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Paths to Publication: Alternatives to Traditional Publishing

This webinar will discuss the various online platforms available to authors to publish in ebook, print, and audiobook formats; working with freelance editors, book designers, and other service providers; as well as methods of distributing and promoting your own work. We will also cover working with hybrid publishers, including how to identify reputable hybrid publishers.

resource video

In today’s marketplace, many authors with important voices and stories are reaching their readers by self-publishing (also called indie publishing) models where authors manage every aspect of publishing their books—whether by hiring experts for the myriad tasks involved or doing it all themselves. We’ll discuss the various online platforms available to authors to publish in ebook, print, and audiobook formats; working with freelance editors, book designers, and other service providers; as well as methods of distributing and promoting your own work. We will also cover working with hybrid publishers (which take on the production and distribution of a book like a traditional publisher but ask the author to share in production costs in exchange for a greater share of any profit), and how to identify reputable hybrid publishers and avoid those trying to take advantage of authors.


Tara Cremin is Director of Kobo Writing Life (KWL), Kobo’s independent publishing platform. As a subject matter expert in all aspects of indie publishing, her aim is to make KWL the greatest and most user-friendly self-publishing platform available and is always looking for ways for indies to reach a new audience of readers. Tara hosts KWL’s monthly live events with author and industry experts and you can sometimes hear her as a guest host on the Kobo Writing Life Podcast.

Darien Hsu Gee is the author of five novels published by Penguin Random House that have been translated into eleven languages. In 2021, her collection of micro essays, Allegiance, received a Bronze IPPY award. She also received a 2019 Poetry Society of America’s Chapbook Fellowship award for Other Small Histories and the 2015 Hawai‘i Book Publishers’ Ka Palapala Poʻokela Award of Excellence for Writing the Hawai‘i Memoir. She is the recipient of a Sustainable Arts Foundation grant and a Vermont Studio Center fellowship. Darien lives with her family on the Big Island of Hawai‘i and serves as co-founder and series editor for Haliʻa Aloha, a micro memoir writing and hybrid publishing program.

Mark Leslie Lefebvre is the author of more than twenty books under his full name and the shorter pseudonym of Mark Leslie. With more than three decades of experience in writing and bookselling, Mark’s industry roles include President of the Canadian Booksellers Association and Director of Self-Publishing and Author Relations for Rakuten Kobo, Director of Business Development for Draft2Digital, and Professional Advisor for Sheridan College’s Creativing Writing and Publishing Honours Program. An advocate for innovation, Mark is a seasoned and trusted book industry professional who embraces and celebrations both traditional and digital publishing opportunities.

L. Penelope has been writing since she could hold a pen and loves getting lost in the worlds in her head. She is an award-winning fantasy and paranormal romance author. Her novel Song of Blood & Stone was chosen as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time. Equally left and right-brained, she studied filmmaking and computer science in college and sometimes dreams in HTML. She hosts the My Imaginary Friends podcast and lives in Maryland with her husband and furry dependents. Visit her at:

Brooke Warner is the publisher of She Writes Press and SparkPress, a TEDx speaker, a writing coach, and the author of Write On, Sisters! and Green-Light Your Book.

Jane Friedman (moderator) has nearly 25 years of experience in the publishing industry. She writes and publishes The Hot Sheet, an industry newsletter for authors, which was named 2020 Media Outlet of the Year by Digital Book World.

Special Thanks to Our Supporters and Partner Organizations

With support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Penguin Random House, and our donors, the Authors Guild Foundation is pleased to make Business Bootcamps for Writers free and open to the public.

Several writers organizations have partnered with the Authors Guild Foundation to help shape these programs. Our deepest appreciation to these organizations.

Additional Resources from the Panelists

Tara Cremin:

Jane Friedman:
Information at my site:

My favorite resources:

Darien Hsu Gee:
Helpful and Possibly Unexpected Resources for Writers:

  • Podcasts: The Tim Ferriss Show — lots of authors are interviewed here, but there are life and productivity hacks which can inspire you to figure out the way you want to approach publication and a writing life
  • Favorite book: Atomic Habits by James Clear — he also has a newsletter worth signing up for. Another great newsletter is Austin Kleon’s — both of these will amplify your creativity, offer productivity and clarity, and remind you of you’re doing this writing thing in the first place.
  • Favorite writer website: Jane Friedman — you can crawl all over the web but really, everything you need is here and at the Authors Guild (because, yes, it’s possible to go down TOO many rabbit holes…)
  • Black Lawrence Press offers manuscript consultations with their stable of authors. This is a great way to get some feedback on some pages without committing to a full manuscript read—the genres rotate every month. I’m sure there are other similar outfits that do a terrific job but I recommend BLP to my writers who are dipping their toe with feedback on the work. If you’re ready to deep dive with full consults, do a search on Submittable (joining is free)
  • I offer literary career consults to help writers decide the shape of their literary and creative careers. I work with both new writers trying to decide which publishing path to take as well as experienced/well-published writers looking to pivot.

Mark Leslie Lefebvre:

  • This link includes a link to my March 2021 book WIDE FOR THE WIN (inclusive of indie and traditional publishing options) along with numerous links/resources for authors to help them understand more about the options available for publishing.
  • Additional video chats with folks from the industry in the Draft2Digital Self-Publishing Insiders LIVE broadcasts (which I’m one of the co-hosts on) are all archived here.

Leslye Penelope
Podcasts for learning about self-publishing:


Brooke Warner: