Which is Better, “Standard” or Self-Publishing?

Do you prefer standard or self-publishing? standard or self-publishing

The “standard or self-publishing?” question is relatively new, for until recently the best way to publish a book was through one of the New York publishing houses.

However, the publishing industry has undergone tremendous changes in the past few decades. As a result, it is now much easier and potentially  more lucrative for you to become an author via self-publishing, than it is through “regular” publishing.

Let’s put the “standard or self-publishing?” question into perspective by looking at the pros and cons of each approach.

Standard or self-publishing? Lets look at standard first

Standard publishing – pros

  • Having your book published by a recognized publisher gives you credibility.
  • You may receive a decent, or even substantial, advance payment.
  • The production costs (editing, printing, etc.) are paid for by the publisher.
  • Your book will be presented in the publisher’s catalog and at industry trade shows.
  • The publisher takes care of distribution to bookstores and other venues, lists it on Amazon.com, and so on.

 Standard publishing – cons

  • You must begin by writing an extensive book proposal, then hope a publisher will be intrigued enough to publish your book.
  • You must already have a “media platform” significant enough to attract a publisher’s attention.
  • There’s a long delay between initial presentation of the idea to the publisher and publication – generally, at least a year.
  • You lose control over the title, cover design and other elements of your book.
  • You earn a very small fee for each book sold.
  • You cannot overly-promote yourself, your company or your products in your book.
  • There’s a good chance the publisher will decide that your book is “mid-list” and give it little or no publicity support.
  • The publisher can relegate your book to “out of print” status, or worse, keep it in print but do little with it, effectively leaving your book in limbo.

In short, there are benefits to the traditional route, especially for certain people. If you’re already a VIP with a significant media platform, the traditional publishers will be eager to publish your book and will likely give it plenty of promotional support. But if you’re not, well…

Standard or self-publishing? Now lets look at self-publishing 

Thanks to recent changes in technology, the media and the Internet, self-publishing is increasingly popular and a potentially profitable way to go. Is it better approach than having your book released by one of the major New York publishers? Surprisingly, the answer is often yes.

Self-publishing – pros

  • You’re the one who decides that your book will be published – you don’t have to write a proposal and hope to interest a publisher.
  • You don’t have to have a big “media platform” at the outset in order to interest a publisher – instead, you can use your book to develop one.
  • You can move quickly, going from the initial idea to the published book in just a few months.
  • You have full control over your book’s content and design.
  • You stand to make more money per book sold – two, three, even five times what a publisher will typically pay.
  • You can promote yourself, company and/or products in your book.
  • You can keep your book in print as long as it suits you.
  • You can reprint the book as fast as you can sell copies – and even put out a new edition should your business plans or products/services change.

Self-publishing – cons

  • You pay all the production costs.
  • You are responsible for all of the marketing.
  • You are in charge of distributing the book – whether on your own, through a distribution service, via Amazon.com, etc.
  • You are entering into a new business arena, which can seem intimidating.

Standard or self-publishing – which is best for you?  

It all depends on how you intend to use your book: in other words, what you would like your book to do for you. Read my article titled “Why Are You Writing Your Book?” for more on that topic.

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