I had a discussion with a friend today, a familiar topic which seems to come up a lot, when talking to people about the progress of my writing. Which is better, to self publish or take the traditional publishing route?
That is such a loaded question, people.
Until this point in my life, I’ve only had experience with one side of the equation, as all of my books have been self published. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t done quite a bit of research on traditional publishing, as well. I had to, to have come to the decision to self publish in the first place. Plus, I have a few friends who have gone the traditional publishing road and have learned a few things through them, as well.
So I thought I’d write a post about the pros and cons between the two – or what I know of the two, anyway. I’m sure there are many more good and bad points that could be brought out.
Pros – * This is the way books have been brought to the general public for a really, really long time. Really. When someone hears you’ve got a publisher behind your name, you’ve already earned respect. You will be taken more seriously, which is a plus for getting people to buy your book. * It’s a trillion times easier to get your printed copy in a bookstore. Enough said. * If you’ve got a publisher, then you’ve got an agent, who will help in setting up book signings and other public relations, which of course will help in selling those books! Not that you won’t have to do any marketing – it’s likely you will have to work just as hard as someone who self pubs, but you may have more doors open to you.
Cons – * It can take a really long time finding an agent to represent you. Then it can take longer to sell your book to a publisher. Then there’s no guarantee your book will stay on the bookstore shelves. * You make less in royalties, since you’ll have to share what you make with those that got you there! * You have less control over your own work. If a publisher wants a change in your manuscript, you’re gonna have to comply.
Cons – * You have to pay for all the editing and cover designs for your book. It’s possible you might have to invest in paying for an editor if you’re traditionally pubbed, too, but it’s a definite if you self pub! * You have to format your book. This takes so. much. time. And is such a pain in the neck! But it’s a must if you want your book to look good when people read it. Sadly, people do judge a book by it’s cover… and it’s inside. If it looks cheap, they will likely put it down and walk away.
Pros – * You can publish your book at anytime! There’s no waiting for the perfect time frame in which the publisher would like to release your latest work. Woo Hoo! * You have more control over what does or does not go into your book. You own the rights to your work and no one can tell you to change it. Yay. * You keep a little bit more of the profit, since you only have to share with whoever distributes your book.
Overall, it seems like the consensus from those that have done both, is that they will continue to do both, depending on the circumstances surrounding their latest work.
What about you? Are you self published or traditionally published? Which do you prefer? Feel free to leave a comment below on your own journey in the publishing process. And add any pros or cons I may have missed above!
Happy reading, friends!