How Traditional Publication and Self Publication Differs

The business world is continuously evolving, with competition increasing each day. Advancements in technology trigger market change more frequently than ever. This results in milestone evolutions of business strategies. Most companies spend a huge amount of funds on staying updated with these changes.  


But what about unconventional businesses like a mystery room Bangalore or a luxury thrift shop in LA? How do they prosper and expand their circles without the backing of huge investments? Finding out the right marketing channels for unconventional businesses can often be quite challenging. But provided companies can figure out suitable strategies, spreading their business globally is no longer a fool's dream.  

Similarly, while publishing your books, you must also opt for the right kind of publication to cater to a global audience. The two main modes of publishing, traditional publication, and self-publication, come with their own set of pros and cons. 

So, to make it easy for you to make the right choice, this article is here for you. Make sure to read this article till the very end to gather a comprehensive understanding of how traditional publication and self-publication differ from one another.   

What are the basic steps of traditional publication?  

The basic steps of the traditional publication are as follows: 

  • Make a query with a suitable agent who you think will publish your book 
  • The agent needs to accept your book and agree to take it to a suitable publishing house  
  • The publishing house works on selling your book 
  • As the writer, you are paid an upfront price as advance 
  • Often, you might have to pay back your advance based on your book sales to equate the money before you finally start to make a new income 
  • As the writer, you have the right to rewrite, write or edit your already published book 
  • The publishing house reserves all rights to your book 
  • The publishing house will create an appropriate cover to go with your book and edit it using professionals  
  • Your book might be formatted in all versions 
  • As the writer, you are paid 10% - 12.5% as royalties  

What are the basic steps of self-publishing?  

The basic steps concerning self-publishing are as follows: 

  • As a self-publishing author, you can publish your book any time you want! 
  • You have to pay for designing the cover of your book as per your desires 
  • You have to pay to get a professional to edit your book 
  • You have to pay for formatting your book 
  • You have to upload and publish your book 
  • As a self-publishing author, you get full royalties  
  • You reserve all the rights to your book 
  • You can update, modify, edit or republish your book whenever you want to 
  • As per your desires, you can publish as many numbers of books as you want, even as quickly as you want! 
  • With self-publishing, you can even write and publish your book in 90 days if you desire it! 


If you are still at loggerheads thinking which of these two modes of publishing would be beneficial for you, read on.   

What should I consider before choosing between traditional publishing and self-publishing? 

The following factors can probably help you decide which model of publishing would be the most suitable for your cause: 

1. Distribution  

i. Traditional Publishing: Traditional publishing has the upper hand over self-publishing when it comes to distributing your book. Book stores are spread all across the world, wherein your book can be easily circulated by the publishing house. Thus, in this way, your book can easily reach far and wide across the globe. Other than distributing via physical stores, your book can also be sold in various online bookstores! 


ii. Self-Publishing: You can still avail all the online book distribution options that you had with traditional publishing. All you have to do is decide on which of the online book distribution portals you want to sell your book. Although, there is no doubt that in the case of self-publishing, the chances of circulating your book are lower.   

2. Royalty Rates 

i. Traditional Publishing: Most newbie traditionally publishing authors tend to secure approximately 10% per book sold as their income till the advance is paid out. After that, the payment can increase up to approximately 12.5% per book sold.  


ii. Self-Publishing: Considering the rates of Amazon as the standard, you get a 60% of your book's retail rate minus the MRP as royalty. Thus, there is no doubt that in terms of royalty rates, self-publishing authors can secure more income in one go.    

3. Cost of publishing 

i. Traditional Publishing: As a traditionally published author, you have to entail zero cost of production, for it is the publishing house itself that takes care of this. 


ii. Self-Publishing: Being a self-publishing author, there is a huge bill that you need to pay. It starts from editing and formatting to even cover design; there are several factors that you need to spend your money on.    

4. Time required 

i. Traditional Publishing: To get your book published in the traditional book can take an unprecedented amount of time, considering it takes longer to find a suitable agent. Even if you do find a good agent, it might still take a couple of years before your book is published in the market. 


ii. Self-Publishing: As soon as you are done with the process of editing, formatting, and customizing your book cover, you are ready to publish it!  


To sum up, the idea of self-publishing vis-à-vis traditional publishing, let us now understand the advantages and disadvantages of each comprehensively: 

Pros of Self-Publishing:  

Own full ownership rights of your book 

Possess the right to completely customize your book 

Exercise complete control over marketing your book 

Exercise and control the creativity over your book 

Possess a higher profit potential   

Cons of Self-Publishing:  

You alone have to ensure whether your book is professional and good in every way 

It's a lengthy and time-consuming process to do all by yourself 

Hiring professionals to ease the process can be expensive   

Pros of Traditional Publishing:  

You receive financial advances even before your book is published   

The publishing house invests their money to get your book published 

High chance of book distribution in various stores 

High potential of media coverage   

Cons of Traditional Publishing:  

It is very tough to find the right agent who is ready to take up your book 

A lot of time is required before your book is published 

You exercise no control in the marketing or creativity 

You have no ownership over your book. The publishing house owns your book 


This detailed understanding of traditional publishing as against self-publishing should now be sufficient for you to make your choice. So, what are you waiting for? Don't let your manuscript gather any more dust as it sits idly on your desk. Publish it today, and let the world step into a universe you created!