• Your Publishing Options: Pros and Cons of Traditional, Self, and Hybrid Publication

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in Strategies     Comments 5 comments

    By Maryn Masumiya


    You’ve spent countless hours perfecting your manuscript or book proposal; now it’s time to find the most powerful way to get your book to market.

    We will walk you through three of the most prominent publishing options and help you find the best fit for your individual project, goals, and budget.


    Traditional Publishing

    The first publishing option is to sell your manuscript to a traditional publishing house in exchange for an advance and royalties. The incentive of an advance is attractive to many authors, but keep in mind that you will be giving up the rights to your work and will have limited to no control over the design, direction, and distribution of your book.

    First time authors usually receive advances of $2,000 to $20,000 that they must earn back through book sales before they begin receiving royalties (typically 5-15%). Most traditional publishers do not accept author submissions without an agent, so in most cases 10-15% of any royalties earned will go to the author’s agent.

    Overall, traditional publishing can offer strong distribution and quality with little upfront cost, but the process of finding an agent and securing publication can be a long process and you will end up surrendering ownership of your work.



    The second option is to publish the book yourself, which allows complete ownership and control over content, design, and time-to-market. You will also keep the total return on the full cover price of all books sold. Still, many authors lack the editorial, design, and distribution expertise needed to market and sell a book successfully. These services can be outsourced, but the author must still coordinate the entire project from start to finish, which can be a daunting task.

    Strong sales as a self-publisher can lead to a deal with a publishing house, but too often it is difficult to overcome the lack of credibility associated with self-publishing. Before pursuing this option, you must be prepared to invest the time and resources into producing your book and run the risk of not being able to market and distribute your book successfully without the support of a publisher.


    Hybrid Publishing

    The last of these publishing options is known as hybrid publishing, which combines the benefits of self-publishing with the distribution power and quality of a traditional publisher. Authors invest in the production of their book in exchange for creative control, retaining the rights to their work, and higher royalties (20-35% of the cover price for books distributed through a retailer and 100% of the cover price for books sold directly by the author).

    Most hybrid publishers accept submissions directly from the author and allow them to maintain ownership over the creative process including packaging, branding, and all publication rights. They also provide full editorial, design, marketing, and distribution services. The time-to-market is relatively short (usually less than a year) and hybrid publishers will keep a book in the market beyond the standard 3-6 months allowed by traditional publishers.

    Because of their adherence to quality and powerful distribution, hybrid publishers require a greater investment than self-publishers, but provide competitive quality, credibility, and access to national and specialty retailers, which is a tremendous benefit for those authors looking to build a national brand.

    Regardless of which you choose, take time to explore your options and analyze the benefits and challenges of each in helping you to achieve your goals.


    MarynMaryn Masumiya is Business Development Executive at Greenleaf Book Group, a hybrid publisher dedicated to helping authors develop their ideas, influence, and income. Contact mmasumiya@greenleafbookgroup.com to learn more about how they can help.

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    Glynis Jolly

    It looks like the way to go for new authors is the Hybrid Publisher. Could you tell be what the ballpark figure is for the investment? Also, is the investment less depending on how much editing needs to be done?

    Maryn Masumiya

    Hi Glynis,

    Great question! You are exactly right that the investment would be significantly lower if there is less editorial work to be done. Because the range of services is so vast with a hybrid publisher such as Greenleaf (we offer everything from brand development to ghostwriting to book marketing and distribution), we create custom proposals for each project based on the author’s goals and budget.

    I would be happy to chat further about your project. Feel free to contact me at mmasumiya@greenleafbookgroup.com.

    Glynis Jolly

    Thank you so much. I’m really not far enough in my WIP yet to be thinking about the actual publishing. However, I’ve copied your reply (with your email address) to my OneNote. I’m so glad that I read your post here at Justine’s blog. The excitement of this help is pushing me forward with my novel. Just in case you want my email address, here it is: glynis.jolly@outlook.com.

    Maryn Masumiya

    Absolutely Glynis! Congratulations on your novel. Greenleaf accepts submissions at all stages of development and we would be happy to review it when you are ready. More info on our submissions process can be found here: http://www.greenleafbookgroup.com/content/submit-your-manuscript

    Happy writing and best of luck,

    […] ago, Greenleaf Book Group’s business development executive Maryn Masumiya blogged for us about the pros and cons of the three most popular publication routes: traditional publication, self-public…. Today, I’d like to elaborate upon Maryn’s valuable insights by sharing the advice that I […]

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