Self-Publishing or Traditional Publishing: Which One is Right for You?

When you write a book, you start to think about whether you should do self-publishing or traditional publishing. And it's no secret that the publishing world is changing.

With the rise of self-publishing, more and more authors are choosing to go alone. But is self-publishing the best option for you? Or should you traditional publish instead?

In this post, we'll explore the pros and cons of both options, so you can make an informed decision about which route is correct for you. Read on to learn more!

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

How traditional publishing started

Traditional publishing has been around for centuries and is the original publishing model. In this model, authors submit their manuscripts to literary agents or publishers, who then decide whether or not to publish the book.

If a publisher decides to take on a book, they will cover the costs of editing, marketing, and printing. The author will then receive a percentage of the royalties earned from book sales.

Traditional publishing was the only option for authors who wanted to see their work in print. But times have changed! Now, with the rise of self-publishing, authors have more control than ever over their work.

But has traditional publishing died down over time?

Definitely, not. Traditional publishing is still going strong. This is because it offers several advantages that self-publishing does not.

For example, traditional publishers have the experience, workforce, and resources to ensure that your book is edited correctly, marketed, and distributed. They also have established relationships with booksellers and reviewers, which can give your book a boost.

Additionally, traditional publishers often provide advances to authors. You will receive money upfront before your book is even published! This can be a great way to support yourself financially while writing your book.

Of course, traditional publishing also has its drawbacks. For example, the process can be slow, and author control is often limited. Additionally, getting a traditional publishing contract in the first place can be difficult.

The rise of self-publishing

Self-publishing has seen a dramatic increase in recent years. In fact, according to Bowker's "Publishing Statistics" report in 2019, self-publishing has grown by 40% from 2017 to 2018- and will continue to grow in popularity.

There are many reasons why authors have chosen to self-publish in today's time. The most common reason is that self-publishing offers more control than traditional publishing. When you self-publish, you are in charge of every aspect of your book, from the editing to the marketing.

Another reason self-publishing has become more popular is that it has become easier than ever. Print-on-demand technology lets you publish your book without worrying about inventory or upfront costs.

Although self-publishing has its advantages, there are also some drawbacks to consider. One of the most significant drawbacks is that you are responsible for everything- from the editing to the marketing. This can be a lot to take on, especially if you're new to the publishing world.

Another drawback of self-publishing is that it can be challenging to get your book noticed. Because there are so many self-published books on the market, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd.

Luckily in today's digital world, social media can help you get your book in front of potential readers. If you're willing to put in the time and effort, self-publishing can be a great option.

Self-publishing vs. Traditional publishing: A breakdown

Now that we've discussed the humble beginnings of traditional publishing and the rise of self-publishing, let's compare the two side-by-side.

Comparison #1: Traditional publishing can take a while to produce, while self-publishing is much faster

Traditional publishing can take several months (or even years!) to get your book from manuscript to shelves. This is because many steps are involved, such as finding a literary agent, submitting your book to publishers, and going through the editing and printing process.

Self-publishing, on the other hand, is much faster. Once you have a finished manuscript, you can upload it to a self-publishing platform like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and see your book live on Amazon in just a few days.

Of course, you can also choose to go the traditional route and submit your manuscript to literary if you're not in a hurry. But if you are, self-publishing is the way to go.

Comparison #2: Traditional publishing requires help from professionals, while self-publishing does not

As we mentioned, traditional publishers have the experience, workforce, and resources to ensure that your book is properly edited, designed and marketed.

If you self-publish, you are responsible for hiring professionals to help you with these tasks (or doing them yourself!). This can be a great way to save money, but it also means that your book might not be as polished as it could be if you had gone the traditional route.

Of course, you can always choose to invest in professional help when self-publishing. But it's important to remember that this will add to the cost of publishing your book.

Comparison #3: Traditional publishing offers less creative control to authors, while self-publishing offers more creative control

When it comes to controlling the aspects of your book, self-publishing wins hands down. As the author, you are in charge of everything in your book, from the cover design to the marketing strategy.

The creative control you have with traditional publishing is much more limited. While you will have some say in your book's cover design and marketing, the final decisions will be up to your publisher.

With traditional publishing, you will have to give up some control to your publisher. They will decide about your book's cover, title, and marketing budget. However, you will still have some say in these matters.

It's important to remember that while self-publishing offers more control, it also means that you are responsible for everything. This can be a lot of work, so make sure you're prepared before you take the plunge!

Comparison #4: Self-publishing offers higher royalties, while traditional publishing can be limited

One of the most significant advantages of self-publishing is keeping a more significant percentage of the royalties. Traditional publishing will split your royalties between you and your publisher.

Self-publishing platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing typically offer 60% royalties to authors. This means that you get to keep 60% of the profits from each book sold.

Of course, some traditional publishers offer higher royalties to authors. But in general, self-publishing offers a better payout.

Comparison #5: Traditional publishing offers more prestige, while self-publishing is more accessible

There's no denying that traditional publishing carries more prestige than self-publishing. If you're traditionally published, you can say that your book was vetted by professionals and approved for publication.

Self-publishing, on the other hand, is much more accessible. Anyone can self-publish, which means that the quality of self-published books can vary greatly.

That being said, self-publishing is no longer the stigma it once was. Many traditionally published authors have recently chosen to self-publish their backlists or experimental works. So if you're thinking about self-publishing, know that you're in good company!

Final thoughts

So, what’s the verdict? Should you self-publish or go the traditional publishing route?

The answer is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It depends on your unique situation and goals. You need to consider each option's pros and cons and decide which is right for you.

We hope this article has helped you to understand the key differences between self-publishing and traditional publishing. Good luck with your writing journey, whichever route you choose!

That said, don’t hesitate to contact for assistance. We have a team of experts who would be more than happy to assist you on your journey towards bestselling status!

Want to read more? Check out “How Long Should You Write Your Book” or “What You Need For A Successful Book Launch.”, “Long-Term Success As An Author” or “4 Things You Need To Know About Book Funnels.”