Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

Never stop dreaming, 'cause the day you stop dreaming, is the day you stop living.


Choosing Your Path: Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

Oh no, could it be? Is this another one of those generic “Let’s show pros and cons” blog posts? Maybe. Perhaps every single word I type on my laptop keyboard is just the same thing someone else has already said; I could be repeating things everyone has heard.

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon

I’m still writing it, so sit back and read these words that you might have heard before, but maybe, just maybe, you’ll hear something unique – something that will pique your interest. Something unique to me. Will you? I don’t know. Let’s take that journey together.


Let me give you a taste of the pros in this matter:

  • You earn more royalties – up to 70% on Amazon.
  • You choose the prices.
  • You avoid the hassle of finding an agent, then publisher.
  • You make your own schedule.
  • You pay for printing.
  • You choose what stays and what goes.
  • You have full influence over the cover design.
  • You make all the decisions.
  • In short, you are the boss.

However, each pro has a con to go with it. Let me share those:

  • You pay for editing, cover design, formatting, etc.
  • You deal with advertising, as well as accompanying costs.
  • Planning takes away writing time.
  • A heavy workload induces stress.

As you can see, while there are many pros, the cons are there to balance it out. In the end, it’s a risky move and writers need to consider their options, all of their options, before they jump off the deep end. Is self-publishing for you? It might be, but let’s take a look at the other option before making any hasty decisions.

Traditional Publishing

So, you would rather go for the traditional method – get published through publishers. It might be for you, so let’s take a look, shall we? After all, the self-publishing world has much to offer, but that doesn’t mean traditional publishing is old school! Let’s start with the pros:

  • You pay nothing up front.
  • Editing, cover design, and production gets managed for you.
  • You could receive an advance.
  • Some advertising might be provided.

So, there are some pros, but are there cons? Of course. Black and white, evil and good – opposites. Two sides of the same coin and I’ll show you the darker side now:

  • Low royalties, generally between 7,5% and 15%, depending on the version of the book; paperback, hardback, eBook.
  • Long wait times, often years, before an agent accepts you, and longer still for publishers.
  • Advertising is often not provided and falls on your shoulders.
  • The advance is often not jaw-dropping, nor paid out at once.
  • Less input on editing.
  • Even less on cover design.

I do not claim that all these things are true for every publisher, nor that these are the only pros and cons. These are common ones that people think about the most and are very important when considering which path to take.

Self-publishing may seem like the right choice, but it is also a lot of work if not handled correctly. Traditional publishing might not seem worth it, but it depends on your relationship. Relationships must be nurtured and if you land an agent and a publisher, those relationships are no different.

The important thing to remember is that if you can do something, then why shouldn’t you? One of my favorite lines from the song “Nine in The Afternoon” by Panic! At the Disco, is the following:

You could ’cause you can so you do.

What does this mean? If you could potentially do something, then it means you can do it and if that’s the case, what’s stopping you? Take the plunge and do it!

Because whether you choose the path of self-publishing or go the traditional route, there’s one thing to remember: It’s a choice. In the end, you must make the decision. Weigh the odds, check out the competition; heck, give both a try if you’re not sure!

Find what works for you and don’t be afraid to take action. If you do that, nothing will stop you.