Benefit analysis of Traditional Vs Self-publishing

A dilemma faced by many authors.  For ease of comparison we will take self-publishing to mean a self-publishing company.

The ups and downs of the two forms of publishing

Traditional Publishing:


  1. Biggest benefit is that there is NO payment to be made by the author to the publisher to publish his/her book.
  2. No time is spent deciding which publisher you should go with, instead the publisher that is willing to publish your book with the best terms is the one you go with.


  1. The biggest drawback is the uncertainty whether your book will even get to see the light of day if you decide to take this route.
  2. If you do get the opportunity to traditionally publish, the publishing can take anytime upward of a year and often more.

Then there are grey areas where some authors will consider the following factors as good and others will consider the same factors as not suitable for them.

  1. Traditional Publishing Company decides the shape the book is to take based on their analysis. So the author or the publisher may make changes which the author may not like or the author feels doesn’t fit his idea of the shape his book should be taking.
  2. There is no involvement of the author in the publishing process except in the marketing of the book.
  3. The publishing process in entirely handled by the publisher except the Marketing.

Recommended for those

  1. Who have a strong writing skill, proven track record as an author, strong personal credentials.
  2. Who can take repeated, rejection and don’t mind if their book is not published.
  3. Who can afford to wait for a long time for their book to see the light of day.

Self-publishing Company


  1. The biggest benefit is that the author rarely faces a rejection and publishing his book is almost sure-shot.
  2. The process is quick, takes less than a month to 3 months depending on the services you take.
  3. You as an author are always in the loop, whether it is the pre publishing process, distribution or sales. It’s an open process for authors.


  1. The biggest downside is that one needs to pay to get the book published.
  2. You need to research to find the company that suits your needs and gives you the services you have paid for.

The grey areas would be:

  1. The author’s desires/inputs are most important. Sometimes the author’s inputs or desires are not in tune with the market and the changes he requests does not work in the market. Here author has a product he adores but the readers may not quite enjoy the same.
  2. The author decides depending on his budget the services he would like to take and because of lack of experience or budget constraints misses out on taking services that can be important for his/her book e.g. editing, marketing.
  3. Self-publishing has a strong online presence this ensures, regular sales feed to the author and regular royalty pay outs too but misses out on equally wide distribution to book stalls and book shops.

Recommended for

  1. New authors who want to test the market to see how well the readers accept their writing and where and how they can improve.
  2. For those authors keen to publish their work.
  3. For those that cannot take rejection or cannot wait for long to get their book published eg: professional.

This article covers some of the fundamental differences and I hope, you the reader will be helped by this article.