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  • Writer's pictureSusan Lute

Published Author: A Look Back at Publishing—From a Writer's Point of View

Updated: Feb 24, 2023

Everyone's experience of publishing a book is different, whether it's with a traditional publisher, self-publishing (these days also referred to as Indie publishing), or hybrid publishing (a combination of the two). If you've been following along, you've heard some of this before, but this look back at publishing is my story in a nutshell.

I started writing when I was in high school. I was the quiet nerd in the corner, who had a friend or two, but otherwise wasn't in the popular group. No surprise there (it didn't matter to me, actually, because I met the love of my life and we're still together fifty years later). Moving on, the point is, while I kept on writing (on first a typewriter and then one of the early word processors), I didn't start writing for publication until 1997.

Back then, the name of the game was traditional publishing, and in 2003 my first book (handwritten while taking the bus from my little town to the day job in Portland and then transcribed onto a computer Mr. L built for me) was published by Silhouette Books. Oops, We're Married?

Self-publishing was not a thing. And in fact, publishers who turned your manuscript into a book for X amount of dollars came with a warning label. A writer still has to consider how legit a company is that is offering to turn their story into the next best seller by doing this one (or five) simple things. In any case, cautious by nature, I did my research, learned all the things, and in 2011, published my first self-published books. Jane's Long March Home and The London Affair. I wasn't alone. Many authors picked up the banner and ran with it. Self-publishing and ebooks were building steam, and the publishing world changed forever.

I guess, depending on who you talk to, in today's Indie world, authors could be called content creators. They write their stories, publish the books and do all the tasks associated with publishing a book, or they outsource some of the steps, like editing, cover design, writing blurbs and marketing material, formatting (making the book look pretty), and then finally uploading the finished product to all the digital retailers. And let's not forget building a website, social media platforms, and actual marketing (which was formerly done by traditional publishers). Today, more authors outsource these tasks than actually take them on themselves. If you don't have time to write the story... You can see the problem. Finding balance is a required skill :)

Because self-publishing, now Indie, survived its infancy, we also now have what I think of in my mind as boutique houses, a combination of traditional and indie publishing. Usually, there is no advance, but they pay for professional editing, cover art, formatting, e-conversion, marketing support, social media, and give the author a high royalty rate. The Tule Publishing Group, a full-service publisher (not a self-publisher or cooperative publisher) is just one example and the one I'm most familiar with. They just published the fourth book in my Angel Point series, The Valentine Project.

So there we have it. A brief look back at publishing covering the years of my writer's journey. If you have a moment, follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and BookBub. Add my books to your Want To Read shelf on Goodreads. And of course, sign up for my newsletter and follow my blog at

See you next time. Happy reading!


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