3 Paths to Publishing a Book — and the Pros and Cons of Each


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As a long-time book publisher coaching entrepreneurs and executives who want to write and publish a book, I’m often asked what the best route to publication is. Getting published and finding readers is certainly an impressive way to expand your reach as an entrepreneur. It gives you added credibility and authority as an expert in your field. But before you publish, you should carefully consider which publishing model is best and most appropriate. —

In this article, we will examine the three most commonly used methods of publishing a book. There are traditional ways to get a book to market, DIY approaches, and hybrid publishing models. While there is no one best way to get your book published, each strategy certainly has pros and cons. Depending on your unique situation, and with a little care, you can effectively reach your readers and expand your influence.

Related Topics: The 7 most important questions about publishing a book that every entrepreneur needs to know

Traditional publishing models

Traditional publishers offer book deals that don’t cost the author anything. In effect, the publisher pays the author for the rights to license his words and publish his book. Examples of traditional publishers are Random House, Harper Collins and Simon and Schuster. A classic publishing contract can be lucrative for the author. Showing people that you’re published by a big, traditional publisher can be pretty impressive.

However, there are several disadvantages. Firstly, it is extremely difficult to get an offer from a traditional publisher and it usually takes a year-long process. Second, while you get paid, it’s usually not a lot of money. The average royalty traditional publishers pay to authors is less than 20%, which means you might be making quarters per sale, not even dollars. Eventually you lose control of your words and your book. Conventional publishing contracts are inflexible in this regard. As a business owner, you may not want to be contractually cornered.

Self-Publishing Models

Self-publishing, also known as DIY publishing, has quickly emerged as a credible alternative to publishing. When you self-publish a book, you manage the entire process from writing and editing to design and print production to distribution yourself. Many self-published authors find help from individual publishing contractors or self-publishing companies. The main benefit of self-publishing is that the author controls the process and retains all rights and ownership of their book. However, there are many self-publishing pitfalls that often derail a DIY self-publishing project. Book publishing is a complex, time-consuming, and ever-changing industry. If you don’t understand exactly what you’re doing, you’re wasting resources and never finding readers.

As a busy entrepreneur, you may not want to spend the time managing editors, designers, printers, and distributors. You certainly don’t want to be embarrassed by your book if it actually doesn’t look professional or read well. While self-publishing might be an attractive alternative, it might be wise to find publishing professionals to help you shine. Still, you can find success with self-publishing.

Related Topics: 10 steps to self-publish your book like a bestseller

Hybrid publishing models

A third way of publishing is commonly referred to as a hybrid model that combines the best of traditional publishing and DIY self-publishing. Hybrid publishers behave in every way like traditional publishers, except that they publish books under an author-subsidized business model, rather than funding all costs themselves in exchange for a higher-than-industry-standard share of sales proceeds being returned to the author. A hybrid publisher generates revenue from a combination of publishing services and book sales.

Although hybrid publishers are author-subsidized, they differ from self-publishing models in that hybrid publishers adhere to: without exception – meet certain criteria, including (and most importantly) a high quality book with worldwide distribution. Hybrid publishers differ from self-publishers in that they aim to publish books that will sell well in the market.

What is the best publishing model for entrepreneurs?

Writing and publishing a book is like starting your own business. You must do your own discovery and due diligence before deciding how to market your book. There isn’t necessarily the best book publishing model for every author, including entrepreneurs. You may want to wait and secure a large publishing deal with a reputable publisher, you may want to work quickly and diligently on a self-published book, or you may want to find a quality hybrid book publisher that can get your book to market in a high quality and professional manner.

However you end up publishing your book, rest assured that there is probably no better way to build a platform and increase your influence. People put authors on pedestals, and even the media often look to authors for interviews and as authorities on issues related to business and entrepreneurship. It’s a surefire way to market yourself and your business—and since books never go out of style, you can reap the benefits for many years after a book is published.

Related Topics: Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing: Which is Best for You?

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