Self vs. Traditional Publishing: Pros and Cons

One of the most significant decisions you must make is whether to self-publish or pursue a more traditional publishing route. It is essential to weigh the pros and cons of each carefully before making a decision. What follows should help you to make an informed decision.

self vs, traditional pros and cons

Self-publishing pros

  • Self-publishing gives you complete control over the final product, from the contents to the cover design to the price.
  • When you self-publish, you can publish your book immediately. There is no red tape or working on someone else’s schedule. Self-publishing is the way to go if you want to get your book quickly out into the world.
  • Self-published authors typically earn a higher percentage of royalties than traditionally published authors. As you are the author and publisher, there is no one to share your royalties with.
  • You are the one who builds a direct connection with your readers, increasing your fan base and getting immediate feedback.

Self-publishing cons

  • Self-published books often have limited distribution compared to traditionally published books. This means that you may be limited to online sellers. Most won’t have connections with brick-and-mortar stores.
  • Some readers may be less likely to take self-published books seriously, affecting your sales. Self-publishing your work and building your credibility as a reputable author can sometimes take years.
  • Self-publishing requires you to handle all of the responsibilities involved with the publishing process. This includes editing, marketing, and distribution, which can be time-consuming.

Traditional publishing pros

  • Traditionally published books carry more weight and credibility in the industry. Traditional publishers have connections with agents, who are gatekeepers when it deciding what gets published.
  • Publishers provide professional editing, cover design, and marketing services. Though you still must be active on social media, publishers assume some responsibility for getting your book out there.
  • Traditional publishers have established distribution channels, making your book available in more places, both online and in bookstores.

Traditional publishing cons:

  • Traditional publishing can take a long time, from querying agents to getting your book on shelves.
  • You’ll have less control over the final product. Your publisher may make changes you don’t agree with about the editing, the cover, or how it is marketed.
  • Traditional publishers often offer lower royalties. All stakeholders in the process (from editors, cover designers, agents, and publishers to bookstores) receive a percentage of the book’s earnings.

Pros and cons: the conclusion

Ultimately, self-publishing or pursuing traditional publishing comes down to your personal preferences, goals, tech-savvy, and the amount of time you have available. Consider these pros and cons when deciding what’s important to you. Don’t hesitate to seek advice from other authors and professionals in the industry.

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