Self Publishing Vs. Traditional Publishing (my take)
It's a common question a lot of authors ask.
So, what's the difference? And are there pros and cons to each?
Yes and yes.
The pros of self publishing:
1. You keep all the rights
2. You keep all the royalties.
3. You market how you see fit.
4. You're in total control.
5. You can publish almost immediately, and don't have to wait months or years.
The cons of self publishing:
1. Quality control: if you're new or inexperienced, you NEED to hire a PROFESSIONAL editor if you want to take all this seriously. If not, you may get some nasty reviews. And lose potential readers.
2. You're in total control, meaning you bear every responsibility: marketing, promotion, getting a professional cover, proper formatting... oh, and did I mention an editor?
3. You're going to spend some money making this look like a real book.
4. You alone are in charge of marketing! More time is spent marketing—or should be spent—than actually writing and editing. You don't have a professional who's experienced to help you, or someone who will spread your name around and get your novel reviewed by NYT and so forth. And getting a self pubbed book reviewed by most editorial reviewers is very difficult (if not impossible).
The pros of traditional publishers:
- They will edit your book and make it awesome. However, YOU need to edit it first and make it very presentable to them.
- They are experienced, they have connections, they have advertising money.
- You COULD get an advance.
- Your book may find its way into brick and mortar bookstores.
- Possible book signings and events.
- They will probably mentor you, letting you know what's involved in your own daily promotion.
The cons of traditional publishers:
- You don't keep all the profits.
- If it's accepted, you'll have to wait a while before it's available.
- They're cut throat and blunt, so you'll need tough skin and a lot of perseverance.
Some very successful authors who've hit NYT bestseller status will tell beginners to go the self-publishing route, but I'd advise you not to listen to everything they say. Why?
Because they've built a BRAND before they've decided to scrap the traditional route and go total freelance. If Stephen King did that, his sales would not ebb. Why? Because he's established himself already. How? Through the traditional route.
I'm not saying it's impossible, but it's highly unlikely. These days, anyone can pump out a novel and upload it to Amazon. So many people are doing it, the market is flooded. Go to Amazon and see how many books there are, then you'll see how hard it is to be noticed through the white noise. Again, it's not impossible. And if you did or do decide to self publish, and don't sell many copies, you'll know why—readers have TOO many books to choose from. I'm not being biased for/against self or traditional publishing; they both have their place. I'm just trying to supply you with enough information to help make your own decision, that's all. Some self-published books have done VERY well (ever hear of this 50 Shades of Grey story?). Some traditionally published books don't sell. In fact, only one out of half a dozen even turns a profit. I wish you, the author, much success. Remember, you don't become a bestselling author overnight. It doesn't work that way, unless you're lucky enough to catch lightning in a bottle like a select few. The best writers have spent years and even decades honing their craft, reading, writing, reading, rewriting, and practicing this art for a long time before they became a success. The worst thing you can do is give up. Just keep on trying. What have you got to lose? :)