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Hundreds of Helpful Articles

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Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing – Part 2

In part 1 we looked at traditional publishing; now it’s the turn of self-publishing.

What is Self-Publishing?

With self-publishing, you can say goodbye to the publisher and do it all yourself. There are plenty of self-publishing platforms to choose from and, as an idea of just how successful it is, between 30% and 40% of all eBook sales are self-published books. Any author opting for self-publishing must have their book edited and designed professionally before choosing a publishing company. Most make no charge upfront but will take a commission from each sale, anywhere between 10% ad 5%; the rest is yours and the money starts coming in with the first book you sell.


Books get published very quickly on a self-publishing platform and even those in niches or from first-time authors that a traditional publisher wouldn’t normally touch can get in front of a potential audience. And, rather than the year or more with traditional, self-publishing can take just days or weeks.

As an author, creative control is yours and the editors and designers you use will work to what you want. If something doesn’t work, modifying it is simple. eBooks are not in print so you can make any change to the book even after it's been published. However, if you need to make significant changes you will need a new ISBN.

Books stay on the shelf longer. With traditional publishing, shelf life is limited and they are often removed so another book can take their place. Self-published digital books are always in store and will be until you remove them.


Marketing your book is entirely down to you so you will need to invest time in this – creating a  website, updating social media, building your mailing list and so on, whatever it takes to drive potential buyers to your book. This isn’t always a downside because many authors want full control of this side of things.

Professional services like editing and design are not free so be prepared to pay out. You also don’t get to spend so much time writing; instead, you will be looking for service providers, marketing and promoting your book, monitoring how well sales are going, or not and everything else that a publisher does for you.

Lastly, your book will not be stocked in a physical bookstore, limiting your reach to the online markets. Most retailers won’t touch your book, even in print form because you can’t guarantee book returns as traditional publishers do.

So, which do you go for? If you don’t want to spend the time marketing or you don’t want to pay out for professional services then the traditional publishing route is the one to take. You will need to spend time looking for a publisher to accept you though, and you will have to wait out the publishing process.

If you want your book on the market quickly, don’t want a contract and want flexibility and freedom, then head down the self-publishing route. However, it will cost you in professional services and there is none of the support offered by traditional publishers.

The choice is yours.

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Anne-Marie Reynolds