Publishing has changed dramatically in the 21st century. You can now make money more money faster self-publishing online than you can going the traditional publishing route.
Here's the traditional book publishing process for writers:
1. Write three chapters plus an outline
2. Get a publisher and advance
3. Write the book
4. Promote the book (at your own expense, mostly)
This process doesn't work for 99 per cent of writers. The publisher makes the money; you're left the "glory" of calling yourself an author.
In "Traditional Publishers Are Wising Up to the Web", Aaron Wall reports that:
Books Publishing is Fast Becoming a Vanity Industry I was offered to get SEO Book published by one of the leading book publishing houses. I have made more in a day than what they were offering me as down payment for writing the book. And they wanted me to do all the book marketing as well, for no further compensation unless I sold enough books to make the hot books lists. It didn't help that my profit margins from a book sale would have been less than what I pay for a click.That's the way it is today: you can make more money publishing your book online yourself, than you can going the traditional publishing route. As Aaron says, the only upside to the traditional publishing model for writers is the credibility a published book gives you.
I was unwilling to get published because I thought there was upside in the current model, in a growing market, and realized that the model of being published did not work unless I was interested in feeding my ego, in need of credibility, or was writing a book just to up sell more expensive services.
I've eliminated traditional publishing from my business plans for the foreseeable future, because there's no benefit in it. Publishing my own sites and blogs is faster (instant, compared to the two-year process of getting a book published traditionally), more profitable, and it's much, much more fun.
If you're writing a book, or want to, you may want to reconsider your options. BTW, this process works for novelists too. Publish your novel and associated material on a Web site as Kate Mosse did, and then get a traditional publisher to come to you.