Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing: Which is the Best for Writers?

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Gone were the days when the publishing of books were monopolized by traditional publishing houses. Writers in the past will not see their manuscripts published until the publishers have approved them. But today, writers have the means to self-publish their books. The modern book publishing provides the writers more opportunities and several options to present their books to people. There’s the print-on-demand (POD) and the e-book publication that use custom printing or a web-based publishing platform service.

Self-publishing and traditional publishing each have their advantages and it’s up to the writers to determine which procedure they want to take.


The Advantages of Self-Publishing

  • Faster Publication

It only takes several months or less to self-publish books and release them to the market whereas print books take as much as two years. Self-publishing e-books is the fastest because the complete process will only take a few weeks. This means faster exposure and income for the writer.

  • Writer Control

The writer retains complete control of all the processes from planning up to marketing with electronic self-publishing. It is the writer who decides the book format, the cover design and any other critical decisions. Yet, less control is available with POD.

  • Rights Retention

Self-publishing enables the writer to retain all rights and he/she can do whatever he/she wants with the book anytime. The writer will not be constrained by the requirements of a publishing house including the editors, designers, and marketers.

  • Easier Online Marketing

Cisco Systems predicted in 2010 that the population of Internet users will grow in 2025 to 25 billion with estimated revenue of $3 trillion. This means that marketing of books will be easier than before.

  • No Excess Inventory with POD

With POD custom printing service, the writers can print books as needed. Traditional publishing on the other hand, could possibly leave them with tons of unsold books. Writers also don’t have to ship and keep masses of books with POD.

  • Better Royalties

Writers earn more when they self-publish than what they can get from publishing houses. They also retain the rights for adaptations like comic books, TV shows, and movies.

  • Longer Shelf Life

Self-publishing gives you a longer period to reach an audience. It will give you time to gain followers and a profitable writing career. Unlike traditional publishing, in which your book can only stay for a maximum of two months in the bookstore before it will be replaced by newly published books.



The Advantages of Traditional Publishing

  • Advance Compensation

Traditional publishing houses usually pay their writers in advance on the royalties that they expected their titles to earn. The royalties can range between 7.5% and 15% or more depending on the publisher. Since many writers want to receive upfront payment, they prefer traditional publishing of their works.

  • Editorial Support

Once the publisher accepts a manuscript for publication, the in-house editor and proofreader will thoroughly edit the writer’s work. This is to ensure that the final book has no mistakes, typos, and story issues.  The writer as a result, will be saved from the cost and responsibility of handling this process. Most publishers require their editors and proofreaders to have a Bachelor’s degree preferably related to Journalism or English to ensure proficient editing.

  • Publishing & Printing Costs

With traditional publishing, all publishing and printing costs will be covered by the publisher. This is a major advantage to the writer because self-publishing costs can sometimes go as much as thousands of dollars.

  • Marketing Support

Publishers generally handle the book marketing with the cooperation of the writers. They have the money and resources to put up bookstores and organize media coverage for the launching of the book. Publishing houses could also help their writer get reviews and testimonials which are critical for book marketing.

  • Acclaim & Legitimacy

Most people believed that traditional publishing houses are more legitimate than self-publishing writers. They give their published works higher credibility than they do unknown writers. This perception is due to the poor editing of self-published books that many writers released regularly.

Publishing of books has changed remarkably in the last decade and many people believe that it’s for the better. Self-publishing has allowed writers to publish their works in new and innovative ways, whereas many traditional publishing methods still remain open to those who want to use them. Self-publishing and traditional publishing has their own advantages but, if you want to capture the widest possible audience, traditional publishing might be the one for you.

Joe DiChiara
Joe DiChiara
Joe DiChiara is a best selling author, author mentor, and publisher. He has an extensive career in business serving thousands of small business owners over a 30 year career as a Certified Public Accountant. Today Joe’s goal is to empower small business owners by teaching them the fundamentals of starting, building and running a small business. His publishing business is an extension of that mission as he believes that writing is one of the most powerful tools an entrepreneur can employ. He believes strongly that if you have an inspirational story, knowledge and experience that can help, educate, inspire and empower it’s your duty to share it with the world.

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