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Self-Publishing or Traditional Publishing in 2024

Time: 2023-12-22 Hits: 118

BookPrintingChina work with both publishers and self-publishers, but between them, how to compare their differences? Read on this post, we will guide you make an informed decision.

self-publish vs traditional publish

As an aspiring author, one of the key decisions you’ll face is whether to go the self-publishing route or opt for traditional publishing. Both paths have their own advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to understand the differences before making a choice. BookPrintingChina has helped thousands of publishers and self-publishers print their excellent works. We are already familiar with both and have summarized some experiences for your reference.

In below, we through discuss their concept, pros and cons, difference, costs and royalties, etc aspects to help you make an informed decision.


Self-publishing is the process of bringing a book to market without the involvement of a traditional publishing house. With self-publishing, authors have full control over the entire publishing process, from writing and editing to book design and distribution. Self-published authors often utilize online platforms such as Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) or Smashwords to make their books available to readers worldwide.

Traditional Publishing

Traditional publishing, involves partnering with a publishing house to bring your book to market. This approach requires authors to go through a submission process, where they pitch their work to literary agents in the hopes of securing representation. If an agent believes in your book, they will negotiate a publishing deal on your behalf. Then the publishing house will handle all aspects of production, distribution, and marketing.

The Advantage and Disadvantage of Self-Publishing

Advantage of self-publishing

Complete creative control- As a self-published author, you can choose your own publishing timeline, cover design, and pricing strategy. This level of control allows you to stay true to your artistic vision and make decisions that align with your goals.

The speed of your book to market- Traditional publishing can involve a lengthy process of finding an agent, securing a publishing deal, and waiting for your book to be released. With self-publishing, you have the freedom to set your own timeline and release your book as soon as it’s ready.

The potential for higher royalties- With traditional publishing, authors typically receive a royalty rate of around 10-15% of the book’s list price. In contrast, self-published authors can earn up to 70% of the sale price of each book. This higher royalty rate can result in significantly higher earnings for self-published authors, especially if they are able to build a loyal readership.

Disadvantage of self-publishing

Lack of a built-in support system- As a self-published author, you need to invest in professional editing, cover design, and formatting services to ensure a high-quality product. This can be time-consuming and costly, especially if you’re not familiar with the various tasks involved, such as editing, cover design, and marketing.

Face challenges in gaining credibility and visibility- Self-published authors often struggle to gain visibility and credibility in a crowded marketplace. Because they don’t have the backing of a traditional publishing house. They need to actively promote their books through online platforms, social media, and other marketing efforts.


pros and cons of self-publish

The Advantage and Disadvantage of Traditional Publishing

Advantage of traditional publishing

Don’t need to bear cost- Authors are not required to finance the publishing process, but the publisher need to bear these costs.

Publishing house provides support and resources- When you sign with a traditional publisher, you gain access to professional editors, designers, and marketers who will work to make your book the best it can be. This level of expertise can significantly enhance the quality of your book and increase its chances of success.

Marketing and promotional support- Traditional publishers have relationships with bookstores, online retailers, and libraries. They can help get your book in front of a wider audience. This increased visibility can lead to higher sales and greater recognition for your work.

Drawbacks of traditional publishing

Long process- Authors often face a long and competitive submission process, with no guarantee of acceptance. They may need to make significant changes to their manuscript to align with the publisher’s vision. The timeline for traditional publishing can be lengthy, with books often taking a year or more to reach readers. This slower pace can be frustrating for authors who are eager to get their work out into the world.

Limited control- Even if you secure a publishing deal, you may have limited control over certain aspects of your book, such as the cover design or pricing.

Lower royalty rates- Traditional publishers typically offer lower royalty rates compared to self-publishing. As they bear the financial risk of production and distribution.

The Difference between Traditional Publishing and Self-Publishing

The key difference lies in the level of control and responsibility. In traditional publishing, the author relinquishes control to the publisher, who takes charge of editing, design, distribution, and marketing. This support can be invaluable, especially for authors who are new to the publishing industry or lack experience in certain areas. Self-publishing also means taking on all aspects of the publishing process yourself or hiring professionals to assist you. This can be time-consuming and costly, especially if you’re not familiar with the various tasks involved.

Second difference is your work control. Traditional publishing also means giving up some control over your work. As the publishing house will make certain decisions on your behalf. In contrast, self-publishing provides authors with complete control over their work. This level of control allows authors to make decisions that align with their artistic vision and goals.

Another difference is the financial arrangement. Traditional publishers pay authors advances against future royalties. Self-published authors earn royalties directly from book sales. Traditional publishing typically offers lower royalty rates but may provide an upfront payment. Self-publishing allows authors to earn higher royalties but requires them to invest in production and marketing expenses.

