Infographic: 5 Key Book Publishing Paths

imageI am openly a partisan of indie and self-publishing, but I will also agree that it is not for everyone. That is why I am pleased today to share the work of Jane Freidman. She’s put together a poster sized infographic that details 5 different paths an author might take to publish their book.

The spectra of options extends from signing with a traditional publisher to dealing directly with KDP, Nook Press, and other ebookstore interfaces. Here’s more from her post, with the infographic afterwards:

  1. Traditional publishing: where you query and submit to agents and editors in an effort to land a contract that pays an advance and royalties (and typically involves nationwide bookstore distribution).
  2. Partnership publishing: one might consider this the evolution of traditional publishing, where authors are positioned more as partners, receive higher royalties, but usually no advance.
  3. Fully-assisted publishing: the old “vanity” self-publishing model, where you write a check and get your book published without lifting a finger. I don’t recommend this, but it’s still a significant part of the self-publishing market, now dominated by Author Solutions.
  4. Do-it-yourself (DIY) publishing with a distributor: while this applies to either print or e-books, today this usually involves e-publishing your work (to reduce financial risk and investment involved with print), and using a service provider or distributor to reach all possible online retailers—and/or to provide some level of assistance.
  5. Do-it-yourself (DIY) direct publishing: when an author doesn’t put any middlemen between him and the retailer selling his books. Often, this option is combined with #4 above; for example, someone might sell direct through Amazon KDP, and complement it with distribution to all other retailers through Smashwords. This is possible because most distributors and online retailers of e-books work on a nonexclusive basis.

Click to enlarge the image. It’s also available as a PDF.


Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. The Rodent22 May, 2013

    The KDP logo on #5? You’re kidding, right? That belongs on #4. DIY means DIY, not bolting yourself to the borg.

    1. Nate Hoffelder22 May, 2013

      I think that was a general refernece to working directly with the major ebookstores. Perhaps it might have been better if several icons were used instead of one.

  2. […] Infographic: 5 Key Book Publishing Paths ( […]

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