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Pros and Cons of Traditional Book Publishing

Pros and cons of traditional book publishing

Here’s my next post on my series about book publishing. I previously talked about what independent publishing is, the pros and cons of self publishing and if you should traditionally publish your book.


  • Prestige and validation. Many authors suffer from self-doubt and often think their work isn’t good enough. Getting accepted and recognised by a publisher often makes authors feel validated, even if their work doesn’t sell very well.
  • They do most of the work for you. You’re assigned an editor, cover designer, formatter and sometimes get help with marketing. Many authors say they only want to write and choose the traditional publishing route for this reason.
  • There are no upfront costs. Unlike self publishing where you sometimes have to pay someone to edit your book and design your book cover, a publisher usually handles all of this for you.
  • You usually receive an advance. When you get a publishing contract most authors receives some kind of payment advance upfront.
  • Getting into bookshops is much easier. Most authors dream of seeing their books in shops and it’s much easier when you have a publisher than it is if you choose to self publish.
  • You could win literary prizes.
  • You could become a brand name author. Authors like Stephen King, Nora Roberts and J K Rowling are all household names. But this only happen in rare cases.


  • It takes a long time. Editing can take up to a year or longer. Finding an agent and actually getting a publisher can take longer still. Which seems silly in this digital age where your can publish your book on Amazon and have it available to buy within a couple of hours.
  • Low royalty rates. You receive much lower royalty rates from a publisher than you do from self publishing companies like Amazon. Through a traditional publisher you can expect to receive from around 5% to 25% in royalties compared to Amazon where you receive 70% royalties.
  • Loss of creative control. When going through a publisher you have very little control over what happens to your book. Many authors get covers, titles and genres they’re not happy with. They also have no control over pricing.
  • Lack of marketing help. Authors nowadays are expected to market their own work and are lucky if they get a press release. If you decide to go with it traditional publisher, ask them what kind of marketing help is included.
  • Contract clauses. Many authors are so happy to receive a contract that they sign without fully realising what rights they are giving up. Some contracts for bid them from publishing books from the same series anywhere else or books step in the same story universe. It’s very important to check contracts carefully and see what they involve.
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