Traditional vs. Self-pubbing


As I get closer to the end of editing and what not, I start thinking about publishing. Okay, I’m not nearly there, but closer than just starting out. My first round of edits are almost done so, getting there.

For the longest time there was one route to go, through an agent. Now with the wonderful internet, authors have more options.

Self-publishing has been getting bigger over the past few years. With Amazon, B&N, the iPod, android phones and other electronic devices readers aren’t limited to paper books. Ebooks are the “new big thing”. Two of the big companies, Amazon and B&N, have put the entire process in authors hands if the author so chooses. Self-publishing from the comfort of your own home.

You don’t have to deal with an agent, publishers or anything of that sort. Everything is entirely up to you. You have full control.

Awesome right? Well, yes and no.

One of the things authors get with self-publishing is control. Everything is up to the author. From edits to promotions. The design of the books cover and if anything is taken out, replaced or added. It’s 100% up to the author. With traditional publishing, once you sign the contract, nothing is your decision. You may get to decide on the final cover or your suggestions, but not much else is yours.

Time.

With traditional publishing it can take YEARS to get a book to the point that a publisher is ready and it hits the shelves. YEARS. With self-pubbing it could be mere weeks. Of course you don’t want to send out shit. I would hope by time you’re ready to start the publishing process you have polished it to perfection, gotten rid of plot holes and made it readable. I have read self-pubbed books that were so horrible it hurt my poor brain. Don’t do that.

Marketing.

A lot of authors who write for niche markets find it difficult to land an agent and a publisher. If you know your niche well and who would buy it, you can market it how you want. You know how to reach those people. Self-pubbing can be a great benefit for those folks.

Perhaps your main character is too young, yet too old at the same time. How is that possible? When the MC is between YA and adult. The tedious 18-25 year old. They’re YA, but at the same time they’re not. My MC is 18 in The Last Grimm. I hit that too young, yet too old stage. I don’t want to change her age, it works for the story.

Money.

As a self-published author you keep 40%-70% of the profits. A traditionally published author keeps 10%-40%. I prefer the 70%.

Of course, again, if you send out a shit novel…you’ll be getting shit money in return. You can’t send out a first draft and expect rave reviews. It’s just not going to happen. Where as if you send out quality work, you can expect more return.

However, there are always downfalls to everything.

In self-publishing you are alone.

Traditionally published authors have an entire team behind them. An editor, agent, marketing team, someone who creates the cover art (self-published authors have to do their own or hire someone to do it), printers and many more I probably don’t even know about. Having that team behind you as support and doing everything can be nice. They’re specialists at what they do and know what they’re doing. In self-publishing you have to become a specialist in everything and at least know how to pretend to know what you’re doing.

Time here as well.

Everything is up to you. You have to take time out of YOUR schedule to do absolutely everything. If you thought it was easy peasy after writing the book, you’re wrong. It just gets more difficult because now you have to figure out how to market the book, get it ready for publication and find betas to make sure your book is up to par.

Money.

Just because you’ll get a majority of your profits, doesn’t mean you’ll make any. Not to mention, if you don’t know how to or don’t have someone willing to help you out with your cover art, you have to hire someone to do it. That costs money. If you want hard copies, that’s up to you. Getting those hard copies bought up, that’s up to you. You end up loosing money before making any. If you do make any. There is no guarantee that your investment will become a profit.

And of course there is the self-publishing prejudice. Yes, there are some who still believe that self-publishing means that you’re not good enough. They think that since you did it yourself, that means you weren’t good enough for a “real” publisher. Which isn’t always true. Some authors just get fed up with it. Some just want to have the freedom to choose what happens to their books.

So I’m in the battle of do I want to attempt to get traditionally published, or go with self-publishing. I still have some time to make the final decision…so I’ll be thinking away.

Do you have any input or opinions about self-pubbing vs. traditional? Share it in the comments!

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3 thoughts on “Traditional vs. Self-pubbing

  1. I have traveled both routes. The MOST important aspect of publishing is not production (the physical creation of the book) nor is it the writing. The most important aspect of publishing (selling) a book is marketing.
    You can publish a kindle for free. You can publish a paperback for less than $800 (Infinity publishing). But getting that book noticed, or in a bookstore is the strength of traditional publishers.
    If you are writer that sells millions of copies you will get control. But Publishing is not a solitary process, even if you do it alone.

    In my (experienced) opinion, if you can become represented and if you can sell a book to a traditional publisher, do it by all means. There is nothing better than having a support group who sends your book out and gathers your money and sends it to you as you write another. You can always self-publish.

    1. Self-publishing without massive self-promotion is a waste of time. No one will accidentally find you with so many options published daily

    2. 100% of $0 is still 0.

    3. Publishers know how to sell books…

    Steven E. Browne
    Author – Video Editing (self-published, then sold to traditional after much success and headaches), Protecting the Source (sold all 2,000 self-published paperbacks), Holly Would, But Stacy Won’t – little promotion, even fewer sales.

  2. I think every self-published writer wants to get traditionally published at one point, but it’s more difficult to land an agent now, especially if you don’t have an audience. It doesn’t help that more and more people are leaning towards ebooks, so agents/publishers don’t want to place bets on unknown new authors. Self-publishing helps with that; you gradually build an audience through your first book or two, and that can make agents look at you twice before considering rejecting your book. I think they complement each other to some extent, no?

    • I definitely agree that most if not all self-pubbed authors long for the traditional publishing every now and then, but I’m not sure if I agree about it being harder to get an agent after self-pubbing. I know it’s rare, but I’ve been reading more and more stories, blogs and what not about authors actually getting traditionally published or at least offers after self-pubbing. I’ve even read about agents kicking themselves after seeing that rejected novel taking off even though they rejected it.

      Which is another reason why I’m leaning towards self-pubbing. I’m not sure how I feel about getting an offer solely based on the fact a few people deem it worthy.

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