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If you have a book that you want to publish, you will soon find out that the available options are overwhelming. However, the first thing you need to put into consideration is whether you will self-publish the book or not. Self-publishing is the process of publishing your book or other media without the participation of an established publishing house or company. This means that you are in control of the whole process including marketing, PR, distribution, price, formats and design (interior/cover). You can do it all yourself or subcontract all of the process to a company that offers these services.
The key distinguishing aspect of self-publishing is that the author/writer decided to publish their book independent of a publishing company. In the past, authors who self-published their work need to order hundreds of books and then store them somewhere in their garage, but the start of Print-on-Demand Publishing (POD) allows the author to order one copy at a time. This makes self-publishing affordable and hassle-free. In 2008, for the first time in the history of publishing, self published books outnumbered those that are published traditionally. In 2009, 76 percent of all books produced were self-published, while publishing companies or houses lessened the number of books they published.
In today's publishing situation, all authors, whether published independently or traditionally, should undertake the promotion and marketing of their book. This includes having a website, blogging, social networking, etc. It may also include book awards programs, book signings, blog tours or virtual book tours. There are many companies nowadays offering a variety of advertising services for every budget with different programs for various genres, etc.
Although bookstores are still the primary venue of traditional publishers, online stores such as Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com provide services and useful online tools to those self-published authors who want to sell their work. This makes the books easy to upload, have them printed on request, and distributed worldwide.
Given the on-going decline of bricks-and-mortar or physical bookstores with the closure of some renowned chains such as Hughes & Hughes, Angus & Robertson, Borders and others, it is foreseen that within three years, 75 percent of books will be traded online (25 percent as printed books and 50 percent as eBooks). Only 25 percent of books will be sold in bricks-and-mortar bookstores (down from 75 percent today).