SACRAMENTO, CA - J.K. Rowling was rejected by dozens of publishers before Bloomsbury Publishing in the UK printed Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, which was later published in the U.S. by Scholastic as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
Millions of Harry Potter fans around the world would say those publishers lost out, but publishers and writers said that's how the business works.
"There are books that get published, I'm sorry to say, because they show up on the desk of the acquisitions editor at the right time of the day," Irish Canon Press owner Sean Harvey said. "And there are great works of literature that go unnoticed forever."
MORE: Irish Canon Press website
Harvey is a published author and a former literary agent who now owns the Sacramento area publishing company Irish Canon Press. He said there are a lot of authors still looking at traditional publishing. Even with self-publishing and ebooks, writers are still sending their manuscripts to publishers and some are getting a response.
However, Authority Publishing's CEO and self-published author Stephanie Chandler said self-publishing should be an author's first choice.
TIPS: Authority Publishing blog for writers
"Self publishing is a great option for the author," Chandler said. "The author keeps more of the profits."
Authors want to get a publisher to put their book on bookshelves, but with Amazon and ebooks, they don't need bookstores, she said. Even though, self-publishing is time consuming and tedious, after marketing the book, it will pay off.
"Building an audience is crucial," Chandler said.
Even when authors get a publisher, they have to market their own books, she said. By using social media, blogs and online forums, authors can promote their own books.
Amazon allows authors to epublish their books straight to Amazon.com and pays them 35 percent of the listed price every time someone buys their ebook.
However, with self-publishing, authors also have to find an editor and design their own book cover -- or hire a graphic designer to do it for them.
"When you buy an ebook by an author that doesn't put effort into quality control, you'll notice a lot of typos, half empty pages. [Publishing] is an art form and we don't' want to lose that," Harvey said. "In the end, I am a big advocate for epublishing, I think it's good for the industry, for the culture, and I think it's going to go places we can't even fathom at this point."
Epublishing is good for small and new publishers and those with low overhead costs. Harvey said epublishing allows for more avenues for publishing that didn't exist before.
Amazon.com controls 70 percent of the ebook market and dictates the price of those books. The company then sells them online at a huge discount, which publishers can't afford to do all the time.
"There will be more and more competition from publishers going direct, which means they'll have to up their marketing efforts. And so I think it's a great thing and it's the wave of the future; publishers doing more promoting, not less," Harvey said.
Chandler said she attributes the rise of ebooks to Amazon and the iPad. However, she said the majority of readers are still using printed books; people are still building home libraries.
"Print books are sticking around."