SUBSIDY/VANITY IN PAPER
Many of the subsidy and vanity publishers have a system for publishing the book set up so all you have to do is plug in the various components of the book.
You will design the cover or pay to have someone design the cover, you will write the book blurb, and you will edit or pay someone to edit your book. They will take all this and print the book for you.
Unfortunately, they will expect you to pay all the expenses in this process and will still take a huge chunk of the profits for doing nothing. Most of the services cost considerably more than if you found someone else to do them.
Some of these presses also have contracts which control your book forever so that you can't sell it elsewhere.
Even those subsidy presses who claim they can get your books on those shelves rarely do.
Frankly, there is no pro in this kind of publisher, only cons.
SELF PUBLISHING IN PAPER
With self-publishing, you must find a printer to print your book for you, etc., but you will receive all the profits. Some printer services offer help with covers, etc., but it's added cost.
The major advantage to this method is you have most of the control for every element of your book.
A major disadvantage is that you have control over every element of your book. If you don't know what you are doing, you will spent a lot of money to make a fool of yourself.
Distribution is the biggest disadvantage of self-publishing. It is almost impossible to get your book onto the shelves of bookstores and in the catalogs of distributors.
You will have to literally hand sell each book. To do this, you must have the soul and charm of a successful used car salesman and lots of time.
A self-published book, unless it achieves best-selling status, also does more harm than good to a writer's reputation and future because most in the publishing world have a great deal of disdain for the self-published, particularly in fiction, so moving into another form of publishing later is much harder to do.
Tomorrow, we'll talk about electronic publishing.