Chris A. Baird | May 15, 2023
3 different types of publishing with Pros and Cons [2023]

Wondering what are the other types of publishing aside from self-publishing? Here are 3 different types of publishing with pros and cons for 2023.

So, you've finished writing your very first book, but now where should you publish it? There are lots of options with self-publishing, and you're going to want to stick around because I'm going to tell you the pros and cons associated with them.

So, in today's video, we're going to look at the three different types of publishing with pros and cons in 2023. So, let's get right into it. What are the different types of publishing, not self-publishing, but publishing? And the three big ones?

The first one, of course, is self-publishing. That's where the author takes responsibility for the publishing of their work. You're going to be taking your book and going through all the processes yourself. You're not necessarily doing everything, but you're gonna have to if you want other people to do those things.

Well, then you're going to have to find those people, figure out how much you can pay them, all of these sorts of things. The second thing is hybrid publishing, and that would be where you're going to pay somebody upfront to do your book.

However, they're going to figure out who all the people are going to be doing it. You're going to lose a little bit of flexibility there, and they may even want to do royalty sharing depending on your book. So, it can get a little bit sticky, but we're going to get into that in depth.

The third option is traditional publishing, and that's the one that most people think about. When you think about publishing a book, it's where they're going to give you a bonus upfront, and then they're going to help market your book. They're going to run it through a whole series of editing, finding the right cover, and all sorts of stuff to get your book onto the market.

And possibly in major bookstores, depending on the offer or the deal that you have. Now, you'll be making a little bit lower royalties, but at the same time, it's a little bit more respectable from a lot of people's standpoint when it comes to publishing your book.

Check out this related article: Why Hybrid Publishing Is Wrong For You


But let's do a deep dive into each of these. So, the first one is self-publishing. Now, of course, that's the one I recommend for everyone, whether in my one-on-one program or my group coaching, and we're going through exactly these very steps. 

Advantages of Self-Publishing

So, what are the advantages of self-publishing? Well, the first is that you have complete creative control, meaning you're not dependent upon anyone telling you, "Oh, you need to do this," or "You need to do that." You can do whatever you want as long as it's within the realms of what is allowed on Amazon and these other platforms.

You're free to make the book look and feel exactly as you like. Now, that can be a good thing and that can also be a bad thing, but I like it. It gives you complete flexibility, and some of the major publishing houses will make choices that are not necessarily the best for your book to get sales.

The second thing is that you're going to have the highest royalties possible. That means when you put your book out under your account on Amazon KDP, for example, you're going to be making a 70% royalty on the e-books that you're selling, which is phenomenal, or 40% to 60% on your paperbacks depending on your pricing.

But the royalties are a lot higher, which means more money in your pocket for the work you just did. In the first part, with that creative control that you have over your book, the next thing is that you're going to have a faster publication.

You could literally write the book and within 24 hours, you could have it posted, and maybe within 48, have it go live on Amazon. It can go that fast. I have tested to see how quickly you can go through the different phases of your book project, and self-publishing is by far the quickest way that you can go. 

Disadvantages of Self-Publishing

So, what are the disadvantages of self-publishing? There are a couple of things. One is the higher upfront cost. Nobody's giving you an advance, and you're going to have to pay this money out to the people who are going to be doing the covers, editing, formatting, and all of these things that you may wish to do.

Now, something like formatting, you don't have to do it this way, but you can learn the steps yourself as I have below in the description. You can see my formatting course where we go through those exact steps, so you don't have to pay somebody over and over again.

But there's still an upfront cost because you're going to need to learn how to use my favorite tool, which is Jutoh, for doing the formatting. So, as you're working through it, the second thing is that you're going to have limited distribution and marketing if you're going with self-publishing. 

In other words, it's all dependent upon how much you're willing to do. So, there's a lot of learning that's going to go on, as opposed to the other options where it's going to be a little bit more automatic. They're just going to be running it through their system, and you don't have to think about it.

