The 4 Publishing Models You Need to Know

“I know there’s a book in me, one day I’m going to write it”…

…says everyone I’ve ever talked to. The process from making the decision, to brain dumping, to writing, to the finished product can be lengthy, and if you’ve done any googling on publishing, you’ve been inundated with so. much. information. 

It’s overwhelming; we know. But your resident Rebel Queen has got you covered with some deets. There are several overarching categories of publishing, and which one works best for you—only you can know. When coaching authors in this decision-making process, we want to know what’s important to them. Almost all of them have questions pertaining to royalties, rights, marketing, distribution, an advance, and control. Not necessarily in this order.


This is what everyone aspires to: a traditional contract. They want to be represented by one of the Big Five. Big advances, book store displays, marketing, and PR. We get it. If someone was offering any of us a big fat advance, we’d probably take it, just to say that we got a traditional deal. 

These people who are getting this book deal? Have done the work. They have an audience who loves them, and they are chomping at the bit to buy the author’s book when it comes out. These people have a large following, and thereby it is advantageous to a traditional publisher to take a risk on them. Traditional publishers are shelling out money in anticipation that book sales will cover all their costs, and turn a profit.

But here’s the real 411.

Advance: It’s not free money. You’ll pay it back with book sales before you ever see a royalty check. 

Royalties: 7.5% on the net profits. Here’s a scenario with rough numbers: Retail price is $20. Bookstore gets a 50% discount, so now we’re looking at $10. Assuming there are no other fees involved (and there will totally be other fees involved), your royalty on one book sale is 75¢.

Rights: You wrote it, it will be copyrighted in your name, but read the contract. They will hold the intellectual rights to your material. Want to make chapter 3 it’s own book? Gotta ask. If sales are good, they will probably publish chapter 3 as its own book. Sales are not so great? You’ll be asked if you want to buy the rights back.

Control: If you want to publish with a traditional company, you’re going to have to concede that they are developing your book the best way they know how to ensure that it sells. This might mean changing your storyline, your cover, and your title. At the end of the day, you have sold them the rights to your book, they are in control, and they have final say. Or you pay back the advance and walk away. 

Distribution: You will have global distribution and your book on a bookstore display. Your book will have three months to fly off the shelf, otherwise they are packing it back up and sending it back to your publisher. Fun fact, your book is competing with every other bestseller ever published and they are ALL vying for space on that bookstore shelf. The competition is real.

Marketing: Yes you’ll get marketing and PR. You’ll likely do a podcast or a blog tour; they are spending money on advertising, and you probably will get a media kit for promo.


This type of publishing is a manufacturing line that focuses on quantity over quality. As long as you’re paying, they’re producing.

Vanity publishing companies are not well respected in the industry, due to the less-than-quality work that they are putting out. They offer package deals that usually includes a small number of books. It sounds really fabulous, you can swing the investment, they are ready to get started immediately, and when your book comes out, you are stoked. Your book, in print, in YOUR hand! Your friends probably are going to give you accolades for finally doing it, but they are not going to give you the warm and fuzzies of your actual book (hear: not a quality book in editing, formatting, or cover – there are, however, exceptions to every rule).

First, this company will nickel-and-dime you every step of the way, and when you stop giving in to their, “If you want this done, it will cost you an additional xxx”, they stop caring that your book is done well. There is no relationship at this company, only numbers. You get what you pay for.

Advance: Nope. No advance here. 

Royalties: 10% of sales

Rights: You wrote it, it will be copyrighted in your name, but read the contract. They will hold the intellectual rights to your material. A good rule of thumb to determine this is if they are publishing your book on their distribution platform. If the answer is yes, then they are holding your rights.

Control: You will have more control over the direction of your book, to include the additional services they will offer you in the process. If you pay, you can have it. Money talks.

Distribution: You will most likely have global distribution. 

Marketing: No. Unless you purchase their package. It could include a press release, a media kit, maybe some bookmarks. 


For these purposes, I’m going to talk DIY. True do-it-yourself, figure-it-out publishing.

Why do some authors self-publish? Because they can. Because technology has made everyone a publisher. Because they’re trying to save money by doing it themselves. 

But not everyone should. Too many self-published authors think their writing is good enough to hit “publish” without an editor. Amazon lets you create your own covers, which may or may not be decent. 

Listen, if your vision is to say that you’re a published author and you don’t really care about structure, or the look, or selling books? Then this is a fine option. If any of these things really matter to you, put some money into your book project. You get what you pay for.

Advance: Nope. No advance here either. 

Royalties: 100% of sales, directly in your bank account.

Rights: You wrote it, you copyright it—you own all of it. 

Control: All you. You decide what your book looks like.

Distribution: Global.

Marketing: That’s all you too. You determine your book launch strategy and best practices.


What the hell is Rebel Publishing? It’s like traditional publishing and self-publishing had a smarter, cuter, more efficient baby. Grab a spiked seltzer and kick back while we share. 

Here’s the deal. Most people aren’t getting a traditional book deal. #facts And frankly, if you can, you still will want to strongly consider publishing Rebel-style for the ROI alone. Here’s what we know to be true.

  • We work with the best people in this industry, which means you get a fantastic, well-structured, beautiful product that rivals any book published by a traditional company.
  • We don’t care who you publish with, authors are always always always the biggest marketer and seller of their book. Especially with traditional publishing. They are banking that you have already built an audience that they can sell to. So, you can sell it to them, or they can sell it to them. Tip: if you sell it, you will make more money per unit.
  • You still need to communicate with your people that you have a book. If you are a genius marketer, kudos to you. If you are not confident in your marketing and sales abilities, We’ve got you. We develop a book launch plan that makes sense for you. There are foundational pieces you need to have in place—everything else is contingent upon your audience, your goals, and your personality.
  • Your client data is GOLD. Gold. If you sell your book, you get client data. If anyone else sells your book, you don’t. 

Advance: No. We don’t work like that. We’re fee-for-service. You know up-front exactly what the investment is, and we do not nickel and dime you in the process.

Royalties: 100% of sales directly to your account, without the middleman. That same $20 book that we discussed in the traditional publishing? You sell for ten, you keep the $10. $10 > 75¢ every time.

Rights: You wrote it, you own it. We have zero desire to keep the intellectual rights to something that we did not live through and for. We’re very passionate about books. You don’t just sit down and choose to write (well, you do have to decide to do it). Your book is a culmination of all your years of learning, practicing, failing and doing it again. And now you can write the book about it.

Control: All you with a side of us. We will guide and suggest, but will allow you to determine the final decision. But we will give you food for thought. We will tell you if something looks terrible. We will suggest alternatives.

Distribution: Worldwide, wherever books are sold on YOUR platforms. How? We set you up as your own publishing company. Done well, and we do, you now have access to all the perks of larger publishers.

Marketing: We work together on this. Launching your book is half the battle; the real work starts when it arrives on your front doorstep.


The days where your book is developed and distributed on someone else’s platform is coming to an end. Even traditional publishing companies are seeing a profit decline. We are savvy. We know that marketing needs tracked and the best way to do that is to have access. 

Here’s our differentiators. We are fully invested in your book. We do our best work when we connect with our authors and can get behind their material. Every book we put our hands on, vicariously becomes ours too. We take personal pride in what we do so we align with those we can lock arms with.

Want to Rebel with us? Let’s get on a call. 

Are you ready to get shit done and want on my waitlist for the next writers retreat?

Is your book done and you’re looking for help getting it published?

Ready to move forward with your book but unsure of what’s next?