Skip to main content

The Two Types of Publishing Actions, Part 1

Kristen Howe is an author who's writing romance & thriller novels. She knows the different types of publishing venues out there for authors.

A Handy Diagram on Different Types of Publishing Routes


Getting Published

Every writer’s dream is to get published and have their books into print. Then later in shelves at bookstores and librarie. But after you write a book, edit it into its publish-ready. These days, you have two options to take. Query agents and/or editors of publishers to land an traditional pub deal with big publishers like Random House or Harper Collins, or small or indie press, or even e-publishers. Or self-publish it via various outlets like or, for example.

A decade ago, I went to two full local conferences that had a workshop class on the same subject matter: publishing. One was titled “What are your Publishing Options Today”, and the other was “Publishing Actions." Both workshops explained the differences between traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. Each option had its pros and cons. Between the two workshops in this two-part series, these are my notes to help aspiring writers weigh the odds and let them decide for themselves on which route they wish they choose. This is part one on publishing actions.

Traditional Publishing

Most authors go through the submission process by querying to agents and/or editors, which could be grueling, and a long process in itself. They would want quality products that’s well-edited and well-written. Some agencies have no charges, while some offer in-house editing services by experienced editors. Copy-editors would want it perfect as possible.

Traditional publishing offers you a contract to publish books to go into booksellers and retailers. You’ll get an advance and 8% royalty fees, a royalty statement, and no other money. There’s no pay for art and production and bookkeeping. You would also get more credibility and purpose for your debut. They would give you guidance in the publishing industry. There’s also professional advice to buy it possible with an expert team behind you to help you with distribution and contacts. You’re also taken seriously by the media with prestige.

On the flip side, it takes a lot of time from agent and/or editor to publisher. You would need a query letter, (or cover letter, a synopsis, and a proposal for nonfiction.) You’ll be waiting for a response, since agents and editors have various responses times in their submission guidelines. And yes, you would get the standard form rejection letters, since each agent and editor is subjective of what they’re looking for. The production takes a long time to have it in print—it ranges from eighteen months to two years. If you write a series, it would have to be close together, and concentrate on the first book. If you aim for a small press, you would also have a long wait.

You would have little say on the cover from the art director. A lot of decisions would be up to the publisher. You would need to establish a platform, like on your blog, via social media outlets, presentations. Write articles on the same topic. Also you would have to contact libraries.


Most authors choose to go to the self-publishing route. If you publish on demand with Amazon or other outlets, you’ll only get royalties for your payment and 100% of the money. It’s independent as you do it on your own from independent companies and their imprints. As the author, you publish it.

One of the pros for self-publishing is credibility. A lot of traditional published authors have chosen to go this route. This won’t have any affect on the media. As for time, it won’t take long to get it published—at least a few months. And you would have complete control over everything since it's DIY. It's a low-cost option to have you work printed out fast to small niche markets, and a great starting point for all authors to get their work noticed and published by others.

On the downside, there’s a big stigma about bad writing going out over there. And you would need money to hire an editor, your own publicist, and for marketing your own work, too.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2016 Kristen Howe


Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on August 09, 2018:

Thanks Natalie for commenting and stopping by my friend. So glad you've find it useful too.

Natalie Frank from Chicago, IL on August 09, 2018:

A very useful basic article for learning the differences between publishing options. Nice job.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on February 01, 2018:

I'll be happy to give you the link to print out. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. You can do it.

Lauren Flauding from Sahuarita, AZ on January 31, 2018:

That diagram is really straightforward. I kind of want to print it out and put it on my wall. I’ve self published all my books. Maybe when I develop enough tenacity I’ll try traditional publishing again.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on September 13, 2017:

Scroll to Continue

Thanks for commenting and stopping by Shphrd74.

Hari Prasad S from Bangalore on September 13, 2017:

Timely hub for me Kristen. Thanks for writing. Very comprehsive.

- hari

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on February 08, 2017:

Thanks Coffeequeen for stopping by one again! I hope so too for you and me both!

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on February 08, 2017:

I found your hub very useful and helpful to read. I hope one day I will get a book published!

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on September 21, 2016:

AWW. Don't give up Bill. Good for you. Congrats on Hub Award win.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 21, 2016:

I've tried them both...not terribly successful with either. LOL But I keep trying because, well, that's what we writers do.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on August 20, 2016:

Good for you, Flourish. I'm proud of you. Thanks for stopping by.

FlourishAnyway from USA on August 19, 2016:

Traditional publishing is looking less and less attractive. I've purchased self-published print books on Amazon and was pleasantly surprised by the writing quality. Of course, I went by reviews and looked at a sample of the work. I'm a tough customer, too, as I usually see the ending coming and dislike tired, worn plots I've heard before. It gave me home for the self-publishing medium.

Related Articles