Author's guide to book publicity Writing Series

Self-Publishing Vs Traditional Publishing

It is a common thought for every author as to whether to go down as a self-published author or to traditionally publish. It is more common than one would like to admit. After all, everyone wants a bigger share of the pie. While every author wants to enjoy the benefits of their ‘hard work’, they would rather avoid the responsibilities that come with it. Hence, looking the traditional way. 

Whether you take the path of a self-published author or you’d rather go down as a traditionally-published author, is entirely up to you. Everyone has a unique reason for the decisions they make. While some authors confidently know which they would rather be, a larger percentage still wonders which would be suitable for them.

In this article, we’d be addressing the larger pool of authors who still wonder if going the traditional publishing way is the better option to self-publishing. 


Before diving fully into what best suits your needs, getting a firm grasp of both contexts gets the job half way done. 

Self published authors are authors who are in charge of their book production process, taking autonomy and risks of production. 

Just about anybody can self-publish, ranging from a long list of;

  • Start up authors 
  • Small Business owners
  • Doctors
  • Lawyers
  • Business coaches
  • Fitness coaches
  • Financial managers
  • Business executives 
  • Business consultant 


Traditionally-published authors relinquish their production rights to publishing houses, who in turn take full responsibility for all production processes. 

With traditional-publishing, it is more complicated than it seems, while it sounds like a good idea to have someone carry the production burden, it is very difficult to get a good offer on publication by publishers. Getting a good publishing deal has little success rate as the pool is very competitive with thousands of authors vying for the same opportunity as you are.

With traditional-publishing, the list of people who can get traditional-publishing deals includes;

  • Famous celebrities 
  • High ranking officials 
  • Political leaders/individuals 
  • Professional authors with a large number of audience/readers 
  • Individuals with high connections 


The key difference between self-publishing and traditional-publishing is simply the level of control both parties have over the rights and production of their books. 

With self-publishing, the author covers the cost of production ( which includes the editing cost, book cover design, book marketing, etc), enabling them to have over 70% of the royalties. 

Although the answer to the question, “should I self-publish or not?” begs for a very complex answer (it is one of the most asked questions here at BookTraction), we have curated a list of questions that would help you determine what better suits your desires as an author. 

Below are some questions that are targeted at giving some clarity to the uncertainty of what path to follow as an author seeking to publish a book. 

  1. Can I Land a Book Publishing Deal? 

As stated above, it is VERY difficult to get a book deal that meets your satisfaction. The long list of other authors seeking to get the same deal as you are makes this road a difficult one to follow. 

However, if you believe you have a good chance of signing a satisfactory deal with publishing houses, and finding yourself a good literary agent, ( go for it. You should give traditional-publishing a shot if you think your chances are high. If not, you probably should self-publish.

  1. What Is Your End Goal As An Author?

This is another factor that deeply affects your publishing decisions. With each author, the ultimate aim or motive differs. If you wish to ;

  1. Make Quick Money : You probably should look at traditional-publications as it has a high chance of meeting your needs. 
  2. Gain Status/Validation : Authors who seek validation should most certainly traditional-publish. The credibility of the publishing house will look good on your bio/portfolio. 
  3. Writing Freedom: if you’re an author who doesn’t like to be told what to do, then you should most certainly self-publish. Self-publication gives you the right to your work and manuscript. Giving you full control and freedom over your work and the changes to it. 
  4. Writing Creativity: If you love being creative with your piece, exploring with your words and ideas, self-publication should certainly be at the top of your list. This gives you the opportunity to be creative with your writing, with no external manipulations.
  5. Making Impacts: Do you love making an impact? If so, then you should self publish. 
  6. Lasting Wealth: this goes without saying that self-publishing will certainly guarantee you this. With the large percentage of royalties, you are on your way to making higher income. 

While we hope this was helpful in giving clarity and a nod towards the right direction in making your decisions, you shouldn’t forget to do what works best for you. 

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