Traditional Versus Self-Publishing

Traditional vs Self-publishing, which is best for you? It depends on what you want and the opportunities you get. Start by understanding how each of them works. Then, you settle for what works best for you.

We are happy to have these two options. Before 2007, the only option available for publishing your book was traditional publishing. Since traditional publishing was the first kid in the block, let us consider how it works! Then, we will consider the second option, self-publishing.

Let's go.

Traditional Publishing Vs Self-Publishing

Traditional publishing is when a publisher buys the right to print, publish, distribute and promote a book on behalf of the author. The author gets paid a royalty from the sales of the book. And may receive a lump sum even before the book is published.

Traditional publishing is a beautiful model. The only thing the author worries about is the writing of the book. The publisher takes care of everything else.

As mentioned earlier, before 2007, the only way to be published was through this route. And here are the advantages of getting published through a traditional publisher:

Advantages of Traditional Publishing

    • Upfront Payments. When your manuscript gets accepted and, the publisher sees potential in it, you may start earning straight away. They pay you a lump sum to get your book underway.
    • Zero Cost to Author. The publishing house takes full responsibility for your book. They hire all the professionals that will help bring your book to life. Usually, these are in-house employees assigned to work on your book. The cost of producing, promoting and distributing your book is the responsibility of the publishers.
    • They Know What Works. Publishing houses are a business, and they have one thing independent self-published authors do not have. And that is experience. They have been in the publishing space for longer, and as a business, they have funds to find out what people want and to get the relevant connections. They can give you valuable feedback.
    • Publishing Houses Are Known And Have Credibility. They have been in the publishing space for years and have become household names from generation to generation. So, people(especially the older ones) find books published by traditional publishers more credible. Libraries and retailers see them as the one-stop point for purchasing books. And will consider them first before independent publishers.

Disadvantages of Traditional Publishing

  • Lack of Creative Freedom. The publishers only accept what they think will work. If the publishing house feels it won't work, you will have to alter it before they can take your manuscripts. And they are so many instances when Publishing houses thought a manuscript was not good enough, and the books became bestsellers. So, they don't always get it right.
  • Loss of Rights. You must give up rights to your book before you get accepted. The publisher decides what happens to your book after publication.
  • You Earn Less in Royalty. You earn about 10-20% with traditional publishers but up to 70% royalty for Kindle books. And up to 60% of your list price for paperback!
  • Marketing. While it is true that traditional publishers will help you promote your book, they will not spend much if they do not have confidence in you as a new author. The best person to promote your book is You!
  • It Takes Years to Get Published. You do not have direct access to a publisher. You go through a literary agent, who will approach the publisher on your behalf, and they may approach several before you are accepted. And when the publisher accepts your manuscripts, it might take another two years before you become published.

What Is Self-Publishing?

Self-publishing is the new kid on the block and has been around since 2007. What is self-publishing? Self-publishing is the publishing of a book or any written media by its author. Should you go this route? Well, here are the advantages and disadvantages. Weigh in on these and make your decision.

What Are The Advantages of Self-Publishing?

  • Creative freedom. Creativity helps the author present new or existing facts from a fresh perspective. People are always looking for something new, not the same old boring stuff every time. Yes, some conventional things are evergreen. And will always be in demand, but new ideas are equally appealing. If a publisher throws out a book idea because it is different, they prevent readers from enjoying something fresh. With self-publishing, you, the independent author, decide what goes in your book and not somebody else.
  • Rights to Your Book. It is always a beautiful thing to own the right to your work. Self-publishing gives you all the rights to your book. You can do whatever you choose with your book.
  • Potential for Higher Earnings. As mentioned earlier on, you can get as much as 70% in royalty. You cannot get that with traditional publishing.
  • No Middle Person. Getting accepted to a publishing house requires going through an agent. Self-publishing eliminates the need for a middle person.

What Are The Disadvantages of Self-Publishing

  • You Have to do Everything Yourself. A traditional publishing house is a business. They have employees who work to get your book published. You do not have employees. But you could hire freelancers temporarily until your book is published. You coordinate the entire process. Whereas with traditional publishing, you only need to worry about the writing. All other things are the responsibility of the publisher.
  • Prone to Mistakes. Inexperience and not hiring the right people could make your book have mistakes. Also, not having feedback may increase your chances of errors. Connect with other authors to learn from their mistakes. Find out where and how to find freelancers.
  • Recognition as a Published Author. Although, this is getting better. But many are not sure you are a published author if you are not traditionally published. So, be prepared to hear people ask you that. But please educate them instead of getting upset. Self-publishing is relatively new, and many are still unsure.

Traditional Vs Self-Publishing, Which?

Only you can make such decisions based on the evidence for each and your circumstances. If you want to publish a no, from an agent or publisher should not stop you. Look at the rejection letter and learn from what it says. Why were you rejected? Can you work on the issues to get them fixed? Or get a second or third opinion. Be open to criticism and work hard to make changes. Then, let the rejection be your sign for redirection to another route that may work for you, Self-Publishing!

And I offer 1;1 coaching to get you self-published in as little as 90 days. Please book a risk-free assessment call.

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