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Self Publishing vs Traditional Publishing

April 18, 2019

Before I begin, let's get one thing out of the way: 

Being a published author is incredibly exciting, regardless of how you get there. Holding your very own book in your hands with your name on the cover, or scrolling through your own e-book on a tablet is just an incomparable feeling. You are a published author. There's nothing like it. 

So what's the best way to make it happen? 

It depends. 

Sometimes you feel compelled to get your story out there as quickly as possible. If so, with a completed manuscript you can literally have your book for sale on Amazon in a matter of days, and for very little cost. 

But who's going to buy it? 

What I mean by that is if you do it yourself, you are also in charge of publicity and marketing, unless you hire it out. When you're in charge of everything, you are in charge of everything. And nobody will know your book is out there unless you tell them. Self-published books typically sell fewer copies than traditionally published books for this reason. 

Traditional publishing is different. It typically takes much longer from manuscript to published book. For one thing, you have to send out queries and get a publisher to sign you to a book deal, which may or may not happen. If it does, it might happen quickly or it could take months or even years. And once your book is accepted for publication, typically an in-house editor will be assigned and you'll go through a process which involves all manner of editorial and design decisions, everything from tightening up your narrative to font size and cover design. It can take a long time before the book is ready for publication. 

So the first difference is time. 

The second difference is money. 

While you can put a book on Amazon for very little cost, sometimes you need help, and self-publishing companies charge upfront for their services. Traditional publishers cover all costs and recoup their expenses through a reserve against sales. You get the lion's share of each book when you self-publish, but your per-book royalty is smaller with a traditional publisher since they're covering the publishing costs. So which way is right for you?

As I said before, it depends.

You may be a marketing whiz with thousands of followers on social media who can viralize your own work, in which case you might consider putting out the book on your own. Or you might  have an absolutely amazing story that will attract publishers but be in no hurry to tell it, in which case you can go through the process with a traditional publisher. 

There are many other variables, too. We're really just scratching the surface, but the decision between self-publishing and traditional publishing often boils down to the two biggies: Time and money.

But the biggest factor of all, the thing that trumps every other decision, is passion. 

Do you want to tell your story, or do you need to tell it? Because that will make all the difference, whichever path you choose to explore.

If you'd like to explore your options with us, call 626-214-5808 or drop us an email

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