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Traditional Publishing vs Self Publishing: A Method To Help You Choose!

by | Dec 26, 2013 | Self vs Traditional

As you embark on your writing journey, there is a very important decision you must make. Which publishing route do I choose? Traditional publishing vs self publishing?

Deciding the route leaves you weighing the option between two methods. A publishing method that may be a longer path and provides a team versus a quicker path that requires you to build your own?

Both methods can garner excellent results depending on your specific goals as a writer.

This post will share some of the key differences between the traditional publishing vs self publishing routes.

While reading this post, consider your goals as a writer.

Are you able to handle the tasks associated with self-publishing? Are you willing to submit your manuscript to an agent or publishing company and work side by side with a publisher?

Think about your personal goals.

There’s no right or wrong path, but understand the components of the path you choose. Based on your goals as a writer, you will be able to decide which publishing method is best for you.


Traditional Publishing vs Self Publishing – Which one do you choose?


Traditional Publishing

Traditional publishing can be quite the waiting game. It can take years to get a publishing company to notice your work and agree to publish you.

But this wait comes with its benefit.

The publishing company is responsible for all of the costs and logistics when it comes to publishing your book. They also recoup their upfront costs once your book starts to sell.

If you are signed to a traditional publishing company you will receive an advance for your manuscript. The advance will be dependent on your experience. The more experience you have as a published author, the more your advance will be. New authors generally get a smaller advance.

First, you’ll need to secure a literary (book) agent. Literary agents are needed because most publishing companies require you to have an agent in order to submit your work. You’ll pay a commission to them based on the agent actually selling your book. In other words, you should not be paying an agent and they haven’t sold your book!

There are however some agents that ask that you reasonably share the costs of administrative tasks such as copies. That decision is made between the writer and their agent and would be paid once you’ve signed a book deal. The commissions along with the administrative costs are made from payments from your publisher.

Publishing companies will also make sure that your book has been proofread for errors and edited in order to make sure that the final product is marketable. This can take a lot of pressure off of your shoulders. Printing a book with errors or poor readability will inhibit your chances of selling as much.

Your role as a published author comes with its tasks as well. You will work in tandem with your publishing company to market your book. You’ll be just as responsible as the publishing company to get the word out about your impending bestseller.


Self-publishing requires you to pay out money for upfront expenses such as typesetting and printing. With the vast amount of resources that are available for self-publishing, you may find this to be a very beneficial route and it allows you to forego the literary agent route. Self-publishing allows you to publish your work quicker than the traditional publishing route and you’ll receive all of your profits instead of splitting the earnings.

Choosing to go with self-publishing, allows you to avoid having your written work denied due to publishing standards and guidelines. You have the final say on when your book gets published and how much you spend towards self-publishing costs. With that being said you should use that power sparingly as you are still upheld to publishing standards and don’t want to succumb to the self-publishing misconceptions looming about.

Self-publishing requires you to wear all hats. That means you are solely responsible for book distribution, book signings, publicity, book marketing, and more!

There will always be pros and cons to any decision that you make. The choice will be different for every author!

When deciding traditional publishing vs self-publishing, the most important thing you need to understand is the roles. They both require work on the author’s part. Neither lets you off the hook.

Also, there’s a hybrid method! The hybrid method is when you start traditional and venture to self-publishing or vice versa.

There are writers who were once traditionally published and are now finding just as much success now that they are self-published and self-published authors whose book did well and was able to secure a traditional publishing deal.

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to traditional publishing vs self-publishing.  Which publishing method do you choose?

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