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The typical publisher used to be the traditional book, newspaper or magazine publisher. Online publishing has changed the way people write and read information, with a new emphasis on generating content that meets the needs and demands of the reading masses.

A typical publisher is any company, individual or organization that creates and distributes written materials. Online publishers have taken the concept of the hard copy publication and transferred it to online versions consisting of e-books, e-zines, online newspapers, blogs and informational websites. Although the format is electronic, the lifecycle of online publishing is similar to traditional publishing processes.

Market Research

When a traditional book publisher considers funding a book project, it typically does market research. Are there enough people interested in the particular topic? How many people would potentially buy the book? To what demographic would the content appeal?

Understanding the needs and demands of the market is also important for online publishing. Many online newspapers, magazines and blogs are funded by online advertising. When site readers click on an ad or visit a site in large volumes, the results are higher revenues for site owners. Therefore, determining the topics that are of interest to readers and finding angles that haven't been repeatedly covered are important first steps in the publishing lifecycle.

Content Generation

The initial writing stage includes generating ideas, taking notes and creating outlines. Creating the written work comes next. Writers might follow a structured plan when writing or allow themselves to become inspired with new ideas and get them down on paper as quickly as possible.


Refining the book or article is the next process in the lifecycle. In the traditional publishing model, a writer is awarded a book deal and assigned to an editor. The writing work then begins and the manuscript is edited carefully before publishing. A back and forth usually takes place between writer and editor until the process is complete. When writing an e-book, a writer can self-publish or work with an e-book publisher. Whether or not he hires an editor is up to him, depending on his writing skills and publishing goals.

Revision Requests and Rejections

With traditional and web publishers alike, if writers are writing on spec, meaning they are producing written work without a publishing agreement in place, they run the risk of having their work rejected. Alternatively, if the publisher sees potential in the work, it might agree to publish the work after important revisions have been made.


One of the benefits of web publishing is the ability to immediately distribute the written word. An article can instantly be published and an e-book can be uploaded the moment it is done. In traditional book publishing, it can take one to two years to see a book in print. Editing, book cover design, printing and positioning the book in the market can be a time-consuming process.


Some would argue that once the content is published, the real work begins. People must be directed to read the book, article or column. Traditional book publishers develop relationships with booksellers and bookstores to position books in prominent positions on shelves to catch readers' eyes. Similarly, e-book publishers find ways to grab readers' attention. Websites containing relevant keywords attract interested readers to a page that links them to the book. Affiliate marketing programs connect publishers and merchants who work together to promote digital products.

While the landscape of the typical publisher has shifted, many of the same processes still apply across print and web publishing. Delivering high-quality content requires understanding readers' needs, meeting readers' demands by delivering fresh and useful content, and developing effective marketing strategies.