Should You Self-Publish or Go the Traditional Route? How Do You decide?

Should You Self-Publish or Go the Traditional Route? How Do You decide?

Wrapped MSThis question has been asked hundreds, even thousands of times over the last few years, and today with the self-publishing market as strong as it is, it’s a good question to STILL be asking.

Should you self-publish or go the traditional route? And how do you decide?

Both options are equally viable. You can be successful (or not) with either route.

So, to simplify this, let’s look at the pros and cons.

Here are some of the pros and cons of Traditional publishing. I don’t think a separate list for Self-publishing is necessary, do you?



You have more time to focus on writing – the details are handled for you (decisions, editing, book design, publication) You may not have the ultimate say in how your book is edited, book design, etc.
You might receive an advance to help with marketing or anything else (ahem, bills) You still have to market yourself and your work.
Wider distribution Success and/or exposure is not guaranteed
Royalties Royalties
Your agent has your back It is REALLY difficult to get an agent, and then after that – to sell the book to the