Self Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing


The steps to getting your book out there are essentially the same whether you do it yourself in the self-publishing arena or you work with a traditional publisher. But there are some differences in some regards of your publishing choice.


It determines:


  • Who invests for the costs of publishing – who takes the risk

  • Who gets the income from the book – who gets the rewards

  • Who actually owns all the rights to the book in the end

  • Who controls the creative aspects of the book

  • Who has the final decision of when, or if, the book is published



There are investment associated with getting a book from an idea to being published. You will need to hire an editor, get the cover designed and the formatting done, invest in distribution and define your market niche to invest in marketing. In self-publishing this is an investment by the author and in traditional publishing the all investment is covered by the publisher.


The income

With self-publishing the author receives most of the income, after the distributor ( or the like) have taken their small percentage. With traditional publishing the income is received by the publisher with an agreement for a small proportion of this to be passed on to the writer. In short – he who takes the risk earns the reward!


The rights

If you publish the book yourself then you retain all rights to the work. If a publishing company gets the book published for you then they have all the rights to the book. If you get help with self-publishing then you will usually enter into an agreement where you offer temporary rights on a non-exclusive basis to the company to get your book published.


The creative aspects

Once a traditional publisher takes on the rights to your work then they can enact changes. They have control over the work. The only way to retain complete control is to retain the rights. Whatever changes are suggested by an editor doesn’t have to be accepted by you. The final decision is yours and yours alone.


THE Publication

A traditional publisher has no obligation to actually get your book out there. They can have the rights and just decide not to release the book. When you self-publish then you decide when the book is ready and when you will release it.