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Traditional publishing vs self-publishing. Which is right for you?

Updated: Dec 21, 2021

So, you’ve finished writing a book. Now that you’ve done the hard part, you have an important decision to make – how are you going to get this book to your readers?

In the past, if you wanted to publish a book, you had to go through a publisher. But in the age of Amazon and the e-book, authors have more options available to them and many authors are now choosing to self-publish

The choice between traditional publishing and self-publishing is a big one, so let’s weigh up the pros and cons.

Traditional Publishing

Traditional publishing has many advantages, including:

No costs

  • to get a traditional publishing deal, you don’t have to pay anything. Even if sales are lower than expected, it won’t cause you financial loss.

There is an element of prestige in traditional publishing

  • if a publisher invests in your book, you must have written a good one!

Professional services

  • The publisher will take care of everything, from marketing to distribution. This can be a big weight off an author’s shoulders, and it means you can focus on writing and spend more time perfecting your craft.

You are more likely to reach bookstores with a traditionally published book.

There are a few cons, too, including:

  • It can take a long time for your book to come out

  • Royalties are lower compared to self-publishing where the money you make is yours to keep.


The benefits of taking the self-publishing route include:

Speed and flexibility

  • You can publish your book at your own pace. You can publish your book as quickly as you want, and you aren’t in a contract to meet deadlines.

Maximising royalties

  • The standard royalty rate is higher with independent publishing.

But there are also disadvantages, such as:

Marketing your book is your responsibility.

  • Without a traditional publishing team behind you, it’s up to you to get word about your book out there. When it comes to self-publishing you are the

Self-publishing can often mean that you are out of pocket.

  • You will have to pay for professional services, like cover design and editing.

  • It’s much less likely that your book will be in bookstores if you self-publish.


  • More people self-publish so there are more authors to compete with. This means you will have to put in extra work to make sure readers choose your book over others.

It’s more difficult to get reviews.

  • Reviews sell books and a traditional publisher will sort that out for you.

When it comes to choosing a publishing method, it’s less about which is ‘better’ and more about which is right for you. Remember – every author is different. Some find great success through traditional publishing and others prefer the freedom that comes with self-publishing and become successful authors by taking that route. Both paths have positives and negatives that you need to consider as a new author. It’s also important to remember that all traditional publishers are different – it’s not a one size fits all situation!

Here at Smashbear, we only publish books that spark passion in our editorial team. Our authors can look forward to being part of a team with no-nonsense access to their publisher and editing team. Think the traditional publishing route is right for you? Have you written an urban fantasy, fantasy, horror, paranormal romance or Sci-Fi book? Find out if we’d be a good match here:

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