Who should Choose Traditional Publishing?

Traditional publishing is a good fit for authors who value the support and resources provided by a publishing house. If you’re looking for professional editing, design, and marketing services, and are willing to give up some control over your work. Traditional publishing may be the right choice for you. Traditional publishing also can provide a sense of validation and credibility, as it involves the endorsement of a publishing house.

But, it’s important to note that traditional publishing is a highly competitive field, and securing a publishing deal is not guaranteed. If you’re willing to endure the submission process and potentially face rejection, traditional publishing can offer significant benefits. It’s also worth considering your long-term goals as an author. If you’re looking to build a long-lasting career and establish yourself within the publishing industry, traditional publishing can provide the platform and connections to achieve those goals.

Who should Choose Self-Publishing?

Self-publishing is a good fit for authors who value creative control and want to retain ownership of their work.

Personal novel. Novels have always been a favorite literary genre. Because it has many types and has a wide readership. There are also novel genres suitable for reading by different age groups, allowing it to occupy a certain position in the book market. In recent years, more and more online writers have begun to publish books at their own expense to expand their readership. It’s also a good time to give yourself some visibility.

Personal biography. There are generally more entrepreneurs or successful people of this type. Through telling your own stories and experiences, you can make everyone familiar with this person and the company he runs. The purpose is to expand your company’s popularity. Publishing books to promote your company and managers, let more dealers know that they understand you, and then continue to grow your company.

Training instructors publish books. Lecturers publish books mainly to expand their popularity, organize and publish their knowledge in a certain field into books. So that more people can become familiar with them. With visibility, more people will find them and ask them to speak. At the same time, as a lecturer, if you have a book of your own, it will better reflect your professional level.

Selection of professional titles. It is mainly used for job promotion, and is generally found in teachers, doctors and other professions. When selecting professional titles, if one of your own books is on sale, it will carry more weight than a paper. Not only can it give yourself a lot of points, but it also reflects the author’s achievements in this field.

Enterprise publishing. Many companies now use book publishing as a means to promote their company culture and brand image. By publishing a book, customers can better understand their company’s development and future plans, giving customers more confidence in cooperating with them and increasing their intention to cooperate.

Of course, the types of books published are not just the ones mentioned above. Any valuable literary work can be published in books so that more people can see it. Publishing a book can not only make profits from sales, but also help people in some professional fields select professional titles, and can also be given as gifts to friends or clients. It is precisely because of the diversified uses of publishing books that more and more people are beginning to self publish and distribute their own books.

Generally speaking, the author approaches the publisher to publish the book, but the publisher does not respond, or there is no cooperation agreement with the publisher. All can be self-published.

Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing: Costs and Royalties

In self-publishing, authors are responsible for covering all expenses associated with the publishing process, such as editing, cover design, formatting, and marketing. These costs can vary greatly depending on the quality and scope of the services you choose to invest in.

Traditional publishing typically covers the costs of editing, cover design, and distribution. However, it’s important to note that traditional publishers may offer an advance against future royalties, which is essentially an upfront payment that authors receive upon signing a publishing deal. This advance is then deducted from any future royalties earned from book sales.

In terms of royalties, self-published authors have the potential to earn higher percentages of the sale price compared to traditionally published authors. While traditional publishers typically offer royalty rates of around 10-15% of the book’s list price, self-published authors can earn up to 70% of the sale price. However, it’s important to consider that self-published authors are responsible for covering all production and marketing costs, whereas traditional publishers provide these services as part of their overall package.

Which One is Right for Me?

Choosing between self-publishing and traditional publishing ultimately depends on your individual goals, preferences, and circumstances. Here are some factors to consider when making your decision:

Control: Do you value creative control over your work, or are you willing to give up some control in exchange for the support of a publishing house?

Timeline: Are you looking to get your book to market quickly? Or are you willing to wait for the longer timeline associated with traditional publishing?

Support: Do you have the necessary skills and resources to handle all aspects of the publishing process yourself? Or do you prefer the support and expertise provided by a publishing house?

Royalties: Are you motivated by the potential for higher royalties? Or are you comfortable with the lower royalty rates typically offered by traditional publishers?

Validation: Do you value the validation and credibility that comes with traditional publishing? Or are you more focused on retaining ownership and control over your work?

After considering these factors and weighing the pros and cons of each approach. You can make an informed decision that aligns with your goals as an author. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer – what works for one author may not work for another. Ultimately, the choice between self-publishing and traditional publishing is a personal one that depends on your unique circumstances and aspirations.

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