You can focus on just the writing portion. And the last one here for the negatives is that there's a stigma and credibility issue. Some people think, "Self-publishing? Wow, anybody can self-publish a book." The reality is, anybody cannot self-publish a book.

The vast majority of people would like to publish a book, but they never get one on the market because the steps just get too confusing. And that's one of the things I like to do with my clients. We go step by step. If you go step by step and you do not give up, we will get that book on the market, and we're going to be able to get that thing as optimized as possible.

That doesn't mean you're going to sell a million copies of your book, but it does mean that it'll be the best version of the book that you're capable of doing. And when you come out with your second book, it will be even better, and we'll show you exactly how to do that.

But that's one of the things: you may lose credibility, but you can make a lot more money. And that's why self-publishing is by far the correct route to go for almost any author. It's dependent unless you already are a famous person, then perhaps traditional is a better way. But even self-publishing is a great way to start.

Hybrid Publishing

Then you can transition later to doing one of the other options if that's better. Now, the hybrid publishing option can be tricky. Sometimes people even look at it as a vanity publisher, and even that could be sort of a negative, derogatory way of talking about it.

Advantages of Hybrid Publishing

So, what are the advantages of hybrid publishing? The first one is access to professional services. Now, unlike self-publishing, you don't have to figure all this out. They've got a machine. They know exactly what has to be done with your book.

They're just going to take it right through the whole meat grinder, pump out the book, get it in the right format, and there it is. It's ready to go. They may even post the thing directly onto the website under their accounts. You don't even have to set up an account, which we're going to get to.

The second point of advantage is that they have shared financial risk. So, depending on the model you're going with, they may choose royalty sharing with you. So, then you're not having to put up all this money in advance. If they're doing that, they own part of that book, right? It'll be under their account.

They may get 50% of the royalties if they believe that's going to be profitable for them. And so, in this sense, you're not having to put up as much money, but you know it's a hybrid because you have to pay at all. The third advantage is improved distribution and credibility. Some of these companies sound very professional. They look a lot more professional.

They have their little imprint, which looks professional. They put out hundreds or thousands and thousands of books through their specific imprint. Okay, and their distribution is fantastic as well. They have a large distribution. They understand how exactly to play the game.

You, by the way, of course, can find those distribution channels and marketing channels and all of that yourself, but it's just a lot more work, as opposed to you, can pay them to do this for you.

Disadvantages of Hybrid Publishing

Moving into the next section, which is the disadvantages of hybrid publishing. So, the first thing is the higher costs. You don't get all of this for free. They're going to need their compensation, and these books can cost a thousand to ten thousand dollars to get onto the market if you're going this particular route.

You're going to have to pay so that they can then hire these professionals to put the whole book together. The downside is it's going to cost you a lot more money than it would if you were taking the self-publishing route, which is what I recommend.

The second point is that you have limited control. They know exactly how this book needs to look and feel to get through their system, and they're just going to do that. If you want to have more control, they're going to demand that you pay them 100 or another thousand dollars. Does that make sense?

So, as you're moving through the phases, if you want any changes, you're going to end up paying another hundred dollars per change. So, it can get quite expensive if you choose to go that route.

The third disadvantage is that you have an unclear royalty structure. Sometimes it's not quite clear who owns what and who gets which royalties. Is it under their accounts? You don't even get to see whether sales are being made. And then they can charge you for the management of your book to inform you whether you made sales.

And if you did, based on the sales, they will take their portion and then just inform you. So, what if they don't tell you what you sold? Well, the answer is they can keep it because it's under their account. And you can say, "But I own the rights to the book." Yes, but the royalties that you're getting off the book can be split with them.

And so, this becomes a lot trickier. And if you want to free your book at some time, for some people, they find that to be difficult. To try to buy the rights to their book back, even though they already own the rights, but to take them down on the one platform.

