As a fiction writer, you’ve no doubt pondered the question on the minds of many modern scribes--do I self-publish my labor of love or do I take my chances with a traditional publisher? 


Like everything in life, both traditional and self-publishing come with their own pros and cons. Self-published authors love the creative control and higher royalties, while traditionalists tout the benefits of success with mainstream publishing houses. However, no one knows which choice will suit you best except you, and you can only make a sound decision if you are well informed. So grab a cup of tea, snuggle up, and let’s dive into the pros and cons of self-publishing and traditional.

Self-Publishing: The Basics

Self-publishing, simply put, is publishing a book on your own at your own expense. You will be in charge of your own editing, formatting, cover design, marketing, and releasing. Some authors choose to hire an editor and/or a cover design artist to help if it suits their needs and budget. After writing the book, you will then need to find a platform on which to publish your book, like Kindle Direct or Barnes and Noble Press.  Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of self-publishing so you can see if this way of publishing is right for you.


Self-publishing pros:

Self-publishing cons

While the pros may seem to outweigh the cons with self-publishing, it’s best to look at all options before making a decision. Next, let's take a peek at traditional publishing and see how it stacks up against the indie competition.

Traditional publishing: The Basics

Before the days of online self-publishing, authors would have to submit a manuscript to a large publishing house, often located in New York City, hoping to land a contract and get their book to the masses. This usually requires an agent to help you make the shortlist so your voice won’t be drowned out by the seemingly endless sea of competition.


Traditional publishing pros


Traditional cons


As you can see, there are pros and cons to both forms of publishing. If you want to remain in complete control of your work, keep most of your profits, and don’t mind the elbow grease it takes to publish your own book, self-publishing is the way to go. If you prefer a more hands-off approach other than the actual writing, traditional publishing may be the answer. No matter which publishing method you choose, the most important part of the whole process is writing the book. As author Richard Bach once said, “a professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”