Sunday, April 16, 2017

Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing - 3 Major Differences

Last Saturday I sat on a panel at the Ohioana Book Festival called Publishing: Let's Count The Ways. There were four authors and we'd all published both traditionally through a publisher and self published our own books. It turned out to be an amazing panel and what I took away from it was that a lot of people have questions about self publishing. Some don't even know where to start.

So, with that in mind, I'm going to be writing a series of blog posts to hopefully help some of you out there who are thinking about self publishing. There's a lot to know if you choose to go the self publishing route and I don't claim to know it all, but hopefully I'll be able to share some of my knowledge.

Self Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing


You've written your novel, so now what? Do you find an agent? A publisher? Or do you self publish?

The answer isn't as straight forward as you'd think. In fact, it takes a fair amount of research, and to be honest, a little soul searching to decide which publishing option is right for you. Below are three of the main differences between self publishing and traditional publishing.

1) Genre. Some genres sell more ebooks than paperbacks. Romance, for example. This makes self publishing extremely attractive to many romance writers these days. When 90% of your sales are ebooks, it isn't as important to get a physical copy of your book into book stores.

But with other genres, young adult for example, paperbacks still outsell ebooks. That makes having your books in stores an important factor, which is less likely to happen if you're not with a traditional publisher.

Research your genre of choice and find out how most of your potential readers are buying their books. This might effect which publishing option you choose.

2) Choice. Before you sign with a traditional publisher, make sure you read and understand your contract. Most authors give up any say in the cover, title, and even editing decisions when it comes to their manuscript. It's best to know what to expect going in.

If you choose to self publish, you have complete and total control. This can be a good thing, or it can be disastrous. Cover, title, editing...all of it is up to you.

3) Cost. One of the advantages to traditional publishing is that the publisher covers the cost of publishing the book. They pay for the cover design, the editing, formatting, and usually some of the marketing. Depending on the publisher and the contract, sometimes the author is even given an advance. The publisher is making an investment in the author and the book.

With self publishing, the author has to cover all the cost associated with publishing and marketing. This can run anywhere from several hundred dollars to several thousand. Instead of a publisher investing in the author and their book, the author themselves are doing the investing.


Did this blog post help answer any of your questions? If you're already published, are you traditionally published or self published? Do you agree with what I said above? Let me know in the comments.

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