Major Book Publishing Companies - Pro and Cons

Mainstream publishers are recognised as being the prestigious avenue for publishing. The difficulty of getting your foot in the front door of a publishing house has instigated a mentality that believes, ‘only good books are published by major publishers'; and ‘self-publishers can't make it in the industry'.

The truth is, publishing is a cut-throat industry, and publishers are now not only looking for well-written manuscripts, but also marketable authors and future titles. The difficulty in getting noticed by big publishers is becoming a problem and aspiring authors are looking at different options.

So what are the advantages of going through a major publisher?

No capital outlay

You're not going to have to invest $10,000-40,000 (depending on the print run) to produce your book. The expense of your books production is covered by the publisher.

Tons of experience

Good publishers understand the publishing industry like the back of their hand. This is what they do for a living, so they are usually good at it. They know the best way to produce books and they know the best way to sell them.

Guaranteed distribution

Publishers have significant relationships with bookstores nationwide and sometimes globally. They know how to appeal to bookstores (their main distribution channel) and how to get your book onto shelves.

And the disadvantages?

Lower income

As mainstream publishers take a risk to invest in your book, they typically take a large portion of the profits. Unless you write another Da Vinci Code or Harry Potter, you will normally receive ten per cent.

No control

When you publish wit h a major publisher, you normally have little or no creative control. Publishers will often decide on the title; the cover; what chapters stay and what chapters are deleted. They essentially decide on just about everything because they're using their money and need to see a return on investment to stay in business.


Normally if you go through a publisher, you're looking at about 12-18 months before you see your book in bookshops. However, if your book is time-sensitive or is a hot topic, like an autobiography on a politician who had just passed away, publishers have the resources to have that book out in 60 days.

While an author may receive countless rejections from major publishers, it is important to be persistent. If you are really passionate about your book then keep trying. You may, however, need to ask yourself whether a major publisher is the best fit for your book.


Dale Beaumont is the author of this article. He is an internationally renowned book publishing expert, the author of 16 best-selling books and the creator of the Get Published Secrets Program.  

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