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This blog introduces the advantages and the disadvantages of self-publishing vs. traditional publishing. Keep in mind that I do not endorse one method over the other.

Each method has its benefits, and each method has its problems. For the sake of ease, I am going to list these with some brief descriptions.


Self Pub Pros:

1. You get to be intricately involved in the development of the cover.
2. You can have personal contact with the designer.
3. You can change your cover at any time (at a cost of course).

[I use Ask for Marija.]

Self Pub Cons:

1. Your requirements might be too strict, therefore limiting the designers creativity.
2. You have to pay.
3. If you are doing a series, your designer might quit designing covers mid-series and you will have lost that artist’s branding abilities with that series. (One reason that I prefer to write all of the books in a series before I try to publish).

Traditional Pros:

1. It’s free.
2. You don’t have to have any ideas about what you want.
3. Smaller publishers might let you be involved with the designing process.
4. Low chance for a cover that you won’t like.

Traditional Cons:

1. You generally have no say in what’s designed.
2. Even if you don’t like it, you can’t change it.


Self Pub Pros:
1. You can make changes and updates whenever you want.
2. You don’t have to remove scenes or material that’s important to you.
3. You can keep any characters you want.
4. Your novel can be as long or as short as you like.

[You can always pay for an editor, which I would advise if you have the money.]

Self Pub Cons:
1. Finding all of the typos is a CHORE!
2. If you don’t have grammatical knowledge, you will have to pay someone or risk a plethora of mistakes.
3. Parts of the story that NEED to be cut may stay.
4. Unnecessary words and language may be overlooked.
5. Plot lines may spiral out of control.

Traditional Pros:
1. Plots that may not be intact will get adjusted.
2. Most if not all typos / grammatical errors will be eliminated.
3. Your novel may be dramatically improved.
4. Unnecessary words may be weeded out.

Traditional Cons:
1. The editors will make “suggestions” of things you need to cut.
2. You may end up getting rid of a character or characters.
3. Your plot may change dramatically.


Self Pub Pros:
1. You keep ALL of your rights, meaning that you can publish wherever you want, set your own prices, change what you want, and sell to whomever you want.
2. You have negotiating power if your work does well, and the rights are in your name.
3. You book stays in print as long as you want.

Self Pub Cons:
1. You are responsible if your work succeeds or fails.
2. Agents may not be as interested in your work once it has been self-published if they see that the book has not done well.

Traditional Pros:
1. A publisher could more easily make a movie deal.
2. Publisher probably knows the market better, so they could regulate the prices and sell accordingly.
3. Publishers can sense the demand for your work and increase printing quantities more easily.

Traditional Cons:
1. You cannot set your own prices.
2. If the book is not doing well, then they can quit printing it.
3. If you are writing a series, then they own the rights to the entire series.


  1. ebooksinternational

    William, there is a very important point too:
    Traditional Cons:
    Your book has only a tiny window of 3 months in stores to sell well. If this doesn’t happen, they send all unsold copies back to the publisher. End of the story. A self-published book can be sold forever! And you own all rights to let it translate, sell foreign rights, create an audio book, or sell it as movie : )


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