Self-Publishing is personally the route I chose and I'm happy with this choice. To elaborate what it is, it's basically where the author is responsible for publishing, book design, editing, and marketing. To simply put it, the author is responsible for doing everything themselves without representation from any agent. This is a huge thing, choosing this route means you don't have to talk to an agent to represent you.
Back in the day, Self-Publishing used to have a bad stigma for producing books that were poorly written and many people did not take Indie Authors seriously. However, part of that stigma was caused by the fact many of these authors were victimized by Vanity Publishers. However today Self-Published authors including me are finally getting the respect that we deserve. No longer is self-publishing considered a "Cop Out", there are many successful indie authors these days.
With Self-Publishing the possibilities are endless, you have full control of your editing, book cover, formatting style and control of you characters point of view. In otherwords you have 100% creative control over your book and nobody can tell you to change anything in your book. Personally, I love having 100% of my book, it's my personality that sells most of my books and for me, self-publishing gives you the best shot to show off your personality with your fans.
In fact, more authors are choosing to become self-published and studies show that self-publishing will become the dominant way to publish books. However, this is a harder route to go with once you do publish your work when it comes to marketing, editing and creating your book cover.
Traditional publishing, on the other hand, is the opposite of self-publishing. The publishers include the big 5 publishers and in order to be even considered for them, you must have an agent. Let me tell you some of these agents do have rather stingy requirements and even some of the great writers get rejected. I have nothing against that because it is quality control on their part and they simply look for the best. They are highly criticized because they only accept about 5% of books, leaving other great authors out of the loop or worse causing them to go with a "Vanity Publisher" out of desperation.
When you submit to a publisher/Agent, you have to submit several things. One is the synopsis (Not the books blurb), a query letter and an excerpt of your book. Most of them will not ask you for a completed manuscript unless requested afterward. Also, you must follow their guidelines to submit, if not you won't even be considered. Also, not every publisher is for every author, although the hardest genre to get in is a Political Thriller as that is a very hot-button issue with a lot of sensitively.
Some Traditional publishers won't consider your work if it doesn't fit it within a certain word count. Most of the time the book is too long. While I don't like the idea of that today's generation of readers don't want to read a 500-page novel.
Another thing about Traditional Publishing it that you lose creative control of your work and you're giving up the rights to your work. In otherwords your book isn't your work anymore. You can't change the cover, your book can be edited ruining your POV of your characters and you'll be losing royalties from sales. Yes, you can get an advance, but only if your book is that good. I say if you can get published traditionally then go for it, just be prepared to lose your creative control.
- You have 100% creative control over your book. Including cover, editing, storyline, characters and price.
- There are fewer steps required to actually publish your book. Once your book is formatted correctly.
- You get all royalties, no sharing royalties with a publishing company.
- Possible to publish your book with little to no investment. That's if you know what you're doing.
- You can change the price of your book at anytime.
- You retain full ownership of your book.
- Good for full-time authors
- You must do all the editing, book cover, and formatting on your own. Unless you're willing to pay a professional to do so.
- Unless you have the skills to do everything, you will end up spending a decent amount of money just to get your book to your satisfaction.
- You must market your own book as well, which means you'll need all your social media tools and be on social media often to let people know you even exist. Your book will not sell itself.
- Beta-Readers become that much more important to the success fo your book.
- Statistics say an average of 100 copies of self-published books are sold in a lifetime.
- If you're not in it for the long term, self-publishing might not be for you.
- Once your are accepted for publication the publisher will take care of your editing, cover and partial marketing.
- You will gain more prestige as a traditionally published author.
- You may get paid an advance on your book.
- The publisher takes care of most things, making it good for those authors who might not be full-time just yet.
- If accepted, you will pay little to nothing for services such as editing and book covers.
- Bragging Rights
- usually, more copies sold.
- Once you're accepted for publication, you can kiss your ownership of the book goodbye.
- You will be unable to change the price of the book without approval from the publishing company.
- It's now their book, which means they can change anything they feel like is necessary to their own needs.
- You lose most of your creative control.
- Even though your publisher will market it a little bit, publishers have become lazy and put the burden on the author. So you still end up having to market the book anyway.
- Probably the biggest drawback is that you have to give up at least 50% of your book sales to the publisher. Some publishers will take away even more, up to 70%.
- You are now in a legally binding contract that you cannot get out of before a certain amount of time.
- The chances of being accepted are rather low.
No matter which path you may choose, both of them have their strong and weak points. At the end of the day, it's up to you the author to decided what your needs are. In my case I'm a full-time author, would I jump at a chance to be traditionally published? Like sure I would. However I understand my creative control will be compromised, some of you won't mind that. I hope this blog helped you just a little bit.