Traditional Publishing vs Self Publishing

As I get no response from yet another publisher I can’t help wondering if I’m going down the right route for me.

I started writing not thinking about publishing. As time progressed I started considering self-publishing. I then changed my mind and went down the traditional publishing route.

I’m now at the stage where I’m tired of waiting for a professional publisher to tell me my writing is good enough to be published. So what can I do?

I think it’s time I weigh up the pros and cons of publishing.

If you ask a traditionally published author nine times out of ten they will tell you that’s the route you should take. But is it the right one for me?

Okay, so what happens if I stick with the traditional route?

Traditional Publishing


  • No outlay for me.
  • Can get me into shops I couldn’t on my own.
  • Publishers will edit and proofread.
  • Publisher will pay for cover art
  • A bit of help with marketing.


  • It can take up to six months to hear back from each publisher, if I hear back at all.
  • If a publisher does finally like my work it can be up to another year before my book is on the market.
  • I don’t have much say on the cover art.
  • Publishers might have different views on editing to me.
  • I’d only get 10-25% in royalties.
  • Publishers have control over where my books sold.

Right, I think I’ve covered all the points for traditional publishing so let’s look at self-publishing.

Self Publishing


  • Could have my book Published within a month.
  • Total control over cover art.
  • I get 70% royalties.
  • I get total say in where my book is sold.


  • I have to pay for editing and proofreading.
  • I have to pay for cover art.
  • Need to do all my own marketing.

Okay, that’s all the points I’ve thought of, now I just need to decide what’s right for me.

I read an article once that said if you feel the need to have someone confirm your writing is good enough, you belong on the traditional route. I don’t think I feel that need. I don’t need a professional to tell me I’m good enough. I’m writing because I like doing it and now I just want to share what I enjoy.

If anyone can think of anything that might help me make a final decision please leave a comment and let me know because at the moment I’m totally stumped.



18 thoughts on “Traditional Publishing vs Self Publishing

    1. I think my main problem is I have no patience and am getting tired of waiting for someone elses approval. It’s so tempting to self publish. What puts me off is the cost. It’s highly unlikely I would make my money back.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I spent over $1500 producing my first book. I had no following and did little marketing. I figured that it would be years, if ever, before I broke even.

        Nope. Second month.

        Here are the questions you need to answer:

        1. Did you write a book that readers want to read? If you wrote something weird that can’t be put into any existing genre or is literary fiction, you’re not going to make money. If, however, your book fits firmly in a genre that readers are buying, there’s no reason that readers won’t buy it.

        2. Can you do a good cover that will attract attention and convey genre?

        3. Can you write a good pitch (also called a blurb or description) that will tell the reader that, “Hey, this is the book you’re looking for (with a jedi hand wave).”

        If you can answer yes to those three questions, then there’s no reason at all you can’t make money self publishing. As I gain experience, my production costs (and time) decrease, and my sales rise.

        Don’t give up hope before you start!


  1. The sad truth is that even if you ARE good enough for a Publisher to sign up, they aren’t perfect and can easily miss you – look at JK Rowling as one of many examples.
    Go for self-publishing, build up your readership and fan base, get yourself out there and known.
    MOST importantly though is KEEP WRITING!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is a tricky one Gem. I think if you can’t wait, then self publish. Then you can build up your readers that way, but it is time consuming trying to market your work. I also looked into vanity publishing – I sent my manuscript to one in London and they told me they would publish my work but at a cost of 5.000 pounds (no way) So, I am self publishing at the moment. πŸ™‚ Keep writing whatever !


  3. Self publishing can be a way to get your work out there and validate that your writing has a market. Just be prepared to take on the publishing and promoting role. You can, however, outsource those things piecemeal and retain control. You can then pursue traditional publishing and demonstrate that you have established a following.


    1. Hi, I’ve already decided to go down the self publishing route now. Perhaps it’s big mistake. Okay, there is a very good chance its a big mistake but ony time will tell lol. Thank you for sharing anyway. The article definitely makes some good points.


  4. I self-published, and I had a blast! And it was very inexpensive. I paid a friend for some light editing, proofreading really, and my ISBN numbers, something you don’t have to do (they are the most expensive things I’ve purchased). It sounds like you are going to do Kindle only. Make a nice cover on for a dollar, take the AISN number Kindle Direct Publishing gives you, and self-publishing will be practically free. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi. I have actually already self published now. I ended up paying for a professional cover editor and proofreader but I’m glad I did as my book is better for it. I did find services very cheap though and only paid Β£350 in all to publish which I thought was good. Your post is great advice though so thank you for sharing. 😊


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