Jane Friedman has a great personal site at JaneFriedman.com, but she also publishes articles frequently at WritersWrite. One of the more popular ones is her annual “what paths are there to publishing”. The chart and text goes through six different publishing models:
- Traditional publishing
- Big five
- Mid-size and large
- Small presses
- Alternatives to traditional publishing
- Hybrid publishing
- Assisted self-publishing
Her intro to the chart spells out the approach more clearly:
Since 2013, I have been annually updating this informational chart about the key publishing paths. […] One of the biggest questions I hear from authors today: Should I traditionally publish or self-publish? This is an increasingly complicated question to answer because:
- There are now many varieties of traditional publishing and self-publishing—with evolving models and varying contracts.
- You won’t find a universal, agreed-upon definition of what it means to “traditionally publish” or “self-publish.”
- It’s not an either/or proposition. You can do both.
There is no one path or service that’s right for everyone; you must understand and study the changing landscape and make a choice based on long-term career goals, as well as the unique qualities of your work. Your choice should also be guided by your own personality (are you an entrepreneurial sort?) and experience as an author (do you have the slightest idea what you’re doing?).
My chart divides the field into traditional publishing and self-publishing.
It’s a great chart, in my view, although I would tend to think of it as four (I’d combine the big 5 with the mid & large, keep small presses apart, keep hybrid as “indie”, ditch the assisted (too many vanity press scammers in there) and rename DIY as self). But that’s just me quibbling. It’s a great chart for people to understand the models available to them, the risks involved, and where they want to invest their time and energy.