Traditional vs Self-Publishing: What’s Right for Your Book?

One of the biggest decisions to make regarding publishing your manuscript is whether to use a traditional publisher or self-publish your book. Traditional vs self-publishing is an often debated issue for seasoned and new authors. Below, we discuss the similarities and differences between traditional and self-publishing with the most crucial topics surrounding book publishing.


The cost of traditional vs self-publishing is drastically different. Here’s what you can expect to pay out of pocket to publish your book:


When going through a traditional publishing house, the publisher incurs all costs of publishing the manuscript. The publisher assumes the risk of publishing the book in exchange for the rights to it. Authors don’t pay to get the book published. Some publishers may also provide authors an advance payment to write the book.


When self-publishing, you pay for all costs of publishing your book. However, you control how much you spend on your book. You decide which editors and illustrators to use and which printing methods to utilize. If you decide to use a self-publishing partner (such as EABooks Publishing), you’ll pay a flat fee for getting your book ready to be self-published.


Royalties are the amount you’ll get paid from each book sale. Here’s how traditional vs self-publishing royalties work:


Authors and publishers negotiate royalties in the author contract as a percentage rate of each book sale. Royalties typically range between 5% to 20%. If you were given an advance to write your book, you’ll only receive royalties once your book sales have surpassed your advance amount. However, the full retail price from books sold through a bookstore or online distribution partner is not what goes towards that advance, only a small part. Most often it is anywhere from .50-.75 per book. Any books sold to the author does not count towards the advance. Most advances for first-time authors are anywhere from $1,500-$5,000.


As a self-published author, you receive all the profit from every book sale, so you don’t make royalties. You set the retail price of your book with us, so you determine your profits. If a distributor sells a book on your behalf, they keep 60% of your profit and you keep 40%. If you use a $10 profit margin as most of our authors do, then you are making anywhere from $4-$10 from each book sale.


Credibility refers to how traditional vs. self-publishing affects your reputation and personal brand.


Traditional publishing comes with the most credibility. You’re backed by a trusted organization with a national audience that can get your book in big box bookstores and on the shelves of national retailers. Partnering with a traditional publisher may include marketing opportunities, like media events and signings. However, getting your book published by a traditional publisher requires a platform, which simply means they want to know you have a connection to a large audience of followers. Statistically, only one to two percent of authors are published with a traditional publisher.


In the past, people believed that authors who chose to self-publish didn’t have a strong enough manuscript to get a book deal with a traditional publisher. However, this sentiment is changing. Now, self-publishing is a legitimate (and statistically more plausible) way to publish your book. In the future, more people will likely develop this attitude as self-publishing practices, tools, and partners increase their presence and quality.

Creative Control

Who has the rights and the ability to decide about your book is one of the most important topics to discuss when determining whether to self-publish your book or go through a traditional publisher.


When you get a book deal with a traditional publisher, the publisher takes on the risks and the costs of publishing your book in exchange for the rights to your work. You can’t use, sell, repurpose, or republish that material elsewhere. It becomes the publisher’s property; you no longer own the rights to your book.


One of the most popular reasons authors self-publish is to have complete creative control. You set the price and control factors like the cover design, illustrations, and how and where the book is distributed. You always remain in control of how your book is published and you maintain all rights.


The only way to increase your book profit is to market your book well. Here’s how marketing is handled after a book is published:


Traditional publishers tend to market new books for a certain length after their release such as 1-3 months, then move on to other new publications. Marketing dollars within traditional publishing companies is limited. The big name publishers put their dollars into their big list names as they are guaranteed a better return on investment. Smaller houses will do some things for new authors, but all publishers require authors to market and sell most of their books.


When you self-publish your book, marketing falls on your shoulders just like with traditional publishers, but you are now making the profits to reward you for your efforts. You’ll need to have a consistent presence and market your book continuously to get it in front of your ideal reader. But with self-publishing you will reap those rewards.

Traditional vs Self Publishing—Final Thoughts

For the majority of authors, self-publishing is the most convenient and plausible way to publish their books. Since only a tiny percentage of books get signed by traditional publishers, self-publishing is a wonderful option for a lot of authors. At EABooks Publishing, we’re here to help you along your self-publishing journey, from editing to marketing. We offer a variety of publishing packages based on your unique story. Contact us today to get started self-publishing your book.

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