Traditional Vs Self-Publishing – Which Should You Choose?

By on June 23, 2017
Traditional Vs Self Publishing - Which Should You Choose? Writer's Life.org

When you have finished your book, redrafted it, edited it, let friends, colleagues and strangers read it, re-drafted it again, you may finally be ready to publish.

Now you have another big decision to make.

Deciding whether to send your book off to agents and publishers in the hope that it might be traditionally published, or choosing to go down the self-publishing route is not a decision you will make lightly.

There are, of course, pros and cons for each.

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You may feel as though traditional publishing is hopeless. The competition is too fierce, the chances of success are simply too small. You may think that if you self-publish you are selling yourself short, not believing that your work is good enough to be picked up by a publishing house.

You may worry about money, can you really make any if you self-publish? At the same time if you waste months, or even years, waiting to hear back from traditional publishers, only to be rejected, how will you feel then?

Yes, it’s not easy to decide what to do. Both choices come with their own risks, and both choices require more hard work in order to give yourself the very best chance of success.

If you really can’t decide, take a look at the below. We have created a handy checklist which might help nudge you in one direction or another.

The advantages of traditional publishing:

Advance payments - if you are picked up by a traditional publisher you should be offered an advance payment which you will pay back from sales of your book.

Marketing support - a big traditional publisher will have a whole marketing team behind your book.

It sounds better - let’s face it being published by a traditional publisher is more prestigious!

Less work - while lots of work will go into finding a publisher, once you have secured one they will take over - which means much less work for you.

The disadvantages of traditional publishing:

No control - a traditional publisher will be in control of editing your book, the cover design and how it is marketed - you won’t get much of a say about this.

Having to wait - most publishers take over six months to let you know whether they want to take on your book or not, are you prepared to wait that long?

It’s really tough! Only a tiny fraction of books sent to publishers actually land a publishing deal, you have to have a pretty thick skin and lots of perseverance to give yourself the best chance of success.

Smaller royalties - you get a far smaller percentage of your sales than you would if you self-published.

The advantages of self-publishing:

You can hit the big time! Just think E.L. James (50 Shades of Gray), or Hugh Howey (Wool Trilogy) - they both became hugely successful authors by going down the self-publish route - so can you!
(Almost) Anyone can do it -you are in control - you decide everything about your book so if you are a control freak this might be the best route for you.

You get more money if your book sells well - you get a big percentage of the royalties of your book for each copy sold.

The disadvantages of self-publishing:

It’s all up to you - when it comes to marketing your book, you must do all the work - there is a lot to do and it takes time, perseverance and sometimes money to try every avenue to get your book noticed.

You must pay out for a cover designer, editor and more - If you want to give your book the best chance of success you must get it professionally edited and a book cover professionally designed. These services both cost money - with no guarantee of a return.

There is huge competition - the ease of self-publishing means that everyone’s doing it. It is extremely hard to get your book noticed among the sea of others - you have to work hard to ensure yours stands out.

As we said initially, the decision whether to be traditionally or self-published is not one an author should take likely. Remember, writing a book is a massive achievement and now you must go with your instincts and decide what’s right for you - good luck!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

About Bethany Cadman

Bethany Cadman is an author and freelance writer. Her highly anticipated debut novel 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers' is available on Amazon as both an eBook and a paperback. You can find it here - http://tinyurl.com/z47t8qf

One Comment

  1. Derek Varsalona

    July 3, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    I will go with a Traditional Publisher. Self Publishing wants to much money up front and seems like a scam,

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