PART 1: Pros and Cons of Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing

Should you publish your book traditionally with a major publisher? Or should you go the self-publishing route?

In the past, traditional publishing has been the primary option for writers. It’s the classic model that we’re all familiar with, wherein a larger publisher in New York buys our book and turns us into a literary sensation. We often pin all of our dreams on this model without really knowing the true in’s and out’s of the industry. We imagine getting a publishing deal is the ticket to a full-time salary and fabulous success as a writer. It can be, yes. But not always. Many traditionally published authors still have day jobs.

Conversely, in the past, self-publishing has been touted as a vanity press. It’s something you do when you’re “not good enough” to be traditionally published. But the self-publishing/indie publishing markets are changing dramatically. In the past few years the whole self-publishing market has exploded, allowing authors to find new readers that traditional publishers won’t bank on. In fact, many self-published authors are making a full-time living, and some are making multiple six-figure salaries. But that doesn’t mean self-publishing is the ticket to success.

In fact, these two publishing models couldn’t be more different … and the real question is: which one is the right option for you?

When it comes to publishing, you need to define your own idea of success. What does your dream writing life look like? And which publishing model will help you achieve it?

For example, do you want …

  • A book advance?
  • Editorial support?
  • Creative control and the ability to business plan?
  • To focus solely on writing?
  • To publish multiple books a year?
  • To work full time or supplement your income with a part-time job?
  • To own the rights to your books?
  • To never go out of print?

There are A LOT of questions to consider!

I’ve created a three-part video series to help us dive into these questions and explore the pros and cons of traditional publishing vs. indie publishing.

In Video 1, I cover:

  • Submissions, gatekeepers and how you get a traditionally book published. Yes, you must have an agent!
  • The published book and where it can be purchased. Aka: Physical bookstores vs. online retailers.
  • Book advances, royalties, and payment. The money side of publishing is super important if you want to make this a career that supports your life!
  • Contracts, rights, and how small clauses can cause road blocks in your publishing career.

If you can’t wait, go ahead and jump on in and watch part one right now:

In the next weeks I’ll be posting the final two videos on this topic, which will cover …

In Video 2, I discuss:

  • The editorial process
  • Marketing and promotion
  • The market (Aka: trends, readers, etc.)

Watch video #2 here.

In Video 3, we wrap it up with:

  • The pace of publishing
  • The overall publishing life in each model
  • Recap

Watch video #3 here.

Remember, your writing career is in your hands. There are so many options available to you today and you get to choose the path to achieve your personal goal of success. Only you can decide if traditional publishing or self-publishing is right for you.

FREE PDF DOWNLOAD: Get a list of awesome resources on both traditional and self-publishing, as well as a comparison chart that re-caps this video series:



If you’re traditionally published or self-published and have more to add to this conversation, please share in the comments!

Happy writing everyone!

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