3 Reasons to Traditional Publish and 5 Reasons to Self-Publish your Book

There is nothing wrong with wanting to traditionally publish your book, just as there is nothing wrong with wanting to self-publish your novel. The US versus THEM mentality is amusing for only so long.

Traditional and Self-Publishing are just two roads to the same goals. Depending on what your goals are, one might be better than the other for you. Although I’ve noticed a trend were best-selling authors have turned to self-publishing their back-list or new books. Some authors even straddle the fence and do both.

Sometimes one option is better than the other for the author or the books.

Reasons to Publish Traditional

#1: because that’s the way the market currently works. Publishers have built-in credibility that self-published books have a hard time earning.

#2: the “big name, big-budget” publishers offer advances, promotional material, and gather reviews from major publications. (True, but how many authors actually earn that advance. How many have to pay it back? Then there is the marketing and promotion of the book that, unless you are a big selling name, you have to pay for, usually with that advance. So either route you’re paying for it.)

#3: Publishing houses can get the books into stores where customers may buy them and self-published books may not be accepted.

Reasons to Self-Publish

#1: Your project doesn’t fit the mold or format of traditional publishers. (Richard Paul Evans’ The Christmas Box, too short to be a novel and too long to be a short story.)

#2: Don’t have time to wait for acceptance. Or the information in the book is time sensitive. (Lu Ann Brobst Staheli’s When Hearts Conjoin, the author and mom of the conjoined twins wanted it done before the surgery to separate the twins, the documentary, and their appearance on Oprah.)

#3: Closed or limited publication opportunities.

#4: There is a targeted niche for your book and it won’t fit with traditional publishers.

#5: to break into traditional publishing (I’m adding this one, because the entire article implies this a few times.)

I had more to say, but rather I’m just going to link to this post because Kristine Kathryn Rusch says this so much better than I tried to. It starts out as a bit of a rant and moves into the Pros and Cons of Traditional and self-publishing in regards to business.

Do you agree or disagree? What are your reasons for Self-Publishing?

My reasons? I want control over the content of my book. I want to have a say in the rewrites. I don’t want the added stress involved in the traditional publishing route, the need to produce on a deadline rather than at my own pace. After all, I’m a full-time writer, mother of two rambunctious girls, and a rancher.

Categories: Self-Publishing, Traditional Publishing | Tags: , , ,

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11 thoughts on “3 Reasons to Traditional Publish and 5 Reasons to Self-Publish your Book

  1. #2 in the “Reasons to Traditionally Publish” took me by surprise.

    #2: the “big name, big-budget” publishers offer advances, promotional material, and gather reviews from major publications. (True, but how many authors actually earn that advance. How many have to pay it back? Then there is the marketing and promotion of the book that, unless you are a big selling name, you have to pay for, usually with that advance. So either route you’re paying for it.)

    This is something that is true, and I never really took the time to think this one out. All I keep hearing is that authors get an advance with a traditional publisher, and that is what they are aiming for. But really, what does happen if they don’t earn it back from sales? The publisher isn’t going to want to take a hit. I’m guessing that the author’s chances of getting published again (at least under the same name) is nil if their book flops.

    And it’s true that I rarely hear traditionally published authors mention that they do have to fork over money for the marketing, and that could come out of the advance.

    So in the end, how much did they actually make?

    I think the glamorous life of a traditionally published author is blown out of proportion, and sadly, this has led to some authors who hope to get that big publisher to assume that once they get published, all the work is over.

    Personally, having to worry about earning out an advance is too stressful for me. :-)

    • SAB

      If the book flops, think of a pen name, because publishers won’t buy from the same name. As for the life of a published author, the only true benefit is that the retail store take you seriously enough to put your books on the shelf for a few days.

  2. I like the idea of self publishing because of the control factor. I want more and a publishing house is going to want it all. However, are there not smaller publishing houses for niche markets like Christian books that have more flexibility?

    • SAB

      I know the feeling. The thing about smaller publishing houses is they have to be wary of the market or go under real fast. And niches can be very limited, because publishers don’t like taking a chance that the book might not sell. Christian publishers are just as picky as the rest. A friend of mine wrote Christian Romances for years, when she wanted to add a little more spice to the book, she was critized for it. And when I say spice, the man touched his wife on the knee and squeezed.

      I’ve found niches are even more strict in someways. If you’d like to share more about your experience to the contrary, I’d love to hear it.

      • I’ve never dealt with a small press myself, but I’ve read so many negative things about some of them – problems getting royalties, they did no more marketing than a POD place would, some of them couldn’t even sell to bookstores etc etc – that it just seemed like it would be more of a hassle. That’s not to say there aren’t great ones out there, but I just didn’t feel like tying to weed through them to find one – especially when many seem to offer little more than in imprint name and ISBN number.

      • A man squeezing his wife’s knee is considered “spice”? Whoever thinks that is too much should definitely not read any of my stuff. LOL

        • Stephannie Beman

          When she told me, I couldn’t believe it either.

    • I believe Desert Breeze does. I have some Christian author friends who publish through that ocmpany and said my books might be accepted there (because they apparently allow sex in marriage). But please don’t quote me on that since I do not have this information firsthand.

      I did seriously consider a small publisher, but I guess what I really wanted was full control over my work, and that control involved keeping my copyright. I post my work up for free and am now making podcasts. I couldn’t do that if I went with a small publisher. I’m not well known, and I figured making my work available for free would help build name recognition.

      I haven’t done too much investigating in how much a small press will do, but I don’t think they have the budget to do a lot for the author. I think regardless of how you decide to publish, you’re still going to have to promote your work. However, people might see you as a “real author” because you went with a publisher rather than self-published. So there are pros and cons to each side, and I certainly think people should publish the way they want to. Self-publishing isn’t for everyone. :-)

  3. Oh! whoops! Thanks for sharing this, btw!

  4. Pingback: Why I chose to Self Publish « a perspective

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