Writing a book, especially if it’s your first book, can be emotionally exhausting and physically draining. Even if you worked with a ghostwriter, it’s still a lot of blood and sweat. One of the first things you think about is whether to go with self-publishing or traditional publishing.
Now, we hate to be those people, but you’ve got to know that writing your book is only half the job. The other half, publishing, still needs to be attended to. And if you don’t know the differences between self-publishing vs traditional publishing, you’re going to be doing yourself a huge disservice if you go ahead to publish your book anyway.
Choosing to self-publish or to go with traditional publishing is not like deciding what you want for dessert. That is, anything that appeals to your taste buds at the time. It’s a lot more complicated than that. But you’re at the right place at the right time.
So, let’s begin with an overview of each of these methods.
What is Self-Publishing?
It’s pretty straightforward, right? You take responsibility for all things concerning the publishing of your book. If you don’t know what that entails, it means that you’re going to be in charge of cover design for your book, as well as editing, formatting, releasing, and marketing it.
Of course, you can outsource aspects of the work to qualified hands. But the point is the buck stops at your table.
It sounds like a lot of work, and we won’t lie, it is. But the good thing is that once you get it done, you reserve all rights to the books as well as all the royalties. Someone say, cha-ching! Of course, this benefit is the reason many people decide to self-publish.
Pros of Self-publishing:
- 100% guarantee that your book will be published.
- 100% creative control.
- Go to the market at your pace.
- Up to 70% royalties (ebook), or 50% royalties (print)..
What is Traditional Publishing?
Here, you work with a third-party publisher to release your book. The publisher will handle the editing of your book, cover design, and formatting. They’ll also be in charge of releasing the book through one of their imprints which is a big bonus because these guys have massive platforms which can give you massive leverage. And then, finally, they take up marketing the book for you.
But then again, as you know, there’s no free lunch, even in Freetown. So, in exchange for all this they’ve done for you, they get the lion share of all royalties, while you only get a small percentage.
Pros of Traditional Publishing
- Access to prestigious lists.
- Professional marketing, design, and editorial teams working on your book.
- Publisher covers cost of production.
- Publisher handles online marketing and distribution to bookstores.
Alright, you’ve seen all this but we haven’t exactly shown you which you should go for. Well, keep reading.
Five Factors to Help You Decide Between Self-Publishing Vs Traditional Publishing
Self-publishing is expensive. There’s no other way to put it. You’re going to be financing every aspect of publishing the book from your pocket and, most times, that figure is upwards of $1000.
However, here’s the good thing. If you do solid work with your self-publishing and marketing, you’ll get a lot of eyes on your book. The 50% to 70% royalties that will come rolling after? They’ll make you forget you ever invested whatever amount of money you did in publishing your book.
On the other hand, we have traditional publishing where the publisher bears the financial brunt of getting your book released. But then again, you only get like 5 to 15% royalties. So, to earn as much as your self-publishing counterpart, you’d need to sell 6 times as many books. And if your book undersells? Well, bummer for you.
This is probably the biggest difference between self-publishing and traditional publishing. With self-publishing, you have full control over the entire publishing gamut. So, your book comes out looking exactly how you want it to look.
With traditional publishing, on the other hand, you have a team of professionals working on your book and they get to decide what’s best for your book with little input from you.
So, if creative control really matters to you, then self-publishing might be it for you. Just keep in mind that with great power comes great responsibility. As empowering as it is to be in control, the responsibilities it demands can quickly become overwhelming. So, make sure you take the time to learn about the process before you commit.
If you’re self-publishing, you can even have your book ready for the market in 10 minutes. You call all the shots.
With traditional publishing, however, there’s plenty of red tape.
First off, finding a publisher that would agree to publish your book can be very time-consuming (and heartbreaking). Sometimes, it even takes years.
But even after you finally find a publisher, it might still take another year, sometimes, even longer before your book is actually published.
If you want mainstream exposure, then go for traditional publishing, no questions asked. They’ll do aggressive campaigns online and push it in physical bookstores. This means, you can get your book into more hands.
With self-publishing, on the other hand, chances of mainstream exposure are lower.
It’s, however, easier if you have a niche and you reach out to them directly. Self-publishing done right will mostly depend on building a loyal audience that will end up buying other books from you in the future.
As a self-published author, dreaming of prestigious literary prizes and the likes might be you getting over ambitious. Most of the most prestigious literary prizes do not award indie publishers, unfortunately. So, bye bye New York Times Best Seller list, if you choose to self-publish.
But then again, there are many indie prizes out there. So, it’s not like you won’t ever get recognized for your work. Plus, Amazon does not care how you published. If you sell well, you’re going to make it to Amazon’s bestseller list.
Now, if you don’t care about the prestigious lists, then self-publish. But if recognition from prestigious lists matters to you, then traditional publishing might be better for you.
So, What’s the Bottomline?
Only 1 to 2% of authors should actually go with traditional publishing. That is, A-list celebs, famous athletes, politicians, big-shot CEOs, as well as professional authors and novelists with a solid track record of high sales.
For the other random 97% of us, self-publishing will always be the appropriate choice.
We can help you become a self-published author if you talk to us today.