Updated: Jun 16
Congratulations on writing your book!
However, as the first ecstasy subsides, many writers are confronted with the ominous question: What now? You want to share your book but aren’t sure how to do it. Is it worthwhile to pursue a deal with traditional publishing or self-publishing is the preferable route?
Assessing Publication Alternatives
With a plethora of realistic alternatives accessible to prospective authors today, writers are more empowered than ever before. However, with so many options to explore, it may sometimes seem rather daunting.
Which technique is ideal for you is determined by three factors: your degree of comfort with risk, your need for industry validation, and the amount of control you seek over the end product.
This is a very individual choice, and each technique has value.
Never depend on someone else to tell you what to do. After a close examination of the many qualities of each, the likelihood is that one technique will feel more in accordance with your beliefs and interests.
You Receive Significantly More Assistance
When you sign a contract with a conventional publisher, a team of professionals will begin working on your book's preparations for publication. This often comprises an editor, cover designers, and those responsible for formatting and marketing.
There Are No Upfront Fees
A contract with a conventional publisher indicates that the publisher feels your work has a good chance of becoming lucrative. They cover all costs, from editing to design to distribution, and profit from book sales. They may give you an advance as part of your contract (meaning you will get paid upfront a certain amount, which can vary pretty widely depending on the type of book). Additionally, you may receive royalties on each book sold.
Easier to Get Your Book Into Bookstores
Traditional publishers have established partnerships with book retailers and work closely with buyers to ensure that their authors' books are available in as many places as possible. This is beneficial if you want to have your book accessible in brick-and-mortar retailers. Additionally, the publisher is responsible for refunds, which is an important element that we shall explore later.
Validation and Credibility
This last point is the least tangible but maybe one of the most compelling reasons why individuals want to be published conventionally. Obtaining a contract with a conventional publisher might serve as confirmation that your work is of sufficient quality to be admitted to this pretty elite club.
It Is Extremely Competitive
In most circumstances, you'll need to first find an agent. This procedure is almost as tough as obtaining a publisher's acceptance of a manuscript. It might take months or even years. After securing an agency, they will begin pursuing a publishing contract on your behalf, which is another very competitive and time-consuming procedure.
It Is Protracted
Traditional publishing's wheels spin quite slowly. And the process does not begin until you have spent considerable time and effort writing your book.
If you can get both an agency and a publication deal, you should surely celebrate! Because the reality is that many authors never make it beyond the first step. If a respected publisher expresses interest in publishing your novel, you join the estimated 1% of authors who get a contract from a conventional publisher each year. However, more waiting is ahead; it might take between one and three years to have a published book in your hands.
You Abandon Some Creativity
Ultimately, the publisher has final control over most parts of the book, including the cover, title, and even the contents. The publisher provides ideas that they feel will improve the book's substance and salability. Certain authors are averse to make alterations they think are inconsistent with their book's goal.
For many writers, the timeline associated with self-publishing is a very appealing feature. When confronted with a three- to a five-year timeframe for publication, self-publishing becomes an attractive option. Without taking into account the time required to write and prepare your book for publication, once you are ready to submit your file to the publishing platform, it may take as little as four hours to four weeks (although it may take longer in certain cases) for it to be completed and available for sale. Payment for any books sold also arrives much more quickly to the author. The majority of platforms pay monthly, beginning with your first sale.
When you self-publish, you retain complete control. This means you have complete creative control over the finished product, from the editorial to the title to the cover design. Additionally, you choose where and how to sell your book if you want to expand its distribution and sales.
While royalties vary according to the self-publishing path chosen, the proportion of sales that you get is substantially larger than with traditional publishing. For instance, an ebook priced from $2.99 and $9.99 on Amazon will earn the author a 70% royalties. This compares to the normal royalties of between 7% and 25% paid by a traditional publisher.
Authors Must Cover Initial Costs
If you're writing a book to generate sales, you'll want to ensure it's properly done. It is strongly suggested that you engage an editor, a cover designer, and a marketing assistant. Additionally, you will need to pay for the publishing platform's services, which may be paid ahead or as a percentage of your sales.
You Are Alone
Having complete control also entails accountability for all stages of the publication process. Certain self-publishing sites provide some assistance, albeit at a fee. Without the resources and relationships of a publishing business, you will be responsible for all elements of promoting and selling your book.
Insufficiency of Traditional Prestige
Although it is disappearing, there is still some stigma associated with self-publishing. This is a non-issue for many. However, for other authors, the prestige associated with traditional publishing is non-negotiable.
Thus, how do you choose which path to take?
Choose what works best for you!