Book Publishing

Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

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by Jennifer A. Miskov, PhD, author of Writing in the Glory

I have published through traditional publishers as well as through self-publishing. There are pros and cons for each of these and sometimes it depends on what project you are working on to determine which direction to go. When deciding which route to go, pray about what fits best with you and how much time and resources you have to invest into your book project. For first time authors, I encourage many to eventually self-publish if doors don’t open up for traditional publishing so that they can make sure to get their work out there.

Self-Publishing

Pros

  • Total creative freedom

  • You own all your copyrights

  • Usually cheaper to buy books

  • Higher royalties (sometimes up to 70%)

  • Print on demand means you won’t have a garage full of books

Cons

  • Higher setup costs (you are responsible for the editing, cover design, format, ISBN)

  • You are responsible for promotion, marketing, and distribution

Traditional Publishing

Pros

  • More collaboration

  • Cover design and formatting included

  • Help with marketing and wider distribution

  • Built-in editor; second opinion by a skilled professional

Cons

  • Lower royalties per book (8–17%)

  • Less creative freedom; they usually have the final say

  • Many times they own the copyright to your work

There are also other hybrids of these in vanity presses and co-publishing houses that I have not addressed here. One word of caution is that if you are having to invest a lot of money into buying the first round of books as a requirement for the publishing contract, you may want to do your research to see if that’s the most cost effective direction to go and also if you or the publishing house will retain your copyright.

If you feel you want to go the traditional publishing route and are not sure how to choose a publisher, spend time researching books that are in a similar genre as your book or authors who have a similar message. Find out who is publishing those books and explore if that company might also be a fit for you. Look at it more as building a relationship with a community who wants to run with you in releasing this book to the world. Look for partnership and camaraderie. Look for a publishing house that believes in you and your work and who will champion you. Be led by the Spirit and don’t give up.

And always remember:

Rejection is redirection to something better.

Many best-selling authors were rejected in their earliest pursuits of a publisher.

Gone With the Wind (1936) by Margaret Mitchell was rejected 38 times before it was published.

Chicken Soup for the Soul (1993) by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen was rejected 140 times. The authors were told that their material was “too positive.” Finally, one publisher took them on, and today they have sold more than 80 million copies in 37 languages.

Don’t ever give up. If you have put in all of the hard work and effort of writing your book, then make sure you follow through with getting it out there so that it can also touch people’s lives. You’ve got this. Let God direct you in these final steps.

-Much of this is taken from Writing in the Glory: Living from your Heart to Release a Message that will Impact the World