Publishing Pros and Cons: Traditional VS Self publishing vs. Hybrid Publsihing
If you’re an aspiring writer, you’ve probably done a lot of research on how to get published. This can be crippling as there seem to be endless options these days, from self-publishing to traditional publishing. And what about hybrid publishing and co-publishing? How should you know which one is right for you?
Here I’ll review some of the advantages and disadvantages of each possible option for you and your book. There are many avenues to be published these days, many of which did not exist ten years ago. Overall, this is good for aspiring authors because they are no longer dependent on traditional publishers to get discovered and therefore to get a book deal. But like anything, the more options there are, the more overwhelmed you can become.
So let’s start by defining the terms.
What is a traditional publishing ?
When most of us think of publishers or getting published, this is probably what we have in mind. Traditional publishers usually pay authors an upfront payment and a royalty (a percentage of the sale) followed by an advance, in exchange for the exclusive right to publish their work. In this scenario, the publishers take on the entire financial burden of bringing a book to market. They cover the cost of editing, cover design, marketing, and promotion as well as the cost of handling distribution and inventory of the final book product.
Traditional publishers run the gamut from giant publishing groups that publish hundreds or thousands of books each year in nearly every category to small or medium-sized indie publishing houses that carefully curate more focused lists of releases or Only specialize in certain categories and genres.
Regardless of their size, traditional publishers usually provide authors with the opportunity to partner with an established team that knows the market and has years of experience.
What is self-publishing?
In many ways, self-publishing has leveled the playing field so that anyone who can publish their book—at a cost. And many self-published authors have had great success helping them secure traditional publishing deals. Costs vary between self-publishing platforms, as do the formats available, but what is consistent is that an author publishes their book without persuading an agent, editor or publisher such as a gatekeeper to take them on. Can do. While this option allows authors to retain creative control, they also carry a financial burden and must take responsibility for marketing, promoting and selling their books. However, they benefit from receiving all future benefits (if any). In some cases, authors are also responsible for distributing their book to retail outlets, unless they opt for self-publishing through Amazon or Ingram.
What about hybrid publishing or co-publishing?
Hybrid publishing is the combination of traditional publishing and self-publishing. In this scenario, the publisher and author share the risks of bringing a book to market. Like traditional publishers, hybrid publishers have certain editorial criteria that determine the types of books and authors they publish. Writers should expect some level of selection or duration when working with this type of publisher. While upfront payments are low, or non-existent, hybrid publishers often pay higher royalty rates than a traditional publishers. They typically offer different marketing and promotional packages that authors can purchase, often in several options for varying budgets. Many hybrid publishers offer authors some level of distribution capability through brick-and-mortar stores, proprietary websites, or other retail channels. Some hybrid publishers require authors to crowdsource their content, prove they have an audience, or raise a certain amount of money before offering a deal.
CHOOSING THE BEST OPTION FOR YOU
There is a common misconception about traditional publishing in which authors feel that they have no responsibility for the performance of their book. They may think that once they have completed their manuscript, they have a role in the process.
However, this couldn’t be further from the truth, especially today. Publishers now expect full participation and participation from their authors throughout the process and in fact, they rely on the author to do some, if not most, of the book’s marketing and promotion. This is especially true for non-fiction books, which often require a high level of author platform or influence.
Although traditional publishers often benefit from a certain level of brand trust or equity in the marketplace, and along with consumers, authors must be prepared to relinquish control of their book. Authors can still make their preferences known, but most publishing contracts give the publisher the power to decide on things like the final title, final cover design, and marketing plans and budget. And while authors often receive an advance against royalties on the front end, standard royalties are lower with a traditional publisher. On the other hand, while self-publishing and hybrid publishing allow a greater degree of creative control, as an author you bear all the responsibility for the performance of your book. If you don’t know much about the publishing industry, marketing, social media, or you’ve just started building a platform, this can be a serious hurdle.
Ask yourself the following 3 questions to determine your best option.
- Will my message, book concept, or story appeal to a wider audience?
be honest with yourself. Are you sharing a personal story without a strong reader promise or takeaway? In other words, do you have a compelling answer to a reader’s unanswered question, What’s in it for me? If not, self-publishing is probably the right option for you. Are you sharing a transformative principle or big idea that has practical application for others? If so, you may want to move on to traditional publishing.
- What am I personally willing to invest in to get published?
The cost of publishing is not negligible. No matter which path you choose, you will spend a lot of time and money (or both) bringing your book to the world. You need to be realistic in estimating how much money you can put into these efforts. A traditional publishing deal offers the possibility of an upfront and future royalties, but you’ll need to invest in building your influence and platform (especially for non-fiction) to secure such a deal. Plus, the amount you’ll receive varies widely based on the size of the publisher and their assessment of the future sales potential of your book.
- How long can I wait for my book to be published?
Most publishing options will require a lot of patience to see the project through to completion. However, assessing whether you’re willing to wait a few months, a year or more can help narrow down your options. To determine your intended audience and how much financial contribution you can make, evaluate how long you are willing to wait before seeing your words in print. The traditional publishing process can take up to two years for a variety of reasons, including the fact that it can take months to find just one publisher. In addition, a traditional publisher will convert your book to an existing publishing schedule that allows ample time for editorial development and promotional planning. Conversely, if you work with a self-publisher or hybrid publisher, you can go from manuscript to printed book within a few months.