What are the Different Way to Publish a Book?

As a writer you have a need, a calling, to write and read. What are the best ways for you to publish your work and stretch yourself? Let’s explore three different ways to publish a book using three publishing formats and some valuable tools to help you get your words to readers.

The three ways to publish your work that are readily available for most authors are:

  • Traditional publishing
  • ‘Vanity’ presses
  • Self-publishing

Traditional Publishing

Traditional publishing is how many people think of publishing. You write a book, submit your book, the book is accepted and you are a famous author making the rounds on morning talk shows! This is great, but traditional publishers usually publish only a couple new authors annually. Authors don’t pay (money) up front if their books are accepted, but it’s a long process from acceptance to publication, often over two years. Your work is heavily scrutinized by ‘Pub Boards’ (groups of editors), which is great! But read their contract. In fact, have a literary attorney read it. Authors can be stuck with ‘buy-back’ clauses and travel expenses. You may end up with little money for a lot of effort. One advantage of traditional publishing is the publisher’s connections.

Vanity Presses

‘Vanity’ presses are what ‘catch’ many authors. They operate under the guise of a large publishing house, offering to review and ‘accept’ your work. In reality they are ‘pay to play’ operations. You are accepted, (as is every author who submits work to them), then you pay to have them publish your book, at an astronomical cost (I’ve heard as high as $31,000+). Analyzing the different ways of publishing a book, vanity presses are what a lot of people start out with, but soon realize they might have been better off doing it themselves. This leads us into our final way of getting your work published.


Many authors choose to self-publish. The best-known self-publisher is Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), a publishing division of Amazon. At KDP, an author sets up an account, uploads their book and publishes it on Amazon. It sounds simple, though it takes time to learn this system. In the KDP system you can publish using different formats including:

  • print (paperback and hardcopy)
  • e-books
  • audiobooks
  • Kindle Vella (a chapter drop by drop system similar to blogging)

Publishing sites like Ingram-Spark, specialize in e-book publishing. Self-publishing puts all the work on the author, start to finish. As an author and former publisher, I believe this is the best, most cost-effective way to get your work out there. 

Some Helpful Tools

I encourage you to examine the above methods for your book publication, but also to stretch yourself and expand your writing portfolio. Whether you write novels or ‘short work’, determining where to submit and publish your work takes research. Here are some tools all writers should have in their toolbox. The ‘Bible’ in the writing/publishing world is: The Writer’s Market. This annually published book lists anything you might need to know including: who is publishing, submission and formatting requirements, other publishing specifics, articles, websites and information for any serious writer. There are genre-specific Writer’s Markets, but the main book is comprehensive. Other resources to explore are Publishers Lunch and Writer’s Digest.

These tools, with research, can really help you get your words out and determine the best option for you when it comes to the different ways to publish a book.

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