Five Approaches to Publishing a Book

Five Ways to Publish a Book

Today there are five ways to publish a book:

  • Way #1 -Traditional Publishing (The Big 5 Trade Publishers)

Trade Publisher #1. Hachette Book Group

Hachette Book Group (HBG) is a division of the second-largest trade and educational book publisher in the world, Hachette Livre. Hachette Livre is based in France and is a subsidiary of the French media company, Lagardère.

Trade Publisher #2. HarperCollins

HarperCollins Publishers is a subsidiary of News Corp, the global media company led by Rupert Murdoch.

Trade Publisher #3. Macmillan Publishers

Macmillan is a global trade publishing company, which is owned by the German Company Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, with imprints in the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, and around the world.

Trade Publisher #4. Penguin Random House

Originally international publishing giants in their own rights, on July 1, 2013, Penguin, a Pearson company and Random House, owned by the German company Bertelsmann, combined their adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction print and digital trade book publishing divisions.

Trade Publisher #5. Simon and Schuster

Simon & Schuster was founded in 1924 by Richard L. (Dick) Simon and M. Lincoln (Max) Schuster with a bestselling crossword puzzle book. At various times in its history, it has been owned by Marshall Field, Gulf + Western, and Viacom. Simon and Schuster is currently the publishing arm of the media company CBS Corporation, where its diverse offerings include books in the adult publishing, children’s publishing, audiobooks and digital book arenas.
  • Way #2 – Independent Publishing

Using Wikipedia as a guide: “The terms “small press”, “indie publisher”, and “independent press” are often used interchangeably, with “independent press” defined as publishers that are not part of large conglomerates or multinational corporations.

Defined this way, these presses make up approximately half of the market share of the book publishing industry.

Many small presses rely on specialization in genre fiction, poetry, or limited-edition books or magazines, but there are also thousands that focus on niche non-fiction markets.”

  • Way #3 – Custom Publishing

Custom publishing has been the traditional US-based term for what is now known as content marketing.

The definition, as stated by the Custom Content Council (the US Association for custom publishers), custom publishing: “… marries the marketing ambitions of a company with the information needs of its target audience.

  • Way #4 – Vanity Publishing

Again, using Wikipedia as a guide: A vanity press, vanity publisher, or subsidy publisher is a term describing a publishing house in which authors pay to have their books published.

Additionally, vanity publishers have no selection criteria as opposed to other “hybrid” publishing models.

  • Way #5 – Self-publishing

The focus of this article.


Self-publishing is DIY, that is, do-it-yourself publishing.

Losing Stigma

Once upon a time self-publishing was viewed with stigma. If you told someone you were self-published their eyes would roll and they would move away from you at a party. It is not held in as much reproach as it once was.

Part of the reason for the lessened contempt is more self-published authors are paying the price and doing a good job. This includes writing a good story. Having the book professionally edited is another element more are including. Cover design once completed poorly in Microsoft Paint is being handled professionally. They realize they have to learn to build an email list and market the book. And on and on I could go.

I will be writing a few articles on Wednesday’s from the lessons I have learned and am still learning on my own journey as a self-published author. Self-publishing isn’t for most people. Few authors that I know are willing to do both the writing and all the technical stuff related to formatting, cover design, book layout, marketing campaigns, etc. For those that want to learn more about the process, I’ll be posting regularly.

The photos are of the covers of two of my eight books. Rebuilder is religious science fiction. Thy Will be Done: 60 Prayer for the Chronically Ill is religious nonfiction. They are available in print and ebook from Amazon, and in ebook from iBooks, Barnes & Nobles, Kobo, and all major retailers worldwide. My books are also available in ebook format through most libraries in North America, Canada, and Europe.

Author: Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a full-time writer. He was born in San Antonio, Texas, to a career military father and stay at home mother. He lived in six states and attended eight different schools before graduating high school. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in History with minors in English and Military Science from The University of Texas at Arlington, Master of Arts and Master of Religious Education degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, as well as the Doctor of Education degree. Before writing full-time, he worked as a US Army officer for 10-years, religious educator for 18-years, and an IT software application engineer for over 20-years. He lives in North Texas.

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