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  • Writer's pictureH.A. Worthington

4 Ways to Publish Your Book

Updated: Oct 20, 2020

Traditional publishing is no longer the only way to get your book out to the masses. In addition to self-publishing, made popular by KDP publishing and other resources, there also is vanity and hybrid publishing to consider.

Here are some quick pros and cons of each publishing option to help you figure out which route will be the best for you to get your book out to audiences.

Traditional Publishing

The publishing company invests its money and resources (ex: marketing and printing cost) into the promise that books will sell. The publishers purchase the rights to the manuscript, pay royalties to authors, and at times may offer cash advances prior to publishing.


  1. Most prestigious form of publishing

  2. Support of a team of agents and editors to format and publish your book for you

  3. Wide distribution to online and brick and remort retailers

  4. Qualify for more literary awards

  5. Assistance with marketing your book

  6. No out of pocket costs to publish


  1. A slow lengthy process of rejection letters and publishing schedules that can take years

  2. Need a literary agent

  3. Low royalties

  4. Lose rights to work

  5. Despite signing a contract there is no guarantee the book will be published.  And since the publisher owns the rights to your work, you can’t sell it to another publisher or self-publish if they don’t return the rights.


The publication of media by its author without the involvement of an established publisher.


  1. Author maintains all rights and creative control

  2. Can be published immediately

  3. Higher royalties

  4. Author sets the price and gets paid as the book is sold


  1. Time and effort to format work to publishing platform's requirements

  2. Out of pocket cost for an ISBN, copy editor, cover design, and marketing

  3. Will need to self-promote and market book to make sales

  4. Limited distribution availability

  5. May not be eligible for certain awards

Vanity/Subsidy Publishing

Author pays to have their book published. Vanity/Subsidy publishers primarily make their money from the author paying for publishing services, not from book sales.

*These publishers have been flagged by Writers Beware, Preditors and Editors, and ALLI for their fraudulent/scammy business practices.


  1. No rejections

  2. May receive editorial services such as book formatting, an ISBN and barcode

  3. May include marketing resources such as book cover design and press packages

  4. Can assist with distributing your book to retailers by including it in a catalog where book retailers will have the option of buying your book


  1. Publisher may be shut down due to class-action lawsuit for fraud

  2. The author assumes all financial risk

  3. Out of pocket costs for the author may be up to thousands of dollars

  4. Loss of rights

  5. Less prestigious than traditional publishing

  6. Some retailers will not sell a book that has been vanity published

  7. May not qualify for certain awards

Hybrid Publishing

The middle ground between the traditional publishing model of no upfront costs and paid in advance and the vanity publishing model of paying for everything upfront and receiving higher royalties.


  1. Author works as a collaborative partner with the publisher

  2. Higher royalties, sometimes up to 50%

  3. Publisher manages distribution

  4. Publisher provides ISBN

  5. Editorial services provided such as cover design and formatting must meet industry standards


  1. Book must be submitted and accepted

  2. Author pays for everything upfront

  3. May not be eligible for certain awards

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