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Panic time. Who’s going to publish your book?

The word on the street is that in these pandemic times, literary agents have more time to consider new projects, so now is a great time to submit your nonfiction book proposal. (I’m not sure ultra-busy agents will thank me for repeating that rumor.) The other word on the street is that publishers are being ultra-cautious about what books they commission, and the amount they will pay authors as an advance. (That rumor has been circulating since leg warmers were in fashion.)

One thing I do believe is that it’s a great time to take a good, hard look at your publishing options, and choose the one that fits you best. But it’s a mistake to think you have just two options: traditional publishing or self-publishing.

I’m guilty of this mistake myself. Asking my author clients, “Do you want a traditional publishing deal, or are you planning to self-publish?”

Making the choice seem binary, when it’s anything but.

Jane Friedman is publisher and editor of The Hot Sheet, a publishing industry newsletter for authors, and former publisher of Writer's Digest. She has an uncanny knack for cutting through the noise around the business of writing, and making the big issues easy to understand.

For each of the past six years, Jane has released a nifty infographic laying out the key paths to getting your book published. Her desire is for people to use it and share it, so here is the 2021-2022 version:

On her website Jane expands on the considerations for each path. It’s totally worth checking out.

You know you’ve got this covered when you can explain clearly which publishing path is right for you, how you will go about achieving it, and why it’s the best choice for you and your book.

Many authors hanker after a book deal with one of the Big Five publishing houses (HarperCollins, Penguin Random House etc.). But it’s not the only solution, or even the best one for every author.

If you’re puzzling over your publishing options right now, send me a note through my website or email me at sally [at] I can work with you to make sure your chosen path to publication is rock solid.

Photo by Anna Tarazevich from Pexels

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