Author Solutions, authors, book selling, Editing, Indie book publishing, Publishing, self publishing, writing

The 4 Paths to Publishing: Understanding your options for getting your book into the hands of readers.

Authors today have more ways to get published than ever before, and while that is exciting news, it can also be the source of much confusion. In fact, many authors are overwhelmed with the seemingly endless menu of options for publishing.   They are also not sure which is the best way to get their book to market.  To clarify the options that exist today and help authors make a discerning decision about their publishing choice, I wrote a white paper called, The Four Paths to Publishing. 

Here is an excerpt that lays out the premise for the paper.

The past four years have brought about more upheaval in the publishing industry than the previous 400 years combined. From the time Gutenberg invented the printing press until the introduction of the paperback about 70 years ago, there weren’t many groundbreaking innovations. However, in the last few years, the publishing world has undergone an indie revolution similar to what occurred in the film and music industries.

With the introduction of desktop publishing, print-on-demand technology, and the Internet as a direct-to-consumer distribution channel, publishing became a service consumers could purchase, instead of an industry solely dependent on middlemen (agents) and buyers (traditional publishers). In addition, the exponential growth of e-books and digital readers has accelerated change, because physical stores are no longer the only way for authors to connect with readers.

While these changes have made now the best time in history to be an author, they have also made it one of the most confusing times to be an author. Not that long ago, there was only one way to get published: find an agent; hope he or she would represent you; pray they sell your book proposal to a publisher; trust the publisher to get behind the book and believe in the project; and hope that readers would go to their local bookstore and buy your book. This description of traditional publishing (or what some now call legacy publishing) is still a viable path for authors today, but now there are three other distinct paths an author can pursue to get published: DIY, General Contractor, and Publishing Package. Each of these could be appropriately labeled as self publishing, but each offers distinct advantages.

It is available to download for free on the Author Solutions web site or by clicking here.  Use the comment section to let me know what you think. Do you agree with my assessment of the industry? Do you find the identification of the four paths helpful? I look forward to hearing your thoughts about the paper.


4 thoughts on “The 4 Paths to Publishing: Understanding your options for getting your book into the hands of readers.

  1. Hi, A very interesting article, well explained, but I think there is a fifth path that you have missed. It falls between 2) the General Contractor and 3) a Publishing Package and it is a “freelance publisher” – someone who can actually offer all the services from editing to printed book but doesn’t necessarily assist with marketing and sales. There are quite a few around. I am one myself and I “manage” a whole project for my client, taking all the stress and strain out of the process. Many people are going this way as well because cost-wise it also falls between the paths you have mentioned. Thank you.

    • keithogorek says:

      I appreciate the response. I actually would count what you do as part of the general contractor path, but in this case you are the general contractor for the author. I mentioned that as a new career field that has cropped up and I agree with you that there are a number of people like you who can now help authors sort through the independent contractors and find the best ones for their project.

      One thing I am curious about though is how you find your clients? Or how do they find you? Is it referrals? Do you advertise? Would you mind sharing that?

  2. Actually, Keith, I see the traditional publisher, using your restaurant construct, as someone who tells you where to eat, orders for you (despite your objections and allergies to certain foods), and then eats your lunch (both literally and figuratively and financially).

    • keithogorek says:

      I have had a number of people use the restaurant analogy to describe traditional publishing a bit more harshly than I did, but I think as long as an author is informed and understands the commitment they make with a traditional publisher, it can be the right path for certain books.

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