Every author must ask themselves one question before writing a book. Should I self-publish or traditionally publish my book? You’re probably already aware of those terms if you’re an author or aspiring author. But, in case you aren’t familiar with them, traditional publishing is precisely what it sounds like. It is the conventional method of publishing a book. A traditionally published book is one that is accepted by a publishing house and that publishing house then prints, designs, publishes, and markets the book to the general public for the author.
In self-publishing, the author takes on the responsibility of the publishing house along with what they are expected to do as an author. The author writes and publishes their book all on their own. They also have to pay people to design their book cover, proofread and edit, and market their book. Of course, an author can do all those things by themselves if they choose to. But it’s better if they pay some professionals to do it for them. That way their book has a good-looking cover, is without any typos or grammar errors, and is marketed to the right people.
There are pros and cons to both traditional and self-publishing. Traditional publishing is seen as the default method of publishing. It’s the route most writers want to take when they begin their writing careers. Every author dreams of the day when they are offered a contract by one of the big five publishing houses. It’s no wonder why. If you get signed to a publishing house, they take care of every part of your book. Other than the actual writing. Authors won’t have to worry about having to edit, market, or design their books. That is all taken care of by the publishing house. For authors who just want to write their book and get it in front of people, traditional publishing is the way to go.
However, authors that prefer complete control over what happens to their book will find self-publishing to be the best option. While some writers hate having to pay for cover design and promotion, others enjoy it. Self-published authors gain complete control over how their book looks, who it is advertised to, how much it is priced, and they get to retain the bulk of whatever profit they generate from it. Perhaps the biggest positive of self-publishing is the author is guaranteed to be published. It is notoriously hard to be traditionally published. Not every writer can or will land a contract from a publishing house no matter how many queries they send or books they write and try to sell to them.
If an author believes in their book, they can take matters into their own hands and self-publish it without the help of a publishing house. Living Rent Free In My Head was self-published for this reason, as well as the aforementioned desire to have complete control over what happens to my book. I didn’t want to deal with the rejection and disappointment that is so common in traditional publishing. I was confident in my work and wanted it to be published without the intervention of a third party. That’s what self-publishing provided me.
Yes, self-publishing meant I did have to spend money out of my own pocket. Quite a bit of money too (we’ll get to that in a different post). But it was worth it. I’m happy with how the book turned out. I appreciated getting to choose the design and pricing of it, as well as having to sell it to potential customers. It’s more work than what a traditionally published author would have to do, but I relish doing it. Self-publishing isn’t for everyone. Every author will need to figure out which way of publishing is right for them. For me, it was self-publishing.