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Which publishing option is best for your book?

The future of publishing is to have connection to readers and the knowledge of what those readers want. Seth Godin

I have spent the last few months reading and listening to a number of podcasts about the different types of publishing.

My advice is to do your research. Speak to authors who have tried any of the three publishing avenues before you decide.

It also depends on what your goal is as an author. Do you want to hold your book in your hands? Or share it with family and friends? Then maybe self-publishing is the way to go. Or do you want to see your book in bookshops and have the support of experts behind you? Then going with a traditional publisher is your best option.

Another important point is to think about your way of measuring your success and validation. Will being published traditionally validate your success? Or will you measure success on how many books you sell? Or how much money you earn as a writer? Or is it about finding readers interested in your book? These are all factors that come into play when deciding on how you hope and plan to publish your book.

The final factor is the cost. Traditional publishers buy your book and pay you an advance. If the book is a success and sells enough to make their money back, you start to earn royalties. In traditional publishing, this is around 10%. It all depends on your contract. If you self-publish, you make approximately 70%, but you must pay, upfront, the costs of editing, design, and marketing.

Do you want creative control? Then self-publishing is the way to go. Or do you prefer someone to make all the decisions for you? Then traditional publishing is for you.

If you want to be an independent author, but going solo makes you nervous, you can opt for hybrid publishing. When using a hybrid publisher, you pay a publishing company to do most of the coordinating, but you retain the creative decisions. You pay more than you would to self-publish, sometimes double, but you have that security and support, and you can learn the process as you go.

If you decide on complete control with self-publishing or support with a hybrid company, do your research. Read the testimonials. Use social media and seek advice to ensure the companies and contractors are reputable.

I have curated an array of pros and cons for both traditional publishing and self-publishing.

How do you determine which is the best option? Look at the pros and cons. Then go down the list and ask yourself:

1. Are the pros essential? Are these your must-have elements?

2. And the cons? Are they a concern? Or not that big a deal for you?

Below is a list of pros and cons for traditional publishing and self-publishing.

Traditional Publishing


  • The publisher pays for all costs upfront

  • Manages the publication of the book

  • A professional team of editors and designers

  • Pays an advancement upfront

  • Shares the profits as royalties

  • A marketing department to support the book at the launch. More chance of media support

  • Seen as prestigious

  • Better chance of hitting the bestseller list


  • Limited chance of being signed. There are hundreds of manuscripts written, and only a tiny percentage of them published.

  • There’s a chance you will land on the slush pile – and stay there

  • If you are a mid-list author, you will need to continue to market your book after the first month or so

  • Slow publishing time frame

  • Errors in print can take months to fix – usually at the second print (if your fortunate to have one)

  • Control the price of the book

  • Decides if the book will be an e-book, audiobook or translated (this depends on the contract signed)

  • Author royalties are paid twice a year

  • The publisher owns the rights to your book for the time as specified in the contract.



  • Guarantee that your book will be published. Your exposure as an author is faster

  • Follow your own timeline

  • You control your intellectual property

  • The author chooses the cost of the book

  • Faster publishing

  • Global distribution

  • Print on Demand (POD )option

  • Faster edits. Real time edits for e-books and POD (though be careful here as you want to publish the very best book—error free.

  • The author earns a higher percentage of the profits earned

  • The author makes all the design decisions. They have complete control over their book

  • Own all the rights for your book: print, e-book, audio large print, and foreign rights

  • The stigma surrounding self-publishing have reduced substantially

  • Able to build a fan base and author platform

  • Faster sales results.

  • Authors are paid monthly

  • Your book stays in the field longer to help attract new readers.

  • You can be your own boss

  • It can be a springboard to traditional publishing


  • ·All financial decisions and costs are the responsibility of the independent author.

  • The author will need to hire and manage all creatives – editors, cover and book designers

  • Do all the marketing for the pre-launch, at release of the book and beyond

  • Find and determine the best editor and designer.

  • It’s difficult and costly to sell your book in bookstores.

  • The book may not become a bestseller or nominated for prestigious awards

  • An author needs an established author platform and online social media presence

Publishing is a business. Writing may be art, but publishing, when all is said and done, comes down to dollars ... Publishing has changed over the years. Nicholas Sparks

Whichever way you decide to publish, remember that it needs to be the very best book before sending it to an agent and publisher or before you hit the publish button. Your reader deserves an engaging and polished story. As an author, you are responsible for giving them that.

And finally, get that draft finished. A high percentage of writers don’t get published at all because they haven’t finished the book.

If you want more information on publishing, including contracts you can visit the following websites:

Happy writing all 🌼

Image Courtesy of Massimo Santi

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