Cooperative publishing refers to an arrangement between an author and a publisher in which the author contracts to handle specific aspects of the publishing process. This option lies midway between self-publishing, in which the author bears all the costs, and traditional publishing, in which the publisher bears the costs and the author is paid in royalties.

In some cases, a cooperative publishing contract involves the author sending out advance notices to solicit buyers or handling aspects of  book design and production. Most often the arrangement requires that the author front the printing costs. A standard print-run of 500-1000 books will very likely cost about $2,000. However, since many cooperative publishers now rely on print-on-demand services, these costs can be as low as $1,000.

For authors whose manuscripts serve a very specific audience niche, whose time frame limits the often lengthy publisher search, or for authors who wish to be more on-hands with the book production process, cooperative publishing is an appealing option. For a review of the pros and cons of cooperative publishing, I recommend this link to BPS Books.

This is different from vanity publishing because the publishers are selective in choosing the manuscripts, and their publishing company has high quality-control standards. Individual contracts vary, and authors do need to do their  own research to make sure the arrangement is on the up-and-up.

Here are three cooperative publishers I recommend:

Fithian Press, Daniel & Daniel Publishers, Inc.

BPS Books

Beatitude Press

I welcome cooperative publishers to contact me, and I will be happy to review their guidelines and practices. Publishers whose cooperative arrangements and quality of work I can recommend will be added to the list.

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