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 Structures of The Publishing Industry

woman in striped long sleeve shirt holding a book

Information on the publishing industry is vital even if you decide to go the self-publishing route just because you will need to understand the structures of publishing houses and overwriting industries because they will have similar structures.

By understanding the publishers and the services that they offer, you can use those services when it comes to the promotion of your products, in this case, a book, PDF or other publishing. 

If you have already developed a solid social media presence and expanded your market reach the publishing houses could be a way to go. 

Traditional publishing is still an advisable solution to getting published and creating a living because publishing houses will organise events and promote the new book. 

The average book sells between £7.99 p or £9.99 p though this can vary with inflation and costs. As an author, you tend to walk away with £2 from a Book of £9.99 p and for a book selling for £7.99 p it would be £1.60.


A royalty payment is a payment made by one party to another that owns a particular asset for the right to ongoing use of that asset. 

Royalties are typically agreed upon as a percentage of gross or net revenues derived from the use of an asset or a fixed price per unit sold of an item of such. 

Still, there are also other modes and metrics of compensation. A royalty interest is the right to collect a stream of future royalty payments.

A license agreement defines the terms under which a resource or property is licensed by one party to another, either without restriction or subject to a limitation on the period, business or geographic territory, type of product, etc.

License agreements can be regulated, mainly where a government is the resource owner, or they can be private contracts that follow a general structure. 

However, certain types of franchise agreements have comparable provisions.

Under standard royalties, an author gets roughly 20 to 30% of the publisher’s revenue for a hardcover, 15% for a trade paperback, and 25% for an eBook. 

So, very roughly, every hardcover release brings the author something like 25% of all revenue earned by the publisher.

Self-publishing how much can you make

With Amazon, you can get published within five minutes. 

Your book will appear on the Kindle store within 24 to 48 hours. Also, you can earn royalties to 70% on sales of the book sold in locations where Amazon has distribution centres, for instance, the US, Canada, UK, Germany, India, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, Australia and more.

However, getting a book published and your readership is not that simple. 

You will need to do your marketing so that everyone back reviews; you will need 30 positive reviews to counteract any negative feedback from customers or competitors. 

It is human nature to focus on the negatives and positives, which is why humans focus on the bad parts of life, not the positives. 

The same applies to marketing your products/books.

There are also the costs of getting a book edited, proofread and any other work that must go into the book, but before any of this can begin, you must first finish writing the book or outsource the writing to a freelance ghostwriter.

Costs of Publishing a Book

Costs are usually tied with your word count and are calculated hourly or daily, or per 1,000 words. Prices range from £13-£35 per 1,000 words or a daily rate of £250-£400. Fees vary depending on how well your manuscript reads – the more shoddy the work, the more time and expense to fix it.

As with any self-publishing service, how much an editor cost depends on many factors. That said, for copyediting/proofreading, you’re generally looking at $1,000-$3,000 per book. 

You’ll be looking at $5,000-$10,000 per book for developmental editing- the higher-level stuff.

Do not let the costs of getting a book published and the time spent marketing prevent aspiring authors, writers or anyone reading this from wanting to sell and market through the use of books. 

These services of editing, proofreading and cover design can be accomplished through personal education rather than seeking a paid professional. 

With that stated, only do your work if you have the necessary training or experience. Launching a lousy product will affect your credibility as a writer or a marketing professional.

How much do bestselling authors make?

Let’s look at authors with a long track record of writing best-sellers. Many of them are also adapted into films or tv series (contributing to their earnings).

•                     J K Rowling: $54 million (2018) – JK Rowling needs no introduction; she wrote the best-selling children’s series of all time.

•                     Stephen King: $27 million (2018) – Stephen King is the ‘King of Horror’ due to his many popular scary novels.

•                     John Grisham: $21 million (2018) – John Grisham is a famous legal drama writer, best known for books like The Firm.

•                     Jeff Kinney: $18.5 million (2018) – Jeff Kinney wrote The Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

•                     Dan Brown: $18.5 million (2018) – Dan Brown wrote The Da Vinci Code.

•                     Michael Wolff: $13 million (2018) – Michael Wolff is the only nonfiction writer in the 2018 Forbes list with $13 million in earnings.

•                     Danielle Steel: $12 million (2018) – Danielle Steel is a romance novelist and bestselling author.

•                     Nora Roberts: $12 million (2018) – Nora Roberts is a romance novelist who wrote The Awakening series.

•                     Rick Riordan: $10.5 million (2018) – Rick Riordan wrote the Percy Jackson series.

Publishing hierarchy


Caters to the business side of things and executives often feard by editorial staffers


the top dog, editorially speaking. Sets overall content strategy, written eloquent editors letters, makes appearances sometimes writing features at small publications there more hand-on with articles.

Executive editor

one rung below the editor-in-chief often tends to more day-to-day matters

Managing editor

add some publications there editorially hand on and may edit, write and looked at queries at others they focus more on managing staff and overseeing production schedules

Senior editor

a high-level employee who often edits and writes is more likely to handle more robust content such as feature articles

Associate editor

a step above, an assistant editor may write, edit or do clerical work more likely to handle front-of-the-book content and columns

Assistant editor

one step below, and the associate editor may write, edit or do clerical work more likely to handle front-of-the-book content


responsible for catching errors and style inconsistencies that the editor misses

Research Assistant and similar titles found in mastheads

a luxury staff at small publications wish they had

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