Monday, April 9, 2018

Self Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

What Should You Do?

If you have written a book and you would like to get it published, there's likely one big question you've asked yourself. How do you get started?

There are basically two options. You can self publish, or you can find an editor and publish with a reputable publishing house, aka traditional publishing. So, how do you choose?

Should you publish traditionally or should you self publish? Where do you get started when you're looking for a home for your manuscript? The following nuances should help you decide.

Traditional Publishing Route

Traditional publishing is the way publishing has been done for years. The editors and publishers act as gatekeepers to ensure that high quality books are introduced into the world.

When you publish with an established publisher, whether it's a small press or one of the "Big 5", an editor will pay you for your work if they want to publish it. You may or may not get a publicist or marketing team behind you. But the publishing house will likely give you guidance and help along your publication journey. It also seems to take forever and don't get to make all the decisions.

To a lot of people, traditional publishing feels safer or like it's more real. You also don't make as much money per book, although you will likely get a nice advance, depending on your genre and your contract.

Self-Publishing Path

Self publishing has exploded in the last decade. It is a great option for writers to get noticed and get their work out there. It's faster and often more profitable. But it doesn't come without a few drawbacks. It's easier to publish your work, but that means it's also easier to publish when the work isn't actually quite ready. You have to find a good editor, pay for the editing services, a copy editor too. Book cover design work. Marketing, and more. You have to do it ALL. It's a huge learning curve and a lot of work. If that sounds like fun, then go for it!

I have at least two books that I may want to self publish one day, but I'm not ready to learn everything that goes into it just yet. Self publishing gives you more freedom over choices, more money per book, and you can get your work out there a lot faster. But you don't have an editor, an art director, a team of people helping you and cheering for you. Self publishing is kind of the go-it-alone route and it's perfect for those who love adventures and want to stay in control.

But I urge you - do it right. Get an editor (or two or three) and make sure the quality is high standard and professional. And never ever ever PAY to have your book published. That's called vanity publishing. Really it's not publishing at all. It's paying to have your book PRINTED. Paying a vanity press is NOT self publishing, at least not anymore.

How to Decide on the Right Publishing Path for Your Book

Both options are viable. You can also be both traditionally published and self published. That's called a hybrid author. I may fit into that category.

If you believe in a book and feel that you can have better success with it on your own, then try self publishing.

If you believe in a book and you feel like the traditional route will allow more people to see it, and you're very, very patient, then go traditional. Ultimately, only you are going to know which path to pursue. Way out the pros and cons and go for it! And even though YOU may be ready for your book to be published, make sure your BOOK is ready too.

Which path are YOU pursuing? Share in the comments!

Keep on keepin' on...



  1. I've done both, and although I might eventually try traditional publishing again, I am LOVING self-publishing. Everything you said is true -- the control and the responsibility is all on you, and it needs to be taken seriously. But man, it is a blast.

    1. I am so happy you are having a blast with self publishing, Kim. I'd love to know if you're doing any Facebook ad promotions.

  2. I started as a self-published author and went on to both hybrid and traditional publishing. Right now, my contemporary late in life romance, THE DIVORCE PLANNER, is undergoing edits through a traditional publisher. I'm hoping to have more success with traditional publishing.

    1. Hi, Angela! Your novel THE DIVORCE PLANNER has such a cool title. I wish you all the success in the world with your traditional publishing efforts. Keep on keepin' on...

  3. Tough to get a traditional publisher for first time authors so self-publishing may be a viable route, but I'm not ready for that kind of step yet. Thanks for the blog post, Christie.

  4. It's tough for a first-time author to get a traditional publisher, so self-publishing looks more like a viable option but just not ready for that step yet but thanks for the blog post, Christie.

  5. I did self-publishing (vanity) years ago and it is not a route I would take again. I am going to try self-publishing through Amazon as I have researched a lot about it. I don't mind taking the time to set things up. I agree a good editor should be used and if you are going to send money, an editor makes sense. Also getting my book to group readers is a good route as well. I am like Angela above, I will try the self-publishing route and in the future try traditional.


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