Author's guide to book publicity Writing Series

Self-Publishing Vs Traditional Publishing: Pros and Cons

Just as it is with everything else, (writing or non-writing), there are pros and cons to self-publishing and traditional publishing, and it is paramount to go through them all and adequately make plan around them. These pros and cons serve as a guide to understanding which path best suits your needs and goals as an author. 

Having a book meet its targeted audience is the ultimate delight of every author-regardless of whatever else they seek to achieve as subsidiary. 

This post thoroughly goes over the pros of self-publishing and traditional publishing, highlighting all of its benefits, and as well their cons, to give a author a better grasp of the path to follow, in order to achieve their book success. 


  • Creative control
  • Quicker Publications 
  • More Royalties 
  • Control over production right.
  • No financial burden
  • More author exposure 
  • More recognition.

Creative Control

As a self-published author, one of the many benefits you get to enjoy is the absolute control and involvement in all that concerns production and its processes. 

Self-published authors, although they get to work with other professionals in various departments (such as editing, book cover designs, marketing team, etc), the ultimate decision rests on your shoulders and all things work out exactly how you intend for them to.

 You get the privilege of exploring you creativity, not just with the book content, but also get to work with your team of professionals in deciding what book cover design best resonate with your genre and the message of your book. You get involved with professionals who understands your target audience and they work together to achieve your goals with little to no manipulations.

This is one of the many privileges traditionally published authors do not get to experience. As a traditionally published author, you get little say on matters regarding marketing and publications, and all the other factors that are involved in the book production. 

Professionals from various departments in the publishing houses get to run the show and you would have to consider all of their opinions. 

Quicker Publications

Going down the traditional route, you get to have the best hands on the job- which involves a team of professionals in the editing department, professional designer and as well the best marketing professionals. While this sounds like a dream come through for every author, the realization is that, a collaboration this big will likely take up more time than is intended. 

It can be time-consuming setting up meetings between these teams and also taking into consideration the fact that your book is certainly not all they get to work on, the possibility of your book fitting into their tight time schedule is also pretty slim. 

Publishing houses takes up hundreds of book titles to work on per year, thus, it is very possible your book gets little attention and you may have to wait for over a year before your book gets published. Such slow processes can greatly affect your publication timeline and the idea of it can be frustrating.

However, as a self-published author, your publication timeline solely depends on how quick you and your professional team gets to make decisions on your book. It is easier and simpler to schedule meetings and meet up to deadlines. 

More Royalties

This is one of the highest advantages enjoyed by self-published authors. Having to enjoy more royalty rate than traditionally published authors. 

Sadly, traditionally published authors get little percentage of royalties ( as little as 5%, in some cases, 20%, depending on various factors), which you get to split with your agent. 

The royalty percentages received depends on the format of your book; whether it is a hardcover or a paperback ( hard covers gets more percentages than paperbacks).

However, a satisfactory pros of self-publishing is the fact that you get to receive as high as 50-70% of your royalties. 

Control Over Production Rights. 

Another major pros to self-publishing is that you get to keep the production rights. Meaning you have the right to publish in whatever format. 

Traditionally published authors are made to sign up their production rights to the publishing houses. Meaning the publishing houses get to publish the manuscript in any format (either as an audiobook or film).

With traditional publishing, the outcome of this bargaining rests on the shoulders of your literary agents and how well they strike a good deal. 

Self-published authors don’t have to worry about such things as signing up production rights and can always independently sell subsidiary rights when the opportunity presents itself.


No Financial Burden

This is a huge relief for authors as it can cost quite a lot to get a book published. Traditional published authors are essentially off the hook financially and do not have to worry about the financial risk involved. 

You not only get to enjoy the benefits of having experienced professionals on your job, but also you get to be free from all financial burden. Traditional published authors are not expected to pay for anything- not even for the services of the high demand professionals working on their book publication ( which covers editing, marketing, other technical issues, designs, etc). 

Unfortunately, one of the cons of self-publishing is that all financial risks and responsibility rests on your shoulders and of course you get to cover the cost of professionals that you hire to work with on your book production. 

More Author Exposure 

As an author, if you’re looking to get more exposure for your work and as an individual, you probably should go down the traditional publishing route as this promises to give just that. 

The mainstream exposure is one of the pros traditionally published authors gets to enjoy. It goes without saying that publishing houses has all the right connections and the budget to get you there.

Your book as a higher possibility of getting in bookstores and all the right media houses quicker than you can do so by yourself as a self-published author. 

You get more speaking engagements deals and more publicity with the backings of publishing houses. 

More Recognition 

With more publicity comes higher recognition. This pros sadly doesn’t get to be enjoyed by self-published authors-atleast not as much.

It is difficult for self-published authors to compete with traditional published authors in the aspect of literary recognitions and awards. 


It is a complex question asking which path is better, as they both have their benefits and disadvantages. However, these pros and cons provides a guideline in choosing which best suits your needs.

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