Traditional v Self Publishing

Traditional and self publishing, which one is right for you? There are perks to both, but there are also compromises.

Traditional publishing is what most people think of when they talk about publishing. You write the book, you find an agent who wants to represent your book, they send your book to major publishing companies and you hope one of them wants to buy it. Your agent takes care of the contract and all the deal making involved in this part of the process.

The good thing about traditional publishing is a lot of things outside of the writing are taken care of by someone else. Not everything, but a lot. Publishing houses have in house editors, sort out the formatting, have a cover designed, and do all the printing and distribution. They do some marketing, although most author still have to market themselves, especially if they’re not already well-established in the traditional publishing world. And, for the most part, that’s that.

You give up creative control, but most of the things outside of the actual writing are done by the publishing house. Generally, you get paid up front and, depending how your book sells, once the publisher makes back their investment, they share the following profits with you.

Self publishing, on the other hand, lets you maintain full control over everything related to your novel every step of the way. Because you have to do everything yourself. Of course, you can hire editors and commission an artist to design your cover, and a lot of people would recommend both of these things, but you have to pay for it all out of pocket. So, if your book doesn’t sell, you eat the cost of your investment and, if you’re selling physical copies, depending how you had your book printed, you might also end up with boxes of your book sitting around your house, but is that really an issue?

The plus side of self publishing is you get the final say in what changes are actually made, decide what the cover looks like, figure out what format is best for your story, and choose how and where you want to distribute it. You maintain full creative control. And, you get the full profit from any book sales.

How traditional publishing happens really depends on the contract you get with the publishing house. And self publishing depends on the decisions you make along the way. They’re two sides of book publishing, but no one side has just one way of going about it. These are just the very basic differences.

Which way appeals more to you?