Traditional Publishing vs Self-Publishing

Writing a book is a great achievement, but what do you do when it actually comes to publishing your book? Nowadays there are many options for authors looking to publish their book that it can become a real minefield.

We look into the two main ways which are both rather popular with authors of today; Traditional Publishing vs Self-Publishing. Both have their good and bad points. One may suit one author where the other will suit another. There is no right or wrong way to getting your book out there, all that matters is what you want from it.

Traditional Publishing  

With traditional publishing, the author completes a manuscript, sends a query or proposal and their manuscript to a publishing house or agent. If the manuscript is first sent to an agent they will then send it on to potential publishers for the author, that is if they accept to take on the manuscript. Within a publishing house, an editor will read the manuscript and decide whether or not it is worth publishing.

If a publisher does decide to publish the authors work, they will buy the rights of the author and pay them in advance for any future royalties. Royalties being the percentage the author gets from the retail price of their book.

The publisher will then sort out all elements of the book including design, marketing and price.


  • Gives you the confidence that your writing is good enough to be published
  • Easier to get your books in stores and shops
  • Have a professional team to back you
  • Literary prizes are more likely


  • Publishers take a percentage of your book sales
  • Slow process
  • Don’t have much control over the process
  • Only take on work that they believe is good enough
  • Low royalty rates


This type of publishing is a little different. With Self-Publishing the author is the publisher. The author has full responsibility for the book from the proofreading, to the design, to the selling. The author is in charge. People/Companies can be employed by the author to do such things with the book but all funding for the book must come from the author or in some cases authors may take part in events such as crowdfunding.


  • Have control over the whole process
  • The possibility to make more money
  • Publishing houses are likely to take more notice of self-published books
  • Higher royalties


  • Difficult
  • Sometimes isolating
  • You may find bookshops won’t accept self-published books.

Traditional Publishing vs Self-Publishing

We posted a poll up on our social media to see what our followers, both authors and publishers, thoughts were on the different routes of publishing. Whether they preferred Traditional or Self. The results showed there to be a 50/50 split.

One of our most loyal and long-standing customers, Goylake Publishing posted an interesting comment: “We think that books published by independent publishers and authors offer readers greater variety in terms of subject matter and story structure. It is argued that traditional publishers act as ‘gatekeepers’, but we would respectfully suggest that readers should be trusted with that role. Self-publishing has a long tradition – Dickens self-published some of his titles while many modern, well established, authors are now choosing the self-published route. As readers, we look for good books, regardless of the publisher, and we believe this trend is common amongst modern readers and will continue.”


Choosing the right publishing route is down to you. If you have the motivation and dedication to create, market and sell your book then great. If time isn’t a big issue and you feel you need more help then that’s fine too.  You just need to get a clear idea of exactly what you want from your book and what you are prepared to do.

We hope this has helped. Please share with fellow authors and give them a helping hand.