For years, traditional publishing ruled the literary stage, playing both director and star of the show. The method of traditional publishing yielded great results and the show went on, unchallenged. Self-publishing, or vanity publishing, as it was labeled, was highly stigmatized, considered synonymous with poor quality and something that authors only did as a last resort if they couldn't make it onto the big stage of traditional publishing.
Fast forward to a few years ago and everything began changing. As e-books started exploding, self-publishing companies increased the quality of their services, giving authors the chance to publish quality books which could reach millions of readers through powerhouse distribution sources like Amazon. Self-published authors demonstrated that they could compete in the book sales market. A power shift was at work. Now, there has never been a better time to be an author.
With that in mind, I wanted to take a quick look at some of the pros and cons of traditional publishing versus self-publishing. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, but it's worth considering when contemplating publication for your book.
-Traditional Publishing Pros: wide distribution and exposure; possible advance; quality editing, formatting, and cover art; marketing power.
-Traditional Publishing Cons: 1-2 years before publication after contract is signed; high priced e-books; no or little control over cover art and book title; royalties paid twice per year; low royalty rates; less author control in total; hard to make changes to book during process; very difficult to break into traditional publishing.
-Self-Publishing Pros: print-on-demand option; inexpensive; stigma has decreased; quality of self-publishing services has increased; paid once per month or bi-monthly; control of price, release timeframe, cover design, and title; you own the rights to your book; easy to make changes to book during process.
-Self-Publishing Cons: you pay for services out of pocket; you market yourself (this is often considered the most challenging aspect of self-publishing); possibly fewer sales; may be difficult to get book into bookstores; quality can be poorer if the wrong self-publishing company is chosen.
Hopefully this serves as a brief snapshot of traditional publishing versus self-publishing. As the author, you have the challenge of figuring out which route will be in your best interest, depending on your goals. As I said before, it's never been a better time to be an author, so enjoy the ride!