Pros and Cons of Traditional vs Self-Publishing Books

Here is a list of things to consider before you go with either the traditional or self-publishing (Indie) route.


Traditional Publishing Pros

  • Wide distribution and more exposure
  • Most offer an advance, sometimes a large one
  • They do the editing, formatting, cover art
  • More marketing power

Traditional Publishing Cons

  • Take six months to respond to a query or submission
  • Take another six to eighteen months before publication if accepted
  • They have power over cover art and title
  • Don’t use the marketing power they wield effectively
  • Pay royalties twice a year
  • Don’t involve you in many of the decisions regarding your book
  • Difficult to implement changes
  • Lousy royalty rates, between 6% and 25%
  • Very hard to break into

Self Publishing Pros

  • Paid once a month
  • You control price and cover
  • Publication is almost instant
  • Easy to implement changes
  • Every decision is yours
  • Great royalty rates  
  • Anyone can do it

Self Publishing Cons

  • No free professional editing, formatting, or cover art
  • Usually Fewer sales unless author works at it
  • Less than 10% of current book market
  • Greater potential to publish crappy books
  • All costs are upfront to the author
  • Author must do their own marketing


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