Big Five, Small Press & Self-Publishing:

Discovering Which Is Best for You and How to Succeed


Michael J. Sullivan and Robin Sullivan




2 Hours


$59.00 (or $150.00 for all three Webinars)

Big Five, Small Press & Self-Publishing:
Discovering Which Is Best for You and How to Succeed

You’ve finally finished your novel! Now what? Is it time to query an agent and try for a contract with one of the big five traditional publishers? Approach a small publisher? Self-publish? Writers today face a wide range of publishing options. Which one is the best for you and your book? And how can you maximize your chances of success?

This webinar is a video recording of the guest lecture of Michael J. Sullivan and Robin Sullivan at the 2017 Odyssey Writing Workshop. Michael J. Sullivan is a bestselling author who has made use of a wide range of publishing options, from self-publishing to small press to Kickstarter to foreign translations to audio to big five traditional publishing. His wife, Robin, is his business manager and top agent. This fascinating lecture reveals the insider realities of each method of publishing: how to self-publish, how to work with a large or small publisher, what to expect each step of the way, how to avoid the pitfalls, how to get the best results, and how to decide which method is best for you. If you’ve ever wished that a bestselling author (and his agent!) would share his publishing knowledge with you, now you have that opportunity.

In this webinar, Michael and Robin explain the insider realities of each method of publishing, which publishing path is most likely to lead to success, and what dangers and opportunities face authors on each path.

They will take you through each step in the publishing process–editing, packaging, distribution, and marketing. For each publishing path, they explain how that step works, what you should expect, what you need to do, and how to avoid the pitfalls and make the most of the opportunities. For example, if you’re self-publishing, how much of a financial investment do you need to make up front? How do you find a structural editor? Which formats are best for your book–hardcover, trade paperback, mass market paperback, ebook? How can you optimize your cover design, cover copy, and metadata? On the other hand, if you’re going with a Big Five publisher, which clauses do you need to beware of in a publishing contract? How much of an advance should you expect–and how much might you expect to earn in royalties? How is the distribution of your book, in both print and electronic forms, different if you traditionally publish versus if you self-publish?

Whatever path you take, even with the biggest publisher, you’ll need to promote your book. Michael and Robin explain the key methods of promotion and how to make the most of them. How do you build buzz about your book? How can you engage potential readers through Goodreads? Should you spend money on advertising? How much time should you devote to social media?
Robin and Michael also discuss a series of common myths about publishing and reveal the insider truths.

By the end of the webinar, you should have a solid sense of the differences between these publishing paths, how to get the best results, and how to decide which method is best for you. If you’ve ever wished that a bestselling author and his manager/agent would share their publishing knowledge with you, that’s exactly what Michael and Robin are doing here.

This webinar, recorded at the 2017 Odyssey Writing Workshop, allows writers the opportunity to sit in on an Odyssey lecture in its entirety.

The webinar is intended for writers of fantastic fiction, which is an umbrella term covering fantasy, science fiction, horror, magical realism, and anything in between. Yet learning about today’s publishing options is important for all fiction writers, so those who focus on other genres could profit from this webinar and would be welcome.

While the webinar will be useful to writers at all levels, it will probably be most useful to those who have a manuscript approaching publication quality.


Note that this is not an application process as with Odyssey’s online courses but a simple registration, and you will be asked to submit payment when you register.

Once you register, you will receive via email a handout associated with the lecture and access to the video recording. It is recommended that you read the handout before viewing the lecture.

You will have access to the recording for 60 days.

Webinar Materials

Webinar content, in any format, is for the individual student only. Such content includes handouts, readings, files, and the recording of the webinar. Webinar content may not be posted, copied, shared, or distributed. The copyright of the content belongs variously to the instructor, to the authors of the readings, to Jeanne Cavelos, or to the Odyssey Writing Workshops.

Michael J. Sullivan

Michael J. Sullivan is a publishing veteran, using a wide range of options including self-publishing, small-press, big-five, Kickstarter, print-only, foreign translations, and audio. His best-selling, debut series, The Riyria Revelations, has sold more than 800,000 copies, been translated into fifteen foreign languages, and appeared on more than 150 “best of” or “most anticipated” lists including those compiled by Library Journal, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and His most recent novel, Age of Myth, hit #2 on the Washington Post Best Seller’s List for hardcovers. Because of his wide range of publishing experience, Michael has taught several courses with Writer’s Digest and been a guest speaker at multiple fantasy conventions as well as BookExpo America (the largest publishing tradeshow in the world). He’s currently working on his seventeenth novel and the second in his Legends of the First Empire series, Age of Swords, which will be released by Del Rey in the summer of 2017.

Robin Sullivan

Robin Sullivan is Michael J. Sullivan’s business manager, senior agent, wife, and one of the most knowledgable people on publishing today, in all its many forms.