How to Get Published: Traditional, Self, and Everything in Between

Instructor:  Jane Friedman
Date: Sunday, July 28
Time: 12:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Location: Marian University, Marian Hall/Room #251  (campus map 
Cost: $100 nonmembers, $64 members, $56 student members/teacher members/senior members/military members/librarian members 

Over the last decade, the publishing industry has undergone tremendous evolution due to the growth of online retail and digital books, as well as the power of any author to publish and distribute their work at the click of a button. But which path is right for you and your book—and how do you sift through the increasing number of hybrid publishers and services that make a lot of promises, but cost you a lot upfront?

Jane discusses everything you need to know about how book publishing operates today, in plain English, to help you understand the pros and cons of every major publishing path available. She'll cover New York traditional publishing and what projects are well-suited to being represented by literary agents; the capabilities of mid-size publishers and independent publishers; how to evaluate small presses, micro-presses, and digital-only presses; what "hybrid" publishing is (or thinks it is) and how to evaluate such companies; and all forms of self-publishing and e-publishing practiced today.

This session will help you:

  • Determine if your project is commercial enough to be appealing to a New York publisher—and what rights you'll have to give up
  • Understand the traditional publishing process, how it's different from self-publishing, and how long you can expect any process to take
  • Evaluate small publishers and the quality of work they produce. The world of independent publishers—including university presses, small presses, and regional presses—is vast and can sometimes be more challenging to understand than New York publishing, as they all operate a bit differently. You'll learn how to assess the strength and position of any book publisher.
  • Know what type of contract, advance and royalty you can expect with all types of publishers and services
  • Identify the qualities of a "hybrid" publisher and determine if a hybrid is offering you something meaningful that you can't accomplish on your own
  • Have clear expectations when it comes to the marketing and promotion of your work for every type of publishing path
  • Learn how print and digital books get bought and sold in today's retail ecosystem across all forms of publishing
  • Assess if you are well-suited to self-publishing your work, either as a complete independent (by setting up your own publishing company) or with the help of a service

You’ll learn not just the foundational principles of book publishing today, but you’ll also gain expert insight into the changing industry landscape, and how you can navigate your own path toward success. By the end of the session, you'll be able to identify which publishing option is the best to achieve your goals.


Jane Friedman has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media and business strategy for writers. The former publisher of Writer’s Digest and a columnist with Publishers Weekly, Jane maintains an award-winning blog for writers at Jane's latest book is The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press).

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