Marketing Insights

Self-Publishing vs Traditional Publishing in 2024 [Which Should You Opt?]


Self-publishing vs. Traditional publishing: What Is the Difference? 

There is only one major difference between traditional publishing and self-publishing.  

If you own your book’s rights and royalties, then the book is said to have been self-published. If the rights and royalties of your book belong to your publishing company, the book is traditionally published. Every other factor that differentiates between the two types of publishing depends on this one key factor! When considering publishing options, consulting with experienced professionals, such as book publishers for hire, can provide valuable insights into the best approach for your book.

Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

Traditional Publishing- Pros

1. Credibility

Authors who choose traditional publishing houses for their books will have proper credit for their work. They will be renowned and appreciated in the world for bringing good content to the market. Also, traditionally-published books are more likely to end up in popular bookstores. This is something that self-published authors can’t have. When considering self-publishing versus traditional publishing, incorporating cloud-based SaaS solutions can significantly streamline the publishing process and offer greater control over content creation and distribution.

2. An Insight into the Book Industry

Traditional publishers have been a part of the book industry for years. They have the right expertise and knowledge to ensure your book appeals to the readers. From making a book attractive to distributing it across an extensive range of channels so the maximum audience can access it, traditional publishing helps authors get the exposure they deserve.

3. Help from Various Experts

Traditional publishers have a contracted or in-house team that helps authors develop their books. For instance, you can get help from expert publicists, fact-checkers, copy editors, substantive editors, acquisition editors, etc., without paying any additional charges. Authors can also team up with formatters and a marketing team depending on their contract. This saves traditionally-published authors both time and money!

4. A Sense of Validation

Authors write, publish, and upload their content without getting any feedback from their readers. A traditional publishing house will, therefore, ensure your book gets the recognition it deserves in the book industry. They will offer a solid contract to acknowledge your work and let you know that your content is viable.

5. Limits Self-doubt

Many authors feel insecure about their work. Self-doubt consumes their ability to write properly and snatches away their passion for producing good content. However, having your work accepted by a traditional publishing house can increase your self-confidence. It’s a form of validation that assures writers their work is good enough to be published. Even if the book doesn’t make great sales, at least your work was recognized and approved by someone!

6. Easy Book Printing 

The traditional publishing model was designed primarily to smoothen the book printing and distribution process. The sales team goes to different stores to help buyers get the book of their choice. This allows authors to make great book sales worldwide.

7. Critical Acclaim and Literary Prizes

Authors are more open to critical acclaim and literary prizes through traditional publishing. Even indie authors don’t get offered a literary prize for their work, which is why some writers consider traditional publishing in the first place. On the other hand, self-published authors cannot even enter for literary prizes.

8. A Chance to Become a Brand

Only a few authors in the industry have established themselves as a brand, including J.K Rowling, Dan Brown, Stephen King, R.L Stine, and others. These celebrity writers fall in the superstar category. Below them are all A-listed writers having years of experience in the book industry and who are also widely accepted by traditional publishers.  Therefore, traditional publishing can give you a chance to become a bestselling author and turn your name into a brand.

Traditional Publishing – Cons

1. Untimely Delays

Unfortunately, the process of traditional publishing can be very time-taking. It can take several months after you submit your proposal before a traditional publisher finally accepts it. This is because a traditional publishing committee has hundreds of authors to choose from. They have to review all manuscripts before accepting them, which is why the process is delayed. Even after taking in your project, the editing and fact-checking team can take a few months to review and edit your content.

2. Difference of Opinions

With so many professionals working in the traditional publishing house, there are more chances of disagreements. An editor at a traditional publishing house may have a different opinion than the author regarding the necessary edits, or the publisher may have a completely different marketing strategy for your genre.

3. Lack of Rights

Authors who consider traditional publishing have no rights over their work except to receive profits on every sale. They can’t distribute, use excerpts from their own book on their website, or use it to promote their next book in line. This includes not having the right to republish or sell their books on other platforms without the publishing company’s approval.

4. Limited Control

Authors who hire traditional publishers often get marketing campaigns, book covers, and titles they are not happy with. Therefore, hiring a traditional publisher means you have to give up on creative control over your work. You may also get editors, formatters, and marketers you don’t agree with. That’s just something you have to put up with when publishing your book traditionally.

Also Read: How to Write and Publish a Book in 2023

5. Low Rates of Royalty

On every book sale, the author’s percentage is calculated only after deducting the marketing costs, returns, and discounts. Royalty rates for traditionally-published books range from 7-25% only. The rates vary depending on your book’s format. Most authors don’t even understand the royalty reports that come every six months, finding it challenging to learn the cash flow in the future. 

