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Traditionally Publish or Self Publish? That Is the Question!

Many authors are struggling with the decision of how they should publish their manuscripts.

Traditionally Publish or Self Publish? That Is the Question!

Sep 18, 2013

Jessica Parker
Publishing Project Manager

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Many authors are struggling with the decision of how they should publish their manuscripts. Since the rise of self-publishing, there are several things one must consider before making their decision. There was an informative article in the Huffington Post recently that discusses some of the major pros and cons.

  1. Who pays? You or the publisher: One of the main differences between traditional and self-publishing is finances. When you traditionally publish, the publisher takes on all the risks and pays an advance to the author for the rights of the manuscript. In self-publishing, the author assumes the financial risk, and pays a self-publishing company for the services needed to publish their book (editing, cover design, marketing, etc.).
  2. Distribution: Another key difference between the two institutions is distribution. When a book is traditionally published, it is more likely to end up in physical bookstores such as Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, etc. With self-publishing, in-store distribution is a bit of a challenge.
  3. Control: If you choose to self-publish your book, you have more control of how the product turns out. You work hands-on with editors and designers in the process from taking your manuscript to a published book. On the other hand, if you traditionally publish your book, you do not have control of how the manuscript is edited, designed, or marketed.
  4. Rights: Traditional publishers pay you an advance for the rights to your book. Whereas when you self-publish, you own everything 100%.
  5. Marketing: Traditional publishers generally handle all of the marketing of the book for you (although that is quickly changing in today’s market), but if you self-publish, it falls on you to market your book.

Depending on your goals in publishing your book, some of these factors may have more weight for you than others in making a decision on which path to pursue. More and more authors that were once published by a traditional publisher are turning to self-publishing due to the control and financial aspects of the publishing process. A few lucky authors have started out as self-published and were later picked up by a traditional publisher and found huge success, such as E.L. James, author of Fifty Shades of Grey.



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