Because keep in mind, they're interested in just the next person to put a book out. And for this type of publisher, for hybrid publishing, I would highly recommend you find at least one author that you know or you can find them on the net who can vouch for the fact that they've done more than one book.

This is just a little bit of a warning. Make sure they've done two books, not one, or two. Because I've met a lot of people in the middle of the process with a hybrid publisher who is very happy. Everything's going so smoothly because they're still paying money and they're getting that.

Check out this related article: Breaking Down KDP Publishing "Algorithm"

But when they get to the end of the process and they want to change things, that's when all these additional costs start coming in. And then their book's not selling anything, and they want to sell them a thousand or two thousand dollar marketing package, which maybe sells but usually doesn't make the money back.

And then what are you going to do? You're left with not a great feeling in your stomach. And then you're going to do your next book with them? And the answer is usually no. That's why I'm telling you not to even think about going with any one of these until you have met somebody who's done two books through them and was happy with both books.

Once you've found those people, you know you've found a great hybrid publisher. If you can't find those people, that is a red flag. Because where are all the enthusiastic people about this hybrid publisher? That's just a general rule of thumb that I give all of my clients.

And I have many clients who have gone through hybrid publishers and then realized, "Oh look, my book got selected." And then they find out later that everybody is selected. So, it can be a little bit of a downer when you make this huge discovery. 

Traditional Publishing

Now, traditional publishing, that’s the second big one we're looking at. 

The “Big-5” Publishers

In traditional publishing, you have the five big publishing houses. Okay, this is going to be Penguin Random House. You're going to have your Hatchet Book Group, Harp and Collins (HarperCollins), Macmillan Publishers, and Simon and Schuster.

Now, these are the really big powerhouses, names that everybody recognizes in the business. These are the huge ones, and if you get your books published in one of these, I can say a lot of positive things for you.

Other Major Book Publishers

But let's get on to it. What are the other major book publishers? These can include lesser-known names like Scholastic Corporation, Bloomsbury Publishing, Pearson Education, Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Penguin Books, W.W. Norton and Company, Elsevier, Springer Science Business Media, and Taylor and Francis Group. So those are just a couple of the other ones. 

Mid-Level Book Publishers

And finally, to wrap it up, we have mid-level book publishers like Sourcebooks, which is an independent publisher based in Illinois specializing in publishing fiction, non-fiction, and children's books. For example, you have these mid-level book publishers or Entangled Publishing, which focuses on romance and young adults.

Or Gaylord Press, a library press based in Minnesota that publishes poetry, fiction, and non-fiction books and has received numerous literary awards and recognition. So it's not just like there are only the big five. Sometimes you can get a little bit confused and think there are only these major publishing houses.

No, there are other ones. But the way you know you're working with an additional publisher is that you don't do any of the work, and you're not paying any money upfront. If you're paying money upfront, it's a hybrid publisher, so it's just that easy. Or you're doing self-publishing where you're taking all the costs yourself right upfront in exchange for the higher royalties. 

Advantages of Traditional Publishing

Now, let's look at the advantages of traditional publishing. The first advantage is credibility and prestige. Traditional publishing is still viewed as absolutely the most prestigious. We were talking about that before, and the fact is that when you go through one of these houses, people are like, "Wow, you're going to publish through this house!"

However, the reality is that even your self-published books will receive a decent level of respect. People would say, "Oh, I can't believe you published a book." For most people, they still have never done it, so it's a really big deal, and there are a lot of steps involved.

Check out this related article: Success Stories: The Power of Self-Publishing

That's one of the reasons why it's very impressive, especially if you get chosen by one of the big houses. But I wouldn't suggest waiting forever because you can spend years and years just waiting and end up throwing your manuscript away.

Meanwhile, if you had self-published, you could have made thousands and thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars off of your books. That's why I highly recommend going that route. It's not that difficult, and you can just grab my checklist below in the description.

