Book Library

Traditional Publishing Vs Self-Publishing

What is Traditional Publishing

It is very rare these days to find a traditional publisher that allows you to submit your manuscript directly to them. The only time you are ever able to submit directly to the big publishers is when they are running a competition, which could happen once a year if that. 

If you are looking to go down the traditional publishing route you will need to get yourself a literacy agent who will then take your manuscript to a traditional publisher and negotiate you a publishing contract for your manuscript. 

One thing to note is that Literacy agents are very busy people and can take between 4-6 months just to get back to you and sometimes you don’t even get a response. 

Be prepared for rejection

Receiving a yes from a literacy agent is lucrative so a very high percentage of manuscript submissions get rejected every year. This doesn’t necessarily mean your manuscript isn’t any good but it could just be the wrong time and place and not quite what they were looking for at that moment. 

A great example of this is JK Rowling’s Harry Potter which was rejected 12 times before finally getting published and look at how big Harry Potter is now.

If you are luckily enough to have your manuscript accepted and get a publishing contract then you will then have a team of dedicated professionals producing every aspect of your book and help with marketing.

With traditional publishing, you will not have to pay a penny towards the creation and publishing of your book. All traditional publishers will take on this cost hence why they are so picky about what books they accept. 

They may also pay you an advance royalty payment beforehand. What this means is you will get a lump sum of money from them before your book is published but then you won’t receive any royalty payments until this figure has been reached. 

With traditional publishing, you will earn a lot less per book than say you would with self-publishing but theoretically traditional publishers have better contacts and avenues to market your book and reach wider audiences and get a high number of sales than you would be able to yourself. Traditional publishers also only make royalty payments to authors twice a year.

The Pros of Traditional Publishing –

  • A Literary agent will fight your corner and negotiate the best deal for you. They will also provide support and encouragement.
  • You will have a dedicated team of professionals creating your book
  • There are no upfront costs
  • A publisher can help you get greater visibility and reach on your book
  • You will have someone on hand to advise you on marketing

The Cons of Traditional Publishing –

  • It can be very hard to get a traditional publishing contract
  • You lose a lot of creative control over your book
  • Lower royalty rates per book
  • You will only get paid royalties twice a year
  • It is a long process to finally getting your book to print

What is Self-publishing

Self-publishing is a much quicker and easier way to get your book out there. Once you have loaded your book on to a self-publishing platform it can be available to buy within a few days (sometimes hours).

With self-publishing, you can either choose to do everything yourself and then upload your book to a self-publishing platform or you can outsource someone to do your editing, formatting, book cover design and ebook conversion.

With self-publishing, you will need to cover the cost of everything yourself and it can work out quite costly especially if you need to hire an illustrator. You do however keep full creative control of your book.

Self-published authors will usually make a lot more profit per book than with a traditional published book and payments will be regular. However, marketing your book is completely down to you and this is where a lot of self-published authors struggle.

That said there are self-published authors making millions but there are also self-published authors who struggle to sell 100 copies of their book.

The Pros of Self-publishing – 

  • It’s a quick way to get your book published
  • Higher royalty payments per book
  • More regular payments
  • Full control over your book and marketing
  • No stresses of deadlines 

The Cons of Self-publishing – 

  • You have to pay for all the costs yourself and upfront
  • You need to do all the marketing yourself
  • Most bookshops don’t accept self-published authors
  • A lot of book awards don’t accept self-published authors

Indie Author Support Group

If you are an indie author or looking to publish your first book why not join us in the free Indie Author Support Group on Facebook.

It is a place to come for advice, support and to connect with other authors to share tips and help each other grow.