The publishing world is constantly changing and with the availability of millions of books at every reader’s fingertips, it is important to know the differences between a “traditional” publisher and book self-publishing services once your book is ready for publication.
What is Traditional Publishing?
Traditional publishing is the name used for anyone who follows the “traditional” process of finding a publisher who produces the type of content you write, finding a literary agent who represents your kind of book, and submitting a book proposal (or synopsis and outline for fiction) to that agent. If that agent agrees to represent you, the agent then submits your book proposal around to the various publishers that publish that kind of book. If the agent makes a sale, they represent you for all of your literary business, negotiating publication rights, advances, and royalty rates. Agents earn 10 to 20% of your total royalties for the duration of the contract.
With the book now in the hands of a publisher, they will ask you to make revisions to the manuscript and will engage their internal marketing group to handle promotion for the book, cover design, manuscript layout, and much more. Except in extremely rare situations, you will not have any influence on the changes, cover design, look, and feel of the book. You won’t even have control over whether you produce a hardcover or paperback book. These are all decisions made by the publisher.
Once the book has been completed, it is put on a release calendar and distributed to major bookstores, and online booksellers, and (in the case of most first-time authors) completely forgotten. This process typically takes at least a year, but more often than not several years before you see your book on the shelf of your local bookstore. This brings us to the 1st major difference between traditional and self-publishers.
1 – Self-Publishing is Faster
Once you have your book finished you don’t need to go through the tedious process of finding an agent and hoping that you will be taken on as a client, or waiting to be put on a release calendar several years down the road. You can get your book in the hands of your readers far faster than following the traditional route.
2 – You Keep Control of the Look and Feel of Your Book
In self-publishing you have complete creative control over aspects such as the book cover design, the book manuscript format, and length of the book. You can do the design yourself, or hire an expert to create a custom book cover and layout of the book.
3 – You Choose the Publishing Format of Your Book
Traditional publishers are often limited by what their accounting departments determine is an acceptable risk when selecting a format for the publication of your book. They may require a hardcover version of the book (even if your audience probably can’t afford it), or require you to publish only in the form of a mass-market paperback for your first book–in order to minimize the risk on their end. They may decide not to create an audiobook version of your book, an eBook, or publish the book in other languages. With self-publishing, you make every choice for yourself. Want your book to be produced with a leather-bound book binding? Done. Need your workshop’s notebook to have spiral-bound book binding? No problem. You can print your book in as many (or as few) versions as you wish.
4 – You Handle the Distribution of Your Book
Traditionally, this is one of the strengths of traditional publishers. They have connections to major book distributors and chain bookstores that most self-publishers don’t have. But as a self-published book author, you can sell your book however you see fit.
5 – You Handle the Marketing of Your Book
Most first-time authors get no marketing budget from traditional publishers. High visibility book tour and promotion budgets typically only apply to bestselling authors who traditional publishers see as a “sure thing.” As a self-published author, you set your own budget for marketing your book. You can have your own nationwide book tour, or simply promote your book sitting behind your desk, sending out newsletters, and doing podcast interviews about your book. The ways of promoting self-published books are almost limitless.
So, Are You Ready to be InstantPublisher’s Next Author?
Of course, you are. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t interested in taking complete control of your writing career and literary efforts. And InstantPublisher is always standing by to help you reach your publishing goals. Give us a call at 1-800-259-2592, fill out our online contact form, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get the process started today.