If you want to learn more about the easy steps to getting your book self-published and selling, the second advantage is wider distribution. Traditional publishers have established a huge network, allowing your book to be spread out, including getting into major bookstores and such, which can make you quite happy when you see your book there.

However, that doesn't guarantee sales. This is where the challenge comes in for many authors. There's an assumption that if one of the major publishing houses publishes your book, it will automatically sell. In reality, it's a bit of a guess from their standpoint. Random House, for example, doesn't know which books will sell and which won't.

If a book doesn't sell immediately, they simply bury it and move on to the next one. So, as an indie author or traditionally published author, you may be left wondering what good it did if your book isn't selling. The third advantage is marketing and publicity support. Traditional publishers are experts in this area, and if you're a major publisher author, they will allocate a lot of resources to promote your book.

However, if you're not a major author, they will provide limited support. It's still up to you. Some authors have the misconception that if they go the traditional publishing route, the publisher will market their books for them, but that's not entirely true. You're mistaken if you believe that you won't have to do any marketing yourself.

If you don't market your books, they won't make sales. The publisher may view it as a bad choice to have chosen your book in the first place, and it may be the last book you do with them. You might question whether you want to go through it again because you won't get your money's worth. You won't build the same audience, and you won't acquire the necessary skills that you would learn through self-publishing.

Disadvantages of Traditional Publishing

So, let's discuss the disadvantages of traditional publishing. The first disadvantage is a lack of creative control. You lose all control as they can virtually do anything they want with your book. They won't publish it if you don't agree to their terms and conditions.

Unless you're a famous author, you'll have to accept the title they want or the cover they choose. If their editors suggest changes, you must make those changes, or they won't publish your book. Essentially, you have no control beyond the moment you finish writing the manuscript and send it to them. They will then do whatever they want with your book. If that's not a problem for you, then it may be fine.

The second disadvantage is the long publishing process. It can take 12 to 18 months or even longer to get your book on the market compared to self-publishing, where it usually takes less than a week, often just a couple of days.

Once you get the flow down, it may only take a few days for self-publishing, whereas for traditional publishing, it could take 12 to 18 months or even longer. Sometimes, they may even sit on the project and decide not to release it, which is another significant disadvantage if you choose to go this way.

Keep in mind that you've already had to wait to even get selected by a traditional publishing house in the first place. So, where does that leave you? Well, it leaves you quite disappointed. That's why many people I know who were traditionally published were not happy with the results.

They might do it once just to be able to say they were traditionally published, not just an indie author. However, they often end up losing money on this transaction. Usually, they aren't looking to repeat the process unless their book is already making significant sales. Traditional publishers are not interested in publishing more books that won't generate profit for them

And finally, one of the disadvantages is lower royalties. Some traditional publishers offer royalties as low as 12%, which is significantly lower compared to the 70% you can earn through self-publishing. Again, this is another reason why self-publishing is the way to go. I would not recommend pursuing traditional publishing until you have become a successful self-publisher, have built an audience, and can prove that your books will sell.

This way, you'll have more leverage to negotiate better rates and terms with a traditional publishing house, rather than feeling completely subject to their decisions and just being grateful that they chose you. And then, you are taking crumbs, breadcrumbs from them. Even if your book does start to sell, the average book that they sell doesn't sell that many copies. So, it's a tough one. 


So, in conclusion, you have self-publishing, hybrid publishing, and traditional publishing. Of these, I recommend you go for self-publishing.

It's by far the best option for almost all authors because you're going to want to learn this stuff unless you're sitting on millions and millions of dollars and don't care about sales. Then, perhaps hybrid or traditional publishing may be a better choice for you.

But otherwise, you're going to want to go with self-publishing. And how exactly are you going to do that? You're going to look below in the description and grab a copy of my self-publishing checklist to help you self-publish your book and get it selling. Also, check out my other blogs for more answers to your self-publishing questions.

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