Jana S. Brown has been involved in publishing as an Author, Editor, Presenter, slush reader, executive secretary, and grundle of other positions (Yes, grundle is the technical term) for nearly 30 years. She is an acceptance editor with Book Cave and a freelance editor and author coach specializing in self-publishing. She writes the weird and the wonderful with smoochies.

Paths to Publishing - 2023 Edition by Jana S. Brown

You finished writing a manuscript! Congratulations!

Now what are you going to do?

Contact an agent?

Send it to a publisher?


Find a company to help?

What does all of this mean?

How do you choose what comes next?

Author and editor Jana S. Brown invites you to take a seat at her virtual table to discuss these questions and a lot more. In this book she'll talk about: Traditional Publishing, Self-Publishing, Hybrid Publishing, and all the fuzzy stuff in between.

Content has been updated to 2023 standards!



  • "Want a crash course in publishing? This book is for you then. It is bursting with insights about a wide range of the ways to publish your writing. It is well written and even entertaining. Plus, it is a great value for the money. This author has been around the block more than once and knows what she's talking about. Hence, I've recommended it to a lot of young authors with questions about what route to take when publishing their novels. Will definitely recommend in the future."

    – Amazon Reviewer
  • "This is a quick read, but don't let that fool you. It's a treasure trove of common-sense information that everyone should know when choosing what path to pursue with publishing their manuscript. There are a lot of options to choose from and a lot of tasks to perform, and each is described in a clear and unbiased way. "

    – Amazon Reviewer
  • "Great resource for anyone wondering what their options are, regardless on whether they've been down one of the avenues before reading or not."

    – Amazon Reviewer



Traditional Publishing

It might be an amusing exercise to dig into the long history of publishing and printing houses, but it wouldn't be particularly useful for our discussion, so I'll refrain. You can go down that rabbit hole on your own thanks to the internet, but it's enough to say traditional publishing is called traditional, sometimes "legacy," because it's been around for a long time.

But what does that mean for an author? When we talk about traditional publishing, what do we really mean?

Traditional publishing is a process of publishing based on publishing/printing houses who acquire a specific license to produce and sell an author's manuscript (intellectual property) in a specific format, to a certain geographic location, for a specific amount of time. These licenses can be as broad as all rights across the universe forever, or as specific as only e-book, to Timbuktu, for 30 days (That last is an exaggeration, the first…not so much. There are presses that will seek license to a maximum number of rights forever, and they should be avoided like the plague). The publishing house shoulders most, if not all, of the upfront costs of the production of the physical or digital product, and a certain level of contracted marketing expense in exchange for retaining a percentage (often a very large percentage) of the royalties created from the sales of the completed product(s).

Traditional publishing houses are usually grouped by size (meaning how many books they produce in a year and how wide their distribution arm is) and referred to as large, medium, small, or boutique presses or houses. Some people also group magazines and newspapers into traditional publishing, though instead of being called publishing houses those are referred to as media outlets. They generally contract for very short pieces or articles for a shorter period of time than is typical at a book publishing house.