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How to Publish a Book: Self Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

The hard work is done. You came up with a concept, painstakingly typed out draft after draft, and you're finally ready to share your work with the world.

What now?

Once your manuscript is finished, you must choose a publishing route. Deciding on how to publish a book is a significant decision that will impact how your book's marketing, distribution, and reception by readers. Both self-publishing and traditional publishing have their advantages and disadvantages, and ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on your goals, priorities, and resources. Here are some factors to consider:


Self-publishing has grown in popularity as more sites like Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing make it easy to share your book online. Authors who self-publish are in charge of the entire process, from the first word to the final sale. Self-publishing requires authors to design their own covers (or hire a professional through sites like 99Designs), set up their own marketing plan, and maintain plans for selling the book.


  1. Control: As a self-published author, you have complete control over your book's content, cover design, pricing, and distribution channels.

  2. Speed: Self-publishing can be a faster process than traditional publishing, as you don't have to wait for an agent or publisher to accept your manuscript.

  3. Royalties: Self-published authors can earn higher royalties, as they don't have to share their profits with a publisher or agent.

  4. Flexibility: You can revise, update, or repackage your book at any time without having to seek permission from a publisher.


  1. Marketing: As a self-published author, you are responsible for marketing and promoting your book, which can be time-consuming and challenging.

  2. Quality control: Without a professional editor, designer, or formatter, your book may not meet the same standards as traditionally published books, which could harm your reputation.

  3. Distribution: Self-publishing may limit your distribution options, as some bookstores or libraries may not carry self-published books.

Traditional publishing:

Traditional publishing is a great option if you want a professional touch and more credibility. When you work with a traditional publisher, you'll get access to professional editing, design, and marketing services, which can improve the quality and visibility of your book. You'll also have an established distribution network, which means your book will be available in more places.


  1. Prestige: Having a traditional publisher can add credibility and prestige to your book, which may make it more attractive to readers, reviewers, and booksellers.

  2. Professional support: A traditional publisher can provide you with professional editing, design, and marketing services, which can improve the quality and visibility of your book.

  3. Distribution: Traditional publishers have established distribution channels and relationships with bookstores, libraries, and online retailers, which can increase your book's reach.


  1. Time-consuming: The traditional publishing process can take a long time, from finding an agent to securing a publisher and going through editing, design, and marketing.

  2. Royalties: Traditional publishers typically offer lower royalty rates to authors, as they need to cover their production and distribution costs.

  3. Control: As a traditionally published author, you may have limited control over your book's content, cover design, pricing, and distribution channels.

  4. Rejection: The traditional publishing industry is highly competitive, and it's common for authors to face rejection from agents and publishers.

Ultimately, the choice between self-publishing and traditional publishing will depend on your goals, resources, and priorities. If you want complete control over your book and are willing to invest time and effort into marketing and promoting it, self-publishing is the way to go. If you prioritize professional support, distribution, and credibility, traditional publishing might be a better choice.

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