Traditional publishing is the established system of publishing, where the rights of a book are bought by a publishing house. It can be summarized as thus: You get paid to publish. On the other hand, in self-publishing, an author independently publishes a book at their own expense. It can be summarized as thus: You pay to publish.
For a better perspective, let us see the pros and cons of each type of publishing.
The Pros of Traditional Publishing
1. It Gives Validation
Traditional publishing gives an author prestige and validation. It is the ultimate proof of one’s writing ability. Traditional publishing houses take a risk accepting your book and only make money when it sells well.
2. Advance Payment
The biggest advantage of traditional publishing is that, you usually get paid in advance, regardless of whether your book sells or not.
3. You Get More Marketing Support
With traditional publishing, the publishing company takes care of promoting and marketing your book to the intended audience. You have the option to do nothing, although your publishing contract may state you do have to be involved in marketing. Usually this is in the form of attending events and signing books.
Cons of Traditional Publishing
1. You Have Little Control
Once your book is accepted, you have little to no control over cover design, theme and most things that pertain to your book. Usually this is okay, as publishing houses have one goal in mind – to sell as many copies of your book as possible.
2. It Takes a Longer
Getting traditionally published could take up to two years or even more.
3. Smaller Royalty
This is the biggest con of traditional publishing. You are only entitled to about fifteen percent (15%) of the profits from your book, depending on your contract.
Pros of Self Publishing
1. Larger Royalty
This is the bait of self-publishing. With this type of publishing, you retain the largest share of the profits; up to seventy percent or more.
2. Retain Creative Control
With self-publishing, you have total control over your book cover and the content of your book, as opposed to traditional publishing.
3. Faster Exposure
With self-publishing, your book gets to the market faster than when published through the route of traditional publishing.
Cons of Self Publishing
1. No Editorial Support
With self-publishing, the onus is on you to format your book, copyedit it, get a professional cover and make the content appealing to readers. This can get expensive but skipping these steps can doom your book.
2. No Marketing support
The job of marketing and promoting your book is yours, and the success of your book relies on how well you promoted it.
3. Less Prestige
Self-publishing has a bad rep among certain circles, and some readers will only read a book with a stamp of the notable publishers, as a self-published book is often seen as a book with lower standards. This trend is slowly changing though, as self-publishing becomes more widely accepted and authors invest more resources into polishing their works.