As an author, one of the biggest decisions you will make is whether to opt for self-publishing or go for the traditional publishing route.
To figure out the answer, you must compare both aspects of book publication. The more knowledge you will have – the better decision you will make about what works for you and your writing career.
What is Self-Publishing?
Starting with self-publishing, let us talk about what it is. Self-publishing is the process of publishing your book but completely on your own. This aspect indicates that as a self-publishing author, you won’t be going through any other places except your distribution channel, which is mostly Amazon (for most self-publishing authors), to get your book published.
There is no publishing deal, no agents, and no upfront payment. With self-publishing, you are publishing the book on your own and through your own means.
Now, the question is what you are responsible for doing when you opt for self-publishing. Simply put – you are responsible for everything – from the writing to hiring an editor, a cover designer, a professional to get your book properly formatted, and a proofreader to act as the last set of eyes to go through the book.
You get the point – with self-publication, everything is your responsibility, which doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do everything by yourself. Of course, you will be hiring people to do the things you cannot at different points of the process – but – it simply means that nobody else is controlling everything.
Now there are a few different expenses that you will incur as a self-published author – but – the costs will be the editing, the cover design, formatting, and other things that you cannot do yourself. If you are writing a horror book, you will need to hire a horror illustrator – for example.
You might as well be a cover designer – but – when booking a publication, you might want to hire another professional to do so because a fresh set of eyes and another perspective can make things a little bit better.
So, the costs for self-publishing vary, and depending on your preferences, we recommend doing some research so you know your different options for hiring different people.
What Do You Get as a Self-Publishing Writer?
The primary benefit of self-publishing your book is keeping all the royalties aside from what Amazon will take for their distribution funds. So, you get to keep the rest of it, which also means that if Amazon takes 30%, you get 70% of your royalties, which is nearly 50% more than traditional publishing.
While it might look like you have to pay more upfront, you get more for your input. Another great aspect of self-publishing is that the amount that you are paid is directly linked with how much work you want to put into selling your book.
You won’t have to wait for the publisher to give you the green signal or anything – rather – you will be doing and controlling everything yourself, including the marketing aspect of your book. Now, if you look at it, you will realize that with self-publishing, you will be able to sell more books if you work on the input.
You will also want to incorporate the right strategy to sell more books with self-publishing, which is where research and expertise advice comes in.
Things to Know about Traditional-Publishing
Now, let us talk about the other side of the coin – traditional publishing. You might want to know what is so intriguing about being a traditionally-published author.
The greatest reason people want to be a traditionally-published author rather than a self-published one is the title. Becoming a traditionally-published author takes a lot of other steps, and you have to go through a lot of people approving your work in order for you to get published.
With traditional publishing, you will have the extra step of getting an agent, and that agent then has to pitch your manuscript to the different publishing houses, and your agent is primarily responsible for negotiating your pay percentages.
It is important to mention here that your agent does take a cut as well –but – those extra steps make traditional publishing a lot longer to get through. Secondly, you won’t be in control as it leaves a lot of control up to everybody else and not so much to you.
Your Responsibilities as a Traditionally Publishing Author
As a traditionally-published author, you are responsible for writing and completing your manuscript before the deadline. Also, you are responsible for turning in your work when your agent or editor tells you that it is time to do the needful.
This is the only responsibility you will have apart from editing those changes your editor wants you to make.
You will still have to do a lot of marketing with traditional publishing, which is something that a lot of people don’t understand. The thing is that just because you have a publishing house supporting you, it doesn’t mean that the entire marketing team will be supporting you too.
Ads cost money – so – the traditional publishing house is more likely to create ads for books that are already performing well. A publishing house will only invest money in advertisements for the book that they know will make it back in return.
So, if you are an aspiring author, you might have to do the marketing yourself. Of course, you will get a little bit of help from the marketing department, but you will still have to do the majority of the heavy lifting for marketing all by yourself.
Other than marketing, traditional publishing doesn’t really cost when it comes to costs. You will want to be mindful of any traditional publication house telling you that it will cost you money to get your book published; you should know that it is a scam.
Traditional publishing requires you not to pay any money upfront.
With that said, you will, however, have to be very patient with traditional publishing as it will cost you your time as the process is long. Sometimes, it can take two to three years for your book to change the status from “accepted manuscript” to “published.”
You should know that the authors who make money with traditional publishing are about 1% of the big earners, such as Stephen King and JK Rowling. These authors are the ones who get immense benefits. So, you should choose carefully whether you want to self-publish or opt for traditional publishing.