Differences Between Traditional Book Publishing and Self-Publishing

Self-Publishing isn’t new. The Bronte sisters Emily, Charlotte, and Anne self-published their first book, a collection of poetry, in 1846.

Advances in technology and the internet have made self-publishing faster, easier, and cheaper than ever before. Many new authors are choosing self-publishing instead of traditional publishing.

Self-published books printed by book publishing company

Traditional versus self-publishing can be a divisive topic in author groups but neither answer is right for every author. Sometimes one author may choose to traditionally publish one book while self-publishing the next.

What is Traditional Publishing?

In traditional publishing, an author submits their work to a publishing house. If their work is accepted, and only a small percentage are, the author signs a contract giving the publishing house permission to print, distribute, and sell their books. In return, the author gets a small percentage of profits from the book sales.

Authors typically have no say in the number of books printed, cover art, book size, and other important decisions about their book. In essence, the author hands over their book and entrusts the publishing house to do what they do best.

What is Self-publishing?

In self-publishing, the author takes the reigns in book production. They choose every aspect of how their book will be printed including size, binding, and cover art. The author makes choices about distribution, pricing, and print size. The author finances the production of the book and earns all the profits from book sales.

Which Should I Choose?

Choosing whether or not to self-publish is a choice that depends on the author and the book. Often, publishers will only choose to publish books they believe have wide commercial appeal.
Publishers are in business to make money. An author might have an amazing book that publishers don’t pick up because they don’t believe it will have the sales numbers they require. They may base this decision on the subject matter, author name recognition, and market research about genre popularity cycles.

If your book doesn’t look to publishers like the next big thing, they might choose to pass it up. Publishers can only publish a limited number of books so they choose those they believe will sell best.

Even if your book has commercial appeal, that doesn’t mean traditional publishing is the right choice for you. Many authors like having control over all the aspects of their book. No publisher will ever be as invested in the outcomes of a book as the author is.

Additionally, some authors choose to self-publish because the money is better. They don’t have to share profits from sales with the publishing company and agents.

Every author should weigh the pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing for each book and in each circumstance to decide what the best choice is for their needs.

Ready to Self-Publish?

Instant Publisher can help you self-publish your book. Contact us today for more information. You can reach us by phone at 1-800-259-2592.

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