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Choosing Your Best Publishing Option

An article from a conference speaker

Publishing options have never been more diverse and inviting. Traditional publishing maintains its status for quality. Thanks to recent IBPA standards, hybrid publishers have new quality control. Advances in print-on-demand book production and ever-expanding marketing forums mean that even entrepreneurial publishing offers respectable and varied publishing possibilities.

So many options have created a new, compelling concern for writers: How do you determine the best publishing option for your (or your client’s) book? To make an informed decision, you may need to understand the many elements of book creation:

  • Write
  • Edit
  • Copyright
  • Typeset
  • Design
  • Promote
  • Market
  • Print
  • Distribute
  • Sell

Practical knowledge of each of these book production stages can affect a decision about how to publish a work—but personal factors weigh in as powerfully. Authors who know their own strengths and work preferences can determine early in the publishing process how realistic some options are. Authors who enjoy autonomy might be well-served to pursue entrepreneurial publishing, even in the earliest stages of learning what to do to get a book published. Authors who are more passionate about reserving their creative energy for writing and speaking might enjoy the security of having the support of a publisher that handles most of the business of promotion and sales.

Even authors who have been in the business for years appreciate that the publishing industry continues to change dramatically and quickly. We are all riding a steep learning curve that shows no sign of leveling off. The good news is that the world of books continuously finds often unexpected, thriving life in new technology and approaches to an industry where writers are finally doing the work of, and reaping the benefits once reserved only for, major publishing houses.

Because it is based in truth, an oft-repeated but always humorous inside joke of the industry is that every self-published author’s second book is about what not to do when self-publishing. While there is no obvious template for what works for every author, a basic awareness of self can help you, the author, determine what’s best for your book and for yourself.

More than even the topic of your book, you must know yourself. Learning anything new can be fun for a brief span, but continuing to direct energy into pursuits you don’t enjoy quickly becomes draining. If the energy you expend on something you don’t like further depletes your creative energy to continue writing, then you may put long-term setbacks against the dream that brought you into the industry to start: the joy of writing.

However, you may discover that your creativity thrives from variety. Occasionally shifting focus from the solitary task of book writing to diverse tasks of publishing, marketing, and selling might lead you into fertile ground for new ideas and greater stamina when returning to write your next book.

Authors are observers. We find riveting material in the sweeping changes of new adventures. Publishing through any of the three current avenues can provide that thrill, even as we learn what we love and don’t enjoy about publishing and marketing our work. As importantly, we write some of our best passages from tiny observations in the most ordinary of routines. We don’t have to ride the rapids of publishing non-stop to appreciate the full scope of what living the writer’s life can mean to us. Many of us lived the writing life for years as we toiled, year after year, to find our voice and create works worthy of publication.

As you near the completion of your manuscript, it’s time to expand your vision to image not just that you will be published, but how you will be published. Any channel—traditional, hybrid, or entrepreneurial—holds the potential to be a goldmine of experience and book sales for authors who know both themselves and the publishing industry.

Learn more about your publishing options—as a writer, or as an editor, proofreader, or other service provider working with authors—from Roger Leslie’s presentation at “Gateway to Success,” the 2019 “Be a Better Freelancer” conference.

Webinar: Surviving as a Freelance Journalist

We wanted to get to know Kristen Fischer (NAIWE's Journalism Expert) better, so last month we sat down with her. Here are some thoughts she shared with us.

What is one thing that you learned about your craft the hard way, and what benefits have you received from it? Can these benefits be broadened to include marketing?

As a digital journalist, making connections was the hardest part. Finding editors to assign regular work can be so difficult because they move around so much. You have to keep putting yourself out there and continuously making new business relationships. The benefit is that you can write for a great publication, work with an editor who keeps you in mind throughout their career, secure references, and find a regular feed of work or a home for regular pitches. Those benefits can help you market yourself as a journalist and build your platform.


You can join in this conversation and learn about freelance journalism on August 22, at 3 pm ET, when NAIWE will host a webinar on targeting publications. The cost for NAIWE members is $10 and $30 for non-members.

To register for this webinar, please send an email along with your name and telephone number. An invoice will be sent to you for the amount owed.

September Webinar: Pushing Past Publish

In September, we will be chatting with Tina Glasneck, NAIWE's Book Promotions Expert, on the very important topic of how to gain success as a published author.

Are you struggling with what you can do to make your books a success? Are you overwhelmed with what you need to do to get eyes on your latest book-baby? Join USA Today bestselling author Tina Glasneck as she gives practical advice on what you can apply to your writing career to find readers and gain success. This webinar will dig into the basics and provide practical tips that you can implement right away to start you on your successful author journey.


Tina Glasneck is a USA Today bestselling author of fantasy and crime fiction. Since 2012, she has created author events, has held online book fairs, and continues to assist authors on their journey. She frequently teaches on the topics of book promotion, author newsletters, as well as the business of publishing. Tina has published more than 20 books in the fantasy, crime fiction, and mystery genres. She persists in her vision and author goals to create a world of wonder through her fantastical tales.

The cost for NAIWE members is $10 and $30 for non-members. To register for this webinar, which will be held on September 23 at 8 pm ET, please send an email with your name and telephone number. An invoice will be sent to you for the amount owed.

July's New & Renewing NAIWE Members

Michael Aasted (San Marcos, CA); Penni Askew (Fort Worth, TX); Nicole Beckley (Kansas City, MO); Mariah Garrell (Fort Leonard Wood, MO); Judy Hagey (Urbandale, IA); Penelope Perkins (Sacramento, CA); Virginia Peschke (O'Fallon, MO); Janet Schaaf (Lee's Summit, MO); Shawnese Sullivan (Massillon, OH); Stephanie Sykes (Los Gatos, CA); Lynn Whitmore (Brookhaven, GA).

Be sure to post on your NAIWE website, and we will link to it when you renew!

From CMOS Shop Talk

Q. Regarding spelling out round numbers over one hundred—how should we handle numbers like 1,500? It’s more round than a number like 1,543, but it’s also less round than a number like one thousand. And if it should be spelled out, which is preferred, “one thousand five hundred” or “fifteen hundred”? Thanks!

A. According to CMOS 9.4,“The whole numbers one through one hundred followed by hundred, thousand, or hundred thousand are usually spelled out.” The spelled-out form “fifteen hundred” qualifies. But the hybrid form “one thousand five hundred” does not. Paragraph 9.4 is intended to encourage spelling out round numbers like three hundred thousand, not awkward forms like “three hundred thousand six hundred”—or, for that matter, something like “thirty-three hundred thousand,” which would be better expressed as “3.3 million” (see CMOS 9.8). So write “fifteen hundred” or “1,500,” depending on context. (For example, if numerals are otherwise rare in your text, opt for the former.)


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SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING: The posts you share on your member blog are eligible to be promoted on NAIWE’s Twitter account: NAIWENews. The Member Activity Feed is scanned each week on Member Monday, and many post titles and links are posted on social media to increase your readership. Member posts that are tagged with the #NAIWE hashtag can also be reposted on NAIWE’s social media pages for you. Visit the NAIWE website to see all of the member benefits.


"Jumping at several small opportunities may get us there more quickly than waiting for one big one to come along."

—Hugh Allen

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If you appreciate the credibility that comes from membership in a professional association, you are an ideal member, and we invite you to join NAIWE!

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