Advantages and Disadvantages of Traditional Publishing

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by: claire t. 08/03/2022

So we have given you a bird’s eye view of the differences between traditional and self-publishing. Now let’s delve a little deeper into the pros and cons of the two so that you can make the best-informed choice that is best for you.

Advantages of Traditional Publishing:

  1. The Publisher Takes Care of Everything.

The publisher offers services like editing, proofreading, book covers, and even mainstream marketing to the author which takes a huge load off of the writer who can focus more on his/her writing.

  1. Almost No Upfront Cost.

Since the publishing costs are shouldered by the publisher, you are not expected to repay any of the cost should your book not sell as well as expected.

  1. Cash Advance

Most book deals entitle the author to an advance to their book when the contracts have been signed. This could be a lifesaver for an author who is cash-strapped.

  1. More Prestige and Acclaim

Not everyone can be an author. So if a publishing house wants to carry your book, It must be a good book! Your book goes through so many people who read and critique it first before it hits the shelves. If it passes the thread in a needle test, That in itself is quite an accomplishment.

  1. More Exposure with Traditional Media and Marketing Partners.

Most traditional publishing houses are a shoo-in with major media partners that can give your book the much-needed push and exposure that it needs.

  1. Quality Control

Traditionally published books are often of higher quality because of the amount of scrutiny it goes through before it actually hits the presses. Taboo subjects may not benefit from this as much because a lot may need to be edited out to appease the greater public even if it does not align with the author’s initial vision.

Disadvantages of Traditional Publishing:

  1. Extremely Difficult to Get Noticed.

Unless you already have a name in the literary world or get an agent to believe in your story, It is extremely difficult to even get someone to read the synopsis or first few chapters of your book. 

  1. Low Margins/ Royalties.

Since the publishing house spent for the initial costs of your book, they get a huge piece of the pie, and most often the author will not see another dime until the initial costs and cuts of the publishing house and literary agents have been fulfilled first.

  1. Time-consuming publishing process.

The amount of editing and revision can take as much as 18 months or sometimes even years before your book hits the shelves.

  1. Authors have little to no creative control.

Signing with a traditional publishing house means relinquishing control of your story. Most authors do not have a say in how the book will be presented. Sometimes, houses would even insist on changes to the story which may not align with the author’s vision.

  1. Traditional Publishing Houses prefer mainstream “Hollywood” stories.

At the end of the day, a publishing house is still a business. If they feel that your story has little to no “Hollywood” value, getting signed on is pretty farfetched.