6. Lack of Proper Marketing

Another drawback of traditional publishing is that it expects the authors to handle their own book marketing. Thus, authors need to have a website, an email list for readers, or a social media platform where they can promote the launch of their book. Considering the challenges, many authors find it beneficial to explore the assistance of professional services, such as seeking out the expertise of best book marketing services, to ensure a comprehensive and effective promotional strategy for their work.

Pros of Self-publishing

1. Quick Publications

Too eager to see your book in the market? Self-publishing is definitely for you!

Self-publishing allows authors to see their published work ready for sale as soon as they’re launched. This saves them a lot of time and also gains profits without having to wait for months.

2. Higher Potential to Earn

While traditionally-published authors receive a 7-25% royalty on every book they sell, self-published authors get to keep every dollar they earn.  Thus, a self-published author who makes efforts to promote and market their work will find the results quite lucrative.

3. Complete Control

Unlike traditionally-published authors, self-published writers have complete control over their work. They can enlist the assistance of professionals for various aspects like book cover designs, illustrations, edits, and formatting, getting everything done just the way they like it. Furthermore, self-published authors have the flexibility to choose different editors, formatters, and engage with freelance book cover design services to ensure high-quality work that aligns with their style and preference. In other words, self-publishing empowers authors to make decisions that truly resonate with their unique vision.

4. Increased Visibility

Traditionally-published books may remain on a shelf in the bookstore for several months. However, they are likely to get replaced once your publisher releases a new book. On the contrary, self-published authors can keep their books visible for a lifetime by devoting extra time and effort to promoting their work online.

Cons of Self-publishing

1. Being the Sole Marketer of Your Book

As mentioned earlier, self-publishing authors must take complete responsibility for promoting their work to gain hefty profits. While they can hire expert marketing services to market the books, that just means more costs.

2. High Cost

Every self-published author has to pay from their pocket to develop their book. This includes the editing, formatting, production, marketing, and publishing costs. Authors who prefer self-publishing must be willing to spend a few thousand dollars to have their work ready for sale. Unlike traditional publishing, self-published authors must pay for every freelance service themselves.

3. Limited Support

Self-published authors have a lot to do before their book is finally published and distributed. With so many things to take care of, writing a self-published book can be a real hassle. You will have to hire the right resources to ensure your book gets the recognition it deserves to become a bestseller. With so many services out there, choosing the right editors, formatters, and book marketers can be challenging.

4. Lacking Recognition

Besides being shunned by bookstores for signing events, self-publishing can keep authors from getting effective media coverage. Literary agents, contest developers, awards and prizes, and interviews are some of the many things that self-published authors are deprived of.

5. Reduced Guarantee

Traditionally-published authors have more surety that their work would receive worldwide recognition. Meanwhile, for self-published authors, there’s no guarantee that their work would make great sales. A self-published author is likely to invest more and gain fewer profits for their efforts.

6. Storage Required

Unless you have a large basement or an attic, self-publishing might not be the right choice for you. Most self-published authors get several copies of their work printed, and with no immediate sales, they can end up stocking their books for good.

One way to avoid that is to order a small bulk of your books and wait till they get sold before ordering the next stock. This will keep you from utilizing space in your home.

Who Should Consider Traditional Publishing? 

Still confused as to what publishing type you should consider for your book? Here are a few examples to help you understand which people can get accepted by a traditional publishing house:

  • Renowned celebrities
  • People having deep connections in the publishing company
  • CEOs of reputable firms
  • Politicians
  • A-list actors
  • Famous athletes

Who Should Consider Self-Publishing?

  • First-time authors
  • Coaches
  • Doctors
  • Lawyers
  • Financial planners
  • Real estate agents
  • C-level executives
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Employees
  • Consultants
  • Business owners, and others.


Choosing between self-publishing vs. traditional publishing depends a whole lot on what you do, your overall budget, the time you’re willing to spend, how much effort you’re willing to make, and what risks you can take. While traditional publishing ensures great sales and support, self-publishing lets you be in complete control of your work. It allows you to receive all profit and recognition for your work. On the other hand, self-publishing can be a hassle as you will have to reach out to different editors, formatters, and back cover designers yourself to finalize your book.

The good thing is that self-publishers can rely on reliable book writing services to handle all this work for them. Gnome Book Writing is a reputable freelance company that offers expert editing, formatting, marketing, and publishing services at affordable rates. Our experts are highly experienced and skilled and have worked for several clients across the globe. Therefore, reach out to us today and get a chance to publish your work at budget-friendly rates.