I had mentioned traditional publishers but didn't really focus on the term publishing house or publishing houses. You'll hear those terms from time to time and for the new author this sort of phrase can get kind of confusing. A publishing house is essentially the same thing as a traditional book publishing company. It's a traditional book publishing firm in the book publishing industry. Some examples: Random House, Thomas Nelson, etc. Publishing houses would, of course, refer to more than one book publishing company. I know it's somewhat self-explanatory, but you'd be surprised by how many people haven't heard of the term publishing house or publishing houses.
MindStir Media actually launched a site recently that discusses what a "non-traditional" publishing house is and also explains some of the benefits. A non-traditional book publishing house, in my mind, is a lot like (or identical to) a self-publishing company (e.g. MindStir Media). A non-traditional publishing house, aka self-publishing company, should generally provide higher royalty rates than a traditional publishing house and greater control over the book design and content. Working with a non-traditional publishing house should also allow you to retain all rights to your work. A non-traditional publishing house will also guarantee that your book will be published (and a lot sooner than a year!).
Some of the drawbacks of using a non-traditional publishing house include:
- You the author have to invest financially (upfront) in your book publishing project. Traditional publishing houses will invest instead. Remember, though...they are incredibly selective because they're the ones fronting the money!
- In-store distribution is lacking when you go the non-traditional route. In other words, your book has a much better chance of being stocked in physical bookstores if you go with a traditional publishing house -- or rather, if a traditional publishing house goes with you (i.e. chooses to publish your book over the thousands of other submissions they receive.)
So which should you pursue -- a traditional or non-traditional publishing house? That all depends on your desires and budget. If you want to see your book in every Barnes & Noble in the country, using a non-traditional publishing house would not help you achieve that goal. However, if you're content with reaching tons of readers online through Amazon.com, BN.com (and other online retailers), non-traditional publishing would be perfect. You won't receive rejections from traditional publishing houses and your book is guaranteed to launch.