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Self-Publishing Vs. Traditional Publishing: Weighing the Pros and Cons

22 Aug 2023

As you are getting closer to completing your book, we are sure you are wondering about the publishing companies. That’s because publishing can be challenging, and many people don’t know the path they should go to. Nonetheless, the authors need to decide how they are going to launch their book, which is why we are talking about the pros and cons of traditional publishing and self-publishing.

That’s because both of them are pretty effective and totally depend on your preference. This is essential because every book and author is different, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Now, are you ready to understand the differences and see which a better choice is?

Understanding Traditional Publishing

When it comes down to traditional publishing, the publishers are the gatekeepers of your audience, and the publishing agent will be the first person you’ve to connect with. You have to search for a publishing agent and commission them to pitch your book to a popular publishing house. In addition, they can help provide book proposals.

The agents work their best because of the commission, which means the publisher will sign you and provide the book advance. Once the publishing is complete and selling starts, you will be able to earn royalties, ranging from 7% to 15% per sale. As far as the royalty payments are concerned, they start coming in when the book has sold sufficient copies to earn out the costs.

In some cases, it is done when publishers have managed to recover the book advance through sales. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the process of choosing a publishing house still remains static. In fact, the authors often have to wait to get a response to their proposals. If the publishers agree, the contract is signed, with which the author has to give the manuscript to publishers for editing and designing work.

The authors need to remember that proposing your book to publishing houses is a time-consuming process, and it usually starts with a rejection letter (we are just mentally preparing you). However, hiring a publishing agent will be your golden ticket because they know how to make the publishing houses say yes. In fact, the publishing houses won’t even consider the author’s queries, even if they send samples.

In simpler words, you should always get help from traditional publishing experts and agents because they clear out the hurdles you need to become a published author. However, there are multiple pros and cons of this publishing model, which is why we are sharing the details below!

1. Pros

To begin with, we are sharing why you should choose the traditional publishing model if you have completed the draft and manuscript.

2. Zero Costs

First of all, you won’t have to spend a penny from your pocket if you choose traditional publishing. That’s because the publishers don’t charge the authors. This is because the publishers need your book and will do anything to succeed because they will earn money through your book sales. In fact, this is a small lesson for you because you’ve to remember that traditional publishers won’t ask for upfront payments – if they ask, run away because they aren’t legit.

Traditional authors tend to offer an advance on starting the book project. However, you need to remember that advance payments aren’t gifts because you have to repay them through the royalties that you earn. So, keep that money safe!

3. Higher Credibility

Traditional authors tend to hold clout as well as prestige when they are connected to publishing houses. As a result, the authors will have champions supporting their book. In fact, even bookstores tend to support authors who come from traditional publishers rather than authors who publish on their own (they don’t support self-publishing).

According to some bookstore managers, they don’t even invite self-published authors for meetings and book signings. It obviously sounds negative, but their reason is legitimacy. That’s because traditional publishers always run checks for plagiarism, while anyone can publish the book on their own.

4. Industry Knowledge

Traditional publishers are known for selling books, which means they will have expertise as well as knowledge to make sure the book looks attractive. In addition, they know the hacks to make the book look interesting to the target audience. In some cases, they do welcome the design recommendations from writers, but there is an option to stick to their choices.

That’s because the publishers can title the books and create covers that resonate with the basic idea of the book.

5. Validation

It is common for writers to develop, post, and publish content without getting any feedback from real readers. Having said that, when a publisher agrees to sign you, it’s a green signal that they acknowledge your good work. It will give you the validation that your idea is good and that it will be able to capture the attention of readers.

6. Professional Team

When it comes down to traditional publishers, they have all the necessary personnel and helping hands an author needs to become successful. Traditional publishers tend to have contracted teams or in-house teams that know how to develop books.

In fact, sometimes, they have copy editors, acquisition editors, fact-checkers, substantive editors, and publicists to make sure your book comes out perfectly. The best thing is that authors can have connections with these experts without paying any extra money.

7. Cons

There aren’t only green flags connected to traditional publishing because there are some caveats that authors have to focus on. For this reason, we are sharing the cons so you know what you are getting into.

8. No Rights

This is one of the most important factors that you’ve to remember. That’s because when authors end up signing the contract with traditional publishers, they will have to sell the rights to their work. In some cases, you don’t have to hand over all the rights, but they are still significant. When the authors end up signing all the rights, it means that an author cannot sell, use, or republish the book somewhere else. In simpler words, they will have to lose control.

9. Higher Chances of Delays

Everyone wants to become a traditional publisher, but they aren’t ready to wait. The thing is, the traditional publishing process can be pretty slow, and you will have to give it time. That’s because when you publish the first proposal, it will take you a few months to get the acceptance letter. In most cases, it happens because the selection committees aren’t regular with the meetings.