3 Paths to Getting Published

by CJ McDaniel // May 26  

What to Know When Your Book Is Getting Published

Regardless of what path you take on the journey to getting published, you need to act like you know what you’re talking about (because you really do).

Knowing the lingo and using the jargon of the publishing field will ensure you’re on the same page as those you’re working with or marketing your book to.

You need to speak their language no matter what path you’re on.

Deciding how to publish your book is almost as important as actually writing your book. Here’s what you should know about the 3 paths to getting published.

Path #1: Traditional Publishing

Getting published isn’t always easy. The process will require you to gain a thick skin and a determined mind. You must be ready to learn your new favorite word: No.

You’ll probably hear it a lot in the beginning, but it only takes one publisher to love your book to make your dreams into a reality.

When working with traditional publishing, you will most likely start by pitching your book’s synopsis along with one to three chapters to one of the “Big 5” publishing houses.

The “Big 5” Include:

  1. Hachette Book Group
  2. Harpercollins
  3. Macmillan Publishers
  4. Penguin Random House
  5. Simon and Schuster

Each of them has a strong basis in New York City and endless connections within the field and market of publishing. Their subsidiary divisions are also all fair game to pitch to.

Like I said before, publishers will take you more seriously if you familiarize yourself with their terms in a publishing glossary. This will help with your overall success in getting published right out of the gate.

Once you are on equal playing (and speaking) fields, you have a chance to be successful. If a traditional publisher accepts your book, there are a few ways you can start raking in the dough.

Though the process can take anywhere from 18-24 months, after acceptance you may be offered an advance (or other forms of payment contract).

The main payments from traditional publishers include:

  • Advance: Money paid to you before the book is finished so you can continue writing your book and complete the process with ease.
  • Royalties: Generally 6-15% of your book’s revenue which goes to you.
  • Advance Against Your Royalties: Money given to you before the book is finished. Royalties in the future will need to “pay back” the advance before you see more money roll in.

Traditional publishers will have the final say in the experience and will control nearly all of what happens in the process.

Letting the traditional publisher do the difficult work of making your book a bestseller could pay off in the long run. What writer would mind that?

Path #2: Independent Publishing

Independent publishers will work similarly to traditional publishers. However, they will often have better terms and payouts for you.

Working with an independent publisher will allow you to have a bit more say in the final outcome of your product. Independent publishers also generally pay higher average royalty percentages than traditional publishers.

One of the main differences between the two is: status and connections, which go hand in hand. A “Big 5” publishing company will have more connections and sway within the market as they work with many physical booksellers.

Independent publishers will have a different market, may provide you with different terms, and may work better with indie bookstores whose popularity has grown over 27% in recent years.

If you’re not interested in having a publisher call the shots, you may want to try getting published on your own.

Path #3: Getting Published: As a DIY Experience

You wrote the book, you know it better than anyone else. Why not be the one to market it toward getting published?

While the initial process of complete “do it yourself” publishing has its difficulties because it’s all on you, there are still many benefits.

Self-publishing comes in two flavors:

  1. Going solo.
  2. With a little help from your friends.

Having help in your publishing process is a “supported” tactic. You can set your own budget and hire relatively low-cost freelancers to edit, illustrate, or market your book.

Whatever you need, there’s a service or tool to help you.

If you choose to head the journey on your own, don’t fret.

With the help of social media and millions of potential readers being only a click away, getting published and recognized on your own is easier than ever.

There are difficulties within self-publishing because it’s all on you to appropriately and successfully market your book to readers.

However, investing in supported publishing can provide you with the gentle push you need.

Publishing in the Digital Age

Digital publishing in the current age of constant mobile connectivity has seen growth over the past few years with eBooks making up 17.3% of the book market.

Getting published digitally on Amazon for Kindle is a common path for many writers in the early stages of publishing their work.

By simply following their guidelines, one can use tools that create awesome book cover images to publish their work as an eBook.

Other options also include printing low volumes of books on demand which you market and sell after the fact.

Do it yourself and or with supported self-publishing, either can make sure your book is a success.

Which Path is Right For You?

Whether your journey toward getting published relies on working with a publisher, finding some help, or doing it yourself, start with some free tools you can use to get the ball rolling in your favor.

The world of publishing is not a walk in the park. But it also doesn’t have to be something completely out of reach.

Don’t think because you aren’t a big name author that you can’t work hard to show off your chops. Stay confident, be persistent, and make sure you know exactly what your path to getting published will be.

While there are always multiple roads that lead to a given destination, some routes are significantly better than others.

Best Way to Publish Your Book

This is by far the most popular way to produce print copies of your book fiction publishing creds are a great build bio and propel a career by Steven E Schmitt.Watch this video for more.


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About the Author

CJ grew up admiring books. His family owned a small bookstore throughout his early childhood, and he would spend weekends flipping through book after book, always sure to read the ones that looked the most interesting. Not much has changed since then, except now some of those interesting books he picks off the shelf were designed by his company!