What’s your plan B for publishing?

Hey Authors … What’s Your Plan B?

Not a week passes without a call from an author-to-be. The words that spill out, “I want to be published by a New York publisher,” fill my ears.

The goal is clear … is it practical? Achievable? Maybe. Maybe not.

Today, there are close to 5,000 books published every day … EVERY DAY … from all publishing sources. Only a small percentage—a tiny percentage, as in less than two percent—lure in a New York publisher. In 1981, I was part of that percentage.

I’ve personally evolved from an ‘80s belief that only authors published via a traditional publisher were legitimate to challenging the “Why pursue this route? There are other paths to become a successful author” route. When the Millennium reared its head and Amazon birthed CreateSpace, later to be renamed KDP or Kindle Direct Publishing in 2007, a new publishing world was created beyond the typical vanity press.

And what a world it has become. Authors have choices. Lots.

IngramSpark surfaced in 2013 and today, there are companies like Lulu, BookBaby, Blurb, Matador, Acutrack, and Draft2Digital to open more options.

And it’s a good thing … and sometimes not so good. Because of more publishing doors to go through, a lot of garbage is produced. Books that are incomplete, loaded with errors, and downright awful. Breeding. And some do come from the traditional publishing market.

Today’s truthiness: You no longer need a heavyweight publisher to publish and share your books with the world. To create your books. What you need is a team behind you and your book so you don’t drown in the tsunami of books—books like yours and gazillions of others.

It’s time to start your publishing path clock. Which do you choose?

Sure, if traditional publishing is your #1, go for it. But you start the Plan be engine as well … Plan B is #2 … and it runs parallel with your first option—at the same time. When you kickstart Plan A … set your clock. How much time will you allocate for an agent and publisher pick up your book? Six months? A year? Two years?

Plan A: Write your book. Get it edited by a professional editor. Write a book proposal to submit to agents for consideration of repping you. Start learning about the publishing world and what you will need to be doing to market your book. Tick, Tick, Tick …

Plan B: Write your book. Get it edited by a professional editor. Write a book proposal that will serve as a roadmap to your publishing journey and the “why” you are on it; why “you” should be the author; and “what/who are the competing authors in your genre. Start learning about the publishing world and what you will need to be doing to market your book. Tick, Tick, Tick … The Tock goes into play when time runs out—you will publish it as an independent author/publisher.

The resilient approach is to bring discipline and effort to the work but to know, deep down, that you better have a Plan B. Plan A could turn into a rabbit hole you never emerge from.

That’s not a lack of faith. That’s simply being a smart author. My two bits.




Dr. Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. Often, she must roll up her writing sleeves and become a Book Doctor, juicing up storylines and author words. She empowers authors and works directly with authors who want to be seriously successful and has been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the ’80s. Judith is the author of 43 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book PlatformsSnappy Sassy Salty: Success for Authors and Writers, and How to Create a Million Dollar Speech. Her personal memoir When God Says NO-Revealing the YES When Adversity and Loss Are Present is a #1 bestseller on Amazon and her historical fiction debut Secret Journey. Collectively, her books have earned over 45 book awards. Judith speaks throughout the year at publishing conferences. 

Throughout the year, she holds Judith Briles Book Unplugged in-person and online experiences: Publishing, Speaking, Marketing, and Social Media. All are two-day intensives limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. Join Judith live for the “AuthorU-Your Guide to Book Publishing” podcast on the Toginet Radio Network HERE

Follow @AuthorUYOUBooks and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorYOU, and join the Facebook group Book Publishing with The Book Shepherd. If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact her.

©2022 Judith Briles – The Book Shepherd™ All Rights Reserved.