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Different Types of Publishing

Traditional publishing refers to the established system of getting a book deal, which involves submission to agents and usually a many of rejections and then eventually being accepted. After you have been accepted as a client of the agent, they will submit the manuscript to publishers many of whom may reject it until eventually one accepts the work, and a contract is signed. The book will then go through more edits and will eventually be published.

Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to every type of publishing.

Traditional Large Publisher


* Good distribution networks, which can get your book into bookshops.

* Professional editing, production, and cover design of your book.

* Professional marketing.

* Can get your book reviewed in the media such as the press, radio or on television.

* Is more likely to result in sale of overseas, audio and film/TV rights.

* They usually pay an advance to authors. (An upfront payment which is offset against royalties.)


* Even with the biggest publishers, the amount they spend on marketing for debut authors is small. The author will require to make a considerable effort to promote their own book.

* It is difficult for debut authors to obtain bookshop space or professional reviews.

* Traditional royalty payments for physical books are low, and traditional publishers have been slower to exploit the e-book market than independent publishers and those who self-publish.

* Most traditional publishers will not consider direct submissions. The author will require representation by an agent before they will be considered, never mind accepted for publication.

Independent Publisher


* Move faster and are more responsive than traditional publishers. The time from acceptance of your manuscript to publication of your book will be shorter than with traditional publishers.

* They are more flexible in accommodating highly productive authors who write more than onee book a year.

* Effective at harnessing the benefits of social media. This includes bloggers, Facebook groups, Instagram, podcasts, Twitter, and YouTube.

* Build loyalty to the publisher among readers as well as individual authors.

* Focus primarily on the e-book market, paying high royalties to authors.

* Devote equivalent time and resources to all books they publish.


* Not having the large resources nor as good media contacts as traditional publishers.

* Do not focus on getting books into traditional bookshops.

* Quality of editing, production and cover design may be lower than traditional publishers.

* Independent publishers do not offer an advance payment to their authors.

Self Publishing


* No entry barriers such as agents or publishers.

* Costs are low and free support is available from distributors including Amazon.

* The author has control over each process. This includes cover design, marketing and pricing.

* The author receives all the royalties other than any production and distribution costs. It is easy to track your sales and income.


* The author incurs all editing, production and design costs. These are under the author’s

control and can be low, but they are payable up front.

* The novel will be one of many thousands published and so it is your responsibility to promote. it

* Successful self-publishing requires your writing to be approached like a business and you

will spend as much time marketing and promoting your book as writing the next one.

These comments are generalisations and the picture is constantly evolving. You, as an author,

need to be aware of the commitment that will be required of you through the different

methods of publication. Fellow author, Allison Symes, once said:

You better like your first novel, because you’ll be promoting it for the rest of your life!’

The distinction between traditional and independent publishers is, however, becoming

increasingly artificial. Many of the large publishers now have e-book or specific genre

imprints which operate far more like independent publishers than its traditional parent.

Equally, some independent publishers are now developing expertise to match those of their

large, traditional cousins.

In order to decide where would be the best place to submit your novel, consider what

you want from publication. If you put the following in order your priorities should help you

decide whether you should target a traditional publisher, which means you require to find an

agent first, an independent publisher, or whether you want to self-publish your work.

Your book into bookshops.

Your book reviewed in media outlets such as newspapers or radio.

Selling books.

Selling e-books

Film, TV and foreign language rights

A large readership

Maximising income

An advance

Maximise royalties

Control over publication

Minimise your costs

Val Penny

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1 Comment

Great blog, Val. Thank you for sharing.

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