Book Publishing 101: Self-Publishing vs. Traditional

book publishingThere are two common routes of book publishing one could take: self-publishing or traditional publishing. Obviously there are differences between the two, but each has its benefits and its pitfalls. Typically, traditional book publishing is thought of as the norm, as better than self-publishing, but if you read last week’s blog post, you know that isn’t true.

Book publishing options: self-publish or traditionally publish

Self-publishing definitely has its perks over traditional publishing. If you choose to self-publish over traditional publishing, you don’t have to query agents, sell to publishing houses, go through content-editing, or only keep a portion of your earnings. As far as book publishing goes, choosing to self-publish is a smart way to go.

When you publish with a traditional publishing house, you must first find an agent to represent you. Yes, you can still send your manuscript to the house unrepresented, but the chances of any acquisitions editor reading it are slim to none. In order to obtain an agent, you must first send a query letter, which describes your book. If they decide they’re interested, then you can send either a portion of or your entire manuscript. Getting an agent can be extremely difficult, as agents’ offices are often flooded with potential clients’ manuscripts. Agents have what’s called a “slush pile,” which is essentially a huge collection of unsolicited manuscripts that are picked through, usually by an assistant. You don’t want to end up in the slush pile, so querying is best way to go.

The querying process can be exhausting, though: it’s long and difficult and may not amount to anything. A lot of self-published authors choose to go the other route during this phase. In self-publishing, there is no querying. You represent your own manuscript. It cuts down on time and energy.

Another main difference between self-publishing and traditional publishing is the actual acquisition of a manuscript by a publishing house. In traditional, once a book lands an agent, the agent must then, essentially, query publishing houses. If you’re lucky, multiple houses want to publish your book, which will take you to auction. However, it’s possible no houses will want your book, and thus, your manuscript will fall aside once more. If you choose to self-publish, your book will be published. All it depends on is your own initiative.

If you make it past querying agents and pitching to publishing houses, your manuscript is then given to an in-house editor, sometimes more. While it is wise to have someone edit your work (you don’t want to publish a book full of typos), it can be difficult to accept content edits. When you self-publish, you edit your own work (unless you hire an outside editor), which means all of the hard decisions are made entirely on your terms. The editing process is incredibly necessary, but being your own editor can be extremely effective.

Last, but certainly not least, a major difference between traditional and self-publishing is royalties. If you publish traditionally, you’ll get money up front–called an advance–when the house buys your book, but after that, you’ll make royalties. A royalty is a certain percentage paid to the author per book sold. Royalties are not very large–usually only 8-10% of the retail price. This can be off-putting to new authors.

So, how should you publish?

Not only do self-published authors not have to query agents or convince a publishing house to buy their book, but self-published authors also usually make a larger percentage per book sold. However if you publish with DiggyPOD, there are no royalties whatsoever. You don’t sign a contract; your book is yours to sell, and the money you make is yours to keep.

Ultimately, both routes are viable options. However, if you want to be involved every step of the way, and if you want your book published sooner, self-publishing is the way to go. It’s a quick, rewarding, and profitable way to get your work published. Your writing deserves to be read, so pick the best option for you. Pick DiggyPOD!