Traditional Publishing vs Self-Publishing: Which Suits You Best?

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June 29, 2015
Traditional Publishing vs Self-Publishing: Which Suits You Best?
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Are you a writer who has an amazing book that you want the world to read? Have you decided how you are going to publish your very first masterpiece yet? Well, there are two types of book publishing that you can choose from: the good old traditional publishing and the modern way –  self-publishing. In this article, you’ll be learning what each type is about.

Traditional publishing has existed for many years. The biggest publishing houses that exist today are HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Macmillan, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster. Famous authors like Paulo Coelho, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Stephen King all had books published under major publishers. However, getting a book published through these big names in the industry when you are a new author, with zero published works, can be extremely difficult.

In a nutshell, the traditional publishing process goes like this:

  1. You write your manuscript.
  2. Once you finish your manuscript, you send it over to a publishing house, along with your proposal and other requirements. Hiring an agent to do this for you gets you a better chance at getting published.
  3. The publisher’s in-house editor reviews your work and decides if it is good enough for publication. It may take several months for your book to be reviewed because there are piles of other submissions on their plate.
  4. If they think your material is worth it, they pay you for your work and buy the rights from you.
  5. The publisher handles all the necessary actions needed to publish the book, such as designing, editing, formatting, printing, marketing, distribution, etc.
  6. If they reject it, you have the freedom to send it over to another publisher.

In traditional publishing, you get paid when you sign with the publisher (providing your book ever gets the go signal). You reap the rewards of your book before it even starts selling. Plus, you don’t have to worry about marketing and promoting your book because your publisher will take care of those for you.

Although it seems like the most affordable and profitable way to get published, you have to know that publishing traditionally takes time. You are going to wait for several years for your manuscript to become the book that you have always dreamed of. Self-publishing, on the other hand, is extremely different in many ways. For you to be able to decide which one you are going to choose, you must know the fundamental differences between the two.

Self-publishing, although relatively new compared to the traditional way, has blossomed over the years. More and more writers are turning to this modern way of publishing as they see it as an easier way to get their works out there and become an author. Unlike in traditional publishing, a self-published book can be published in as little as six months, especially with the existence of eBook publishing. A lot of authors also go for self-publishing because they can have full creative control and own all the rights to their book.

In a nutshell, the self-publishing process goes like this:

  1. You write your manuscript.
  2. Once you finish your manuscript, you hire a professional editor to polish your work.
  3. Look for a company that offers self-publishing services, including printing and acquisition of ISBN, copyright, PCN, etc.
  4. Format your book, or have it formatted by a professional.
  5. Hire a professional designer to create your front and back covers, and to design your interior, if applicable. If you have the ability to do this yourself, knock yourself out!
  6. Set the date for your book’s publication.
  7. Set the price for your book. If you are publishing in multiple formats (e.g. Paperback, Hardcover, eBook), set a different price for each one.
  8. Create a book marketing plan.
  9. Pre-sell your book before publication using marketing tactics and promotional materials.
  10. Publish your book and continue promoting it to get your sales up.

Despite the bad rap that self-publishing has garnered throughout the years because some authors have failed to put importance on editing, formatting, and book design, there are numerous self-published authors who have made it to the top. Did you know that famous authors Mark Twain and Edgar Allan Poe published their own works? If they had made their mark in literature through starting out as self-published authors, you can too!

Traditional and self-published authors alike can be successful.

If we compare both methods, one is actually not better or worse than the other when it comes to the rewards that you can reap when your book becomes successful. If you think about it, it really depends on how you handle things and how much heart you put into your work.

Now that you know the significant differences between traditional publishing and self-publishing, which one do you think is right for you?

Decide the fate of your book today. Good luck!