The Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing Versus Traditional Publishing
When self-publishing using print-on-demand programs became available sometime back, traditional publishers were not really scared. The fact that authors could now put their books in the market, after few clicks, meant that many low quality books would be released to compete against the carefully planned and prepared books from traditional publishers.
For some years, the game remained this way and many a self-published authors fell by the roadside. However, with more experience and improvements by print-on-demand platforms—like Agora publishing now advising its authors appropriately before printing their books—there has been a serious improvement in self-publishing. This has forced traditional publishers to think twice about their advantages.
Right now self-publishing gives hardworking authors better odds at succeeding quicker over traditional publishing. First of all, self-published authors have the rights and control over their work and can get the best results faster if they are up to it. Traditional publishing is a team effort and the author has little say once they have signed the contract. This can sometimes lead to conflicts on what the final book should look like etc.
Self-published authors also have an advantage over traditionally published authors in terms of royalties or profits. Traditional publishers take 80 % of the profits of the book’s sales, while self-published authors can take between 30-100% of the profits depending on the publisher.
Self-published authors are also able to churn out as much books as they are able to type and polish them. As for the traditional publishers, the duration between publishing a ready manuscript and stocking the books on bookshelves can even take 5 years. Many authors like non-fiction author Amy Shojaifind this to be the biggest demerit of traditional publishing.
However, while it takes traditional publishers along time to publish books, one thing is guaranteed, their books are typeset and proofed very well. To find typos in traditionally published books can result in serious repercussions for the publisher’s editors as well as the publisher’s general reputation and future business as a whole. So traditional publishers make it a habit of crossing their ‘Ts’ and dotting their “Is” very well. On the other hand, self-published authors—perhaps due to the ease publishing—are often tempted to skimp on the editorial and typesetting processes, often at their peril later. However, as mentioned before, lessons have been learnt and through author empowerment on print-on-demand platforms like Agora publishing, authors are literally beginning to use the control they wield over the publishing process really seriously. After making mistakes with their first books more and more authors are slowing down and ensuring they get their act right from the onset—after all writing a book is not an easy process and failing to have an impact in the publishing realm due to typos is something authors are not ready to live with anymore.
Another advantage that traditional publishing has over self-publishing is author support. Some traditionallypublished authors are able to get advances to help in the writing process. On the other hand, self-published authors are on their own and have to moonlight between being a writerand doing some other job to survive. Self-published authors also don’t have it easy when it comes to stocking books in bookshops, unlike their traditionally published counterparts who enjoy agreements between their publishers and bookshops.
All in all, self-publishing currently gives authors better chances at publishing success due to the quicker turnaround and control. Even for writers that still prefer traditional publishing, taking the self-publishing route and producing a very good first book makes it much easier to clinch a deal with a traditional publisher for the second book. However, after the first success, self-published authors are better off continuing to self-publish and then outsourcing many of the supporting activities from established professionals and that includes traditional publishers.