5 Differences Between Traditional and Self-Publishing

Debating whether to go the traditional or self-publishing route to make your book publishing dreams come true? Every author was in your shoes at one point or another, unsure of which publishing path was the right one. We are here to share with you the five key differences that will help you make an easier and more informed business decision that will ensure the success of both your writing career and the future of your literary masterpiece.  

Creative Control

Traditional: Once you sign a contract with a traditional publisher, the entire fate of your book – from the cover to the print date – is in the hands of the publisher. Authors relinquish most if not all control and this can often be a frustrating process, especially if a publisher decides to delay or cancel the publishing of your book for abstract business reasons.

Self-Publishing: Authors have all the control possible when it comes to the publishing process. From publish dates and fonts to publicity and marketing, you as the writer remain captain of your publishing ship.

Output Costs 

Traditional: Zero to none. Authors are paid by a publishing house in advance or upon the official publication.

Self-Publishing: Your book is essentially a small start up. Authors pay all costs from editing, design, marketing and distribution. This can be a hefty price tag, but for some authors, the investment is more than worth it.  

Time to Publication

Traditional: This process is lengthy and can last anywhere from one to two years. Authors who go the traditional route best bring patience to the commitment – but don’t worry, the taste of accomplishment is sweet.

Self-Publishing: For writers who don’t harbor a significant amount of patience, we have good news: the self-publishing process can last as short as six months.

Profit and Revenue

Traditional: Authors who go the traditional publishing route can expect anywhere from 5-15% royalty from each book sold – as well as an advance, in the best case scenario.

Self-Publishing: Don’t like to share the fruits of your brilliance with a big company? Self-published authors get to keep every penny of profits from books sold.


Satisfaction with End Product

Traditional: Satisfaction with the final product of your book, and its success, is not guaranteed. When an author goes traditional, they relinquish all influence in their books success (or lack thereof).

Self-Publishing: It’s what you make of it. Your book stays true to your voice, vision and direction the entire duration of the process. At the end of the day, you’re responsible for your career and your books success, and that’s priceless.  

Are You Somewhere In Between?

Hybrid concepts are all the rage in book publishing. Our sister press She Writes Press is a hybrid press. There are hybrid authors (authors who publish traditionally and nontraditionally); hybrid publishing arrangements (where publishers and authors split costs and royalties in ways that work outside the traditional paradigm); and hybrid books (which cross or blend genres). Read more about what it means to be a hybrid author>>


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