonfiction, their exact requirements can always be found on their submission pages. A trade publisher considers many submitted manuscripts and chooses only the best to publish. The reason that they choose only the best is because they will make a big investment in the book and need to get their investment back.

The trade publisher is responsible for all of the costs of producing, marketing, and distributing the book. The writer will receive a royalty on sales, usually around 10%.

l Educational Publisher: An educational publisher publishes for the school market. They rarely sell their books through bookstores. They may accept general submissions, but they also often make call outs for specific types of books that they know the schools that they sell to need.

They may even commission certain writers that they’ve worked with in the past to write a specific book that they need. They operate very differently from a trade publisher, though still they will cover all of the costs of producing and selling the book and the writer will receive a royalty on sales, this can vary quite a bit from as low as four percent to even 15 or 18% depending.


l A Self Publisher (sometimes called Vanity Publisher): This is a publishing house that requires the author to pay all or a percentage of the costs to have their book published. Usually the author is completely responsible for marketing, distribution, and sales of the book.

Nowadays there are various types of self publishers, some do more for the author some do


less. The arrangement will decide how much money the author will receive in sales. If the author pays everything and does all of the work, in all fairness, they should receive 100% of the money from the sale of the book.


l Editor: If you’re with a traditional publisher (not a self-publisher) they will pay an editor to edit your manuscript. If you are self-publishing you will need to pay the editor and it will be substantial. For example, an 80,000 word novel most editors would charge P15,000 or more. 

An editor is going to read your manuscript with a critical eye. They will look for any plot holes or inconsistencies (i.e. your character changes names or age along the way). They may point out major flaws in the manuscript that will require substantial rewrites. They look for repetition and bad writing. With the editor you are trying to make your book as good as it can possibly be.


l Proof-reader: After you and the editor have worked on your manuscript and you’ve sorted out any major problems, a proof-reader will check for minor errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and formatting. A self-published writer might see this stage as an added cost they are not ready to pay for, but that would be at their own peril.

A reader will not stick with a book that is riddled with spelling errors or annoying grammar mistakes that could easily have been caught by the fresh eyes of the proof-reader.


Congrats GBF!!!

I must send a shout-out to the organisers of Gaborone Book Festival Book Night. They did a fantastic job. It was professionally organised and run and they got a great turnout of people excited about books.

It’s made me very hopeful for the future for literature and writers in Botswana. Ke a leboga!

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