Self Publishing Vs Traditional Publishing: What is Best for You?

Finished the manuscript of your book after months of effort and toil? Now you may need to think about the way you are going to get your book published, i.e., whether to go for traditional publishing or get self-published? You need to choose between these two only after carefully analyzing the pros and cons of both. Then you will be able to go down the path which is best suited for you.

Self Publishing Vs Traditional Publishing

What is traditional publishing?

Traditional publishers are those established names in the industry who have probably decades-long experience.

Advantages of Traditional Publishing

  • No cost for the author : One of the most important advantages of traditional publishing is that the author do not have to incur any expense. All expenses that are bound to occur in a publishing process, like professional editing, cover design and marketing, will be taken care of by the publishing house. This is because they will get their part of the profit once the book is published. The traditional publishers who ask for money to get your book published are not legitimate. 
  • Increased visibility : Authors who are published by large traditional publishing houses get way more visibility in the market compared to the rest of them. The publishing house’s name act as a validation for the quality of the book. Physical bookstores mostly accept only traditionally published authors.
  • You may get an advance : Getting an advance is not always necessary while signing a contract with a traditional publishing house. But if they think that your book is going to be the next bestseller, you may get a handsome sum before your book is published. Although the advance money will be adjusted against future royalties, it will help you financially and boost your confidence.
Disadvantages of Traditional Publishing
  • Getting them to read your manuscript is not easy.: This is the one disadvantage of traditional publishing that outweighs its benefits. It is a Herculean task even to get considered by a traditional publishing house. Most of them accept manuscripts only through a literary agent and getting the attention of a literary agent is an equally difficult task. Even if you manage to get past the hurdles of making a contract with a literary agent and then the publishing house, you may still have to wait for months to get your book published. You will have no say regarding the publishing timeline.
  • You will lose rights : One of the important parts of a contract with the publishing house is where they acquire the rights for your book. This may range from the right to publish the sequel of your book to audio-visual rights. This may become a headache for you if you are not careful what all rights you are selling to them.
  • Difference of opinion : When you work with different people, different opinions are bound to occur. But in traditional publishing, the house’s opinion matters more than yours. From making a copy-edit which you don’t want in a line to publishing your book in an altogether different genre, there may be many situations where you may need to accede to their demand.
What is Self-Publishing?

Self-publishing, as the name suggests, is the process of getting your work published without the help of a traditional publisher. The usual steps involved in publishing a book, like editing, formatting, cover design and marketing are done with the author’s resources. 

Advantages of Self-Publishing
  • Guaranteed publishing : If you go for self-publishing, you can sleep peacefully knowing that your book will be published. There is no question of someone reading and deciding whether to accept your book for publishing.
  • Full creative control : You can retain complete control over editing, format and design. After all, it is your book. It is completely up to the author to accept or reject it, be it the changes suggested by the editor or the design of your book cover made by the graphic designer you hired. 
  • Higher royalty rates : Self-publishing offers more income than traditional ones. If you go for traditional publishing, your royalty rates will be between 7 to 25%, whereas self-publishing offers a royalty of 100%. This means you can keep the entire return on the work which was created by your hard work and effort, making it an ideal way to generate passive income.
  • You can decide the timeline : Suppose you have completed the first round of editing in the services offered by the self-publishing platform. But you encounter a contingency due to which you are compelled to put off the process for a time. Self-publishing offers the freedom of creating your own publishing timeline. There is no pressure and you can resume the process whenever you want.
Disadvantages of Self-Publishing
  • Cost 
    In contrast to traditional publishing, self-publishing demands spending money out of your own pocket for services like editing, cover design and marketing. Although you may recover the amount through future royalties, incurring a large expense before publishing the book can be burdensome for some authors.
  • You’re your own boss

The price of freedom is responsibility. In self-publishing, you need to manage everything on your own all the while making sure your book comes out in its best form. You can’t afford to make mistakes here because no one is going to shepherd you.

  • Lack of recognition

Many bookstores do not accept self-published authors. This might make it extremely difficult to see your book in stores. Promotion can be a bit tedious because media too seems interested in traditionally published authors.



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