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How to Choose Between Self-publishing and Traditional Publishing

Do you have a story that's burning inside you, desperate to claw its way out? Well, you're not alone! One of the most important things you need to decide when beginning your publishing journey is which direction to go. Traditional or self-publishing.

First, let's make sure you understand what they are before you make any decisions. I decided to go the self-publishing route, but that may not be what's right for you.

What is self-publishing?

Self-publishing is the method where you take on all responsibilities that are related to publishing your book. You will be in charge of cover design, editing, formatting, and the actual writing of your book. That's just the starting point, though. Once your book is completed, you'll also need to handle all aspects of marketing your book as well.

I know this might sound overwhelming, but that doesn't mean you're required to design or format your book yourself! You can hire people to help you out! In fact, that's what most indie authors do, they hire editors, cover designers, etc...

Thankfully, there are many resources for indie authors, and the community is extremely supportive! A very important thing to keep in mind is that when you go the self-publishing route, your book is entirely yours. The rights and royalties remain in your name, which is precisely why I and other indie authors choose to self-pub.

What is traditional publishing?

Traditional publishing is the process of going through a third-party publisher to release your book. Your publisher or publishing house will be in charge of the editing, design, formatting, and marketing of your book. When it's time to release your book, it's done through the publisher's printing house and they pay you a small percentage of the royalties.

Because you've exchanged your book for the publisher's services and industry connections, you will not retain full rights to your book for however long your contract with the publisher states. The good thing is that at least you won't have to deal with all the nitty-gritty details!

Being an author is hard work and most of us are not doing it full-time, so sometimes it can be easier to let someone else handle all of the non-writing aspects of the process. One thing to keep in mind - the traditional publishing process is very competitive, and you'll need to pass through an agent before ever speaking to an actual publisher.

So, what direction should you choose?

It really depends on how much work you are willing to put into your author business, and how much the rights to your stories matter to you.

If you want total creative control over your book, the ability to publish where and when you want, a higher percentage of royalties, and the guarantee you can take your story where you want to (make it into a series, or add spin-off books), then self-publishing is the way to go!

If you want someone else to handle all the production costs, have an editorial team manage the edits and design for your book, utilize connections from a publishing house, and have your book distributed to physical bookstores, then traditional publishing is for you!

Don't worry, you can always change your mind if you begin publishing one way and realize it isn't for you. There are plenty of traditionally published authors who are now publishing the indie way :)

Feel free to reach out if you have a specific question you'd like to see me address in an upcoming blog!

*Photo by deposit photos

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