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Episode 014 | Traditional, Indie, and Hybrid Publishing

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HOT TIP: If you only click on one thing here, this is the one: The Key Book Publishing Paths: 2019-2020 by Jane Friedman, the guru of all gurus when it comes to the writing business

Traditional Publishing

  1. Best if you want to be certain to be eligible for traditional awards and prizes and/or want to have the best chance of seeing your physical books in bookstores

  2. Best if you don’t have resources available upfront – you’re paid before your book is released, more commonly known as an “advance,” which you must “earn out” (read: pay back) before you collect any royalties from sales of your book

  3. Requires the most persistence/resilience – usually requires that you secure an agent before you can submit your manuscript to publishers, though some smaller presses will allow you to submit your manuscript directly to them

  4. Requires the most patience – the book industry can move at a glacial speed


  1. The 5 Year Plan to Becoming a Bestselling Author (Course) by Thomas Umstattd Jr. and Jim Rubart

  2. How to Get Published – 6 Steps to a Traditional Publishing Deal by Jon Reed

  3. Start Here: How to Get Your Book Published by Jane Friedman

Indie Publishing

  1. Also known as “Independent Publishing” and “Self-Publishing”

  2. Has emerged as a viable option since 2000

  3. Best if you like to have creative and business control over your work. No gatekeepers or support staff – you make all the decisions and do all the work, though you can (and should) hire help in the form of editors, cover designers, etc. Organizations like Reedsy and New York Book Editors can help with that, as can print-on-demand distributors like IngramSpark, BookBaby, and Blurb book aggregators like Draft2Digital, Smashwords, Gatekeeper Press, PublishDrive and StreetLib

  4. Authors keep a higher percentage of the profit from book sales and retain all rights

  5. Requires more upfront resources

  6. Requires a high degree of self-discipline as no one will set deadlines for you


  1. Best and Worst Self-Publishing Services Reviewed & Rated by the Alliance of Independent Authors

  2. Heart Breathings Publish and Thrive (Course) by Sarra Cannon

  3. Alliance of Independent Authors

  4. Independent Book Publishers Association

  5. 5 One-Stop Shop Self-Publishing Services for Print & Ebooks by Carla King

  6. The 13 BEST Self-Publishing Companies of 2019 by Reedsy

  7. IngramSpark Academy: Self-Publishing Essentials (Free course)

  8. Self-Pub Boot Camp by Carla King

  9. 2019 eBook Distribution Round-Up | Aggregators Comparison Chart and FAQs by David Wogahn

  10. Smashwords vs. BookBaby vs. Draft2Digital by K.J. Farnham

Hybrid Publishing

  1. Also known as “Co-Publishing” and “Entrepreneurial Publishing”

  2. In exchange for a share of their profits, authors partner with hybrid publishers who take care of many of the distribution and design aspects of the publishing process

  3. Not to be confused with a Hybrid Author, which is someone who publishes both traditionally and independently

  4. Not to be confused with Vanity Publishing (or Vanity Presses) who primarily serve to publish small runs of books with no plans for marketing or distribution (e.g. a family cookbook)

  5. Examples: She Writes Press, Evolved Publishing, EverAfter, and Inkshares

  6. The degree to which the author retains all copyrights and editorial control will vary by publisher

  7. The percentage of profit going to the author will vary by publisher and publishing package chosen


  1. Best and Worst Self-Publishing Services Reviewed & Rated by the Alliance of Independent Authors

  2. Hybrid Publishers: What are they and should you TRUST them? by Reedsy

  3. IBPA’s Hybrid Publisher Criteria

  4. The Indie Author’s Guide to Hybrid Publishing by Nicole Audrey Spector

  5. List of Hybrid Publishers by TCK Publishing


  1. HB90 Bootcamp by Sarra Cannon

  2. The Key Book Publishing Paths: 2019-2020 by Jane Friedman

  3. Indie vs Traditional Publishing: Which Path Is Right for You? by Colleen Hoover

  4. Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing Course by Reedsy (Instructor: Martin Cavannagh)

  5. How to Get a Book Published: All the Major Options Reviewed, with Pros and Cons for Each by Jerricho Writers

  6. Indie Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing – What to Choose? by Killer Book Covers

  7. Publishing Options: Traditional, Hybrid, and Self-Publishing by Ingram Spark

  8. Pros and Cons of Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing by Joanna Penn

Do your best to dial into what’s really important to you as a writer (especially what motivates you), the stage you’re at in your life (especially where resources like time and money are concerned), and your strengths and weaknesses. Evaluate your publishing options while keeping those important variables in mind and you’ll be a long way toward choosing the right path for you.

Until next time, happy writing, people!

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