In a previous article, we covered the pros and cons of self-publishing. If you don’t want to deal with the stresses relating to the logistics of publishing your own book, then traditional publishing might be for you. In this article, we cover the pros and cons of traditional publishing so you can make an informed choice.
Pros and Cons of Traditional Publishing
Going the traditional route may be the ‘safe’ option if you’re new to the book publishing game.
With traditional publishing, an author will work with a publisher to release their book. The publisher will manage all aspects from editing to cover design and the marketing of the book. They’ll then release it through one of their imprints and pay the author a small percentage of royalties. The author will no longer have complete ownership; however, the trade-off is that everything is taken care of! In a nutshell, the author exchanges the product (their book) for the publishing house’s services as well as their connections within the industry.
Pros of traditional publishing:
- Your book will be distributed to physical bookstores. For some authors, this is important and makes them feel accomplished seeing the fruits of their labour in print and on the shelves.
- You’ll have the full support of various teams, including editing, design, and marketing.
- The publishing house pays the production costs, not the author.
- Many prestigious literary awards are only available to traditionally published books.
- If you’re looking for mainstream reader exposure, then this is the route to go. Your book will end up on the ‘new arrivals’ shelves of bookstores. Publishing houses have connections with bookstores for distribution and magazines and newspapers for reviews, so it’s easier to get your name out there with the help of a publishing house.
- If a publisher accepts your book, you may get an advance on royalties.
Cons of traditional publishing:
- As a new author, your manuscript may be rejected several times before a publishing house accepts your draft or proposal. There are many cases of bestsellers that were first rejected several times by publishers before going to print, either by a publisher with vision or self-publishing in the end. Tim Ferriss’s book ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ has been a New York Times and Wall Street Journal Best Seller for several years, selling nearly 1.5 million copies. It has been translated into 35 different languages. But, before this, his book was rejected by the first 25 publishers it was presented to.
- You do have input but not total control over the design aspect of your book.
- You earn considerably less per book than with self-publishing. However, you’ve not had to front any money – so you may prefer this ‘safer’ option.
- The publishing timeline is not in your control. The publisher may choose to delay a launch if they have a similar book launching or want further editing.
- Should you choose to sell add-on products to your book, such as merchandise (for a cookery book for example), or a course that supplements the book, you’ll need the permission of the publisher, and they will be involved in this business aspect.
It’s a big decision. Which form of publishing is right for you? If you’ve written a novel or a non-fiction book and want to self-publish, we have a course that takes you from manuscript to published work on amazon, guided step by step by an award-winning author. Explore the Self-publish Your e-Book Course here.