Traditional Publishing Vs Self-Publishing

Writing has gained a lot of popularity in the recent years and continues to do so by each and every passing day. With the demand of books from across the world growing exponentially, the competition among publishing houses is growing by the day. This exponential growth of demand has also given rise to more new writers.

With so many emerging writers, there’s a definite increase in competition in getting the attention of the traditional publishing houses. But as we all are well aware of the fact, only a select few get the chosen to be traditionally published by a publishing house. This is where Self-Publishing came into existence. Self-Publishing is a handy tool for authors who either don’t want to go through the process of traditional publishing or are not among the lucky ones to get picked for it.

Traditional Publishing:

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Traditional Publishing is the age-old and the most reliable method of getting published. In Traditional Publishing, the author submits the completed manuscript to the publishing house with the proposal and a query letter either directly or through an agent (which is an entire process in itself.) The editor or the acquisition’s manager at the publishing house then reads through the manuscript and decided whether it would be a good fit for the house or not. Based on their judgment they either reject the manuscript (letting the author know so that they can approach the other publishing houses) or accept them.

In the case of acceptance, a contract is then signed and an agreed amount is handed over to the author by the publishing house in exchange for the publishing rights to the book in question. After the agreement signing, the publishing process begins and the publisher puts in the entire amount involved in the professional editing (which is always done by more that 2 professional editors), cover designing, typesetting, printing, and distribution.

The Publisher then uses their network of marketing and distribution to increase the sales of the books and when the predicted number of book sales is hit, the author starts to earn the pre-decided royalties on further book sales.


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Self-Publishing is where the author themselves takes on the role of the publisher. In Self-Publishing, everything is done by the author. The author can either do everything themselves, or hire a team of experts to do everything for them, but all the expenses included in getting the book ready and distributed are taken care off by the author himself.

Differences between Traditional Publishing and Self-Publishing:


In Traditional Publishing, the publishing house has the control over the book and all the major decisions.

In Self Publishing, the author has the ultimate control over the book and the related major and even minor decisions.


In Traditional Publishing, the publishing house makes great and effective use of their already in-place distribution network that helps them in getting the books in all the leading bookstores as well as on all the major online sellers.

In Self Publishing, the distribution is handled by the authors, who often have no great resources or distribution channels at their disposal.

Needless to say, the distribution of the books is far more organized and widespread as compared to that in self-publishing.

Manuscript Completion:

In Traditional Publishing, there is an entire dedicated team of professionals who look at the manuscript sent to them and determine whether the book is ready for publishing or not.

In Self-Publishing, there’s no thorough process to determine whether the book is even ready to be published or not as the only person who takes that decision is the author himself.


In Traditional Publishing, all the expenses are borne by the publishing house and the author is paid an advance as well as earns the royalties from the book sales as per their contract. Publishing houses make sure that each and every book receives the best in class as every book represents their brand name.

In Self-Publishing, all the expenses are borne by the author alone and hence, most of the times as it has been witnesses, the authors end up doing immature and unprofessional work trying to save their money.


There are a lot of writers and authors who think that the only way to know that their book is good enough is if they get traditionally published. It gives them a lot of recognition and serves as a matter of pride.

Whereas, in most cases, the writers who do get accepted for traditional publishing or who give up on the idea, opt for self-publishing in the hopes to at least get their book published. This way their sole purpose is to publish the book and not selling or marketing it.


Traditional Publishing is the epitome of professionalism as they have dedicated professionals for each and every aspect of the publishing process.

Self-Publishing is often seen as seemingly unprofessional mostly due to the absence of professionals taking care of the specific jobs such as editing, cover designing, etc.

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A lot of people have their own theories and ideas about Traditional Publishing and Self-Publishing, but the best way is to see what suits an individual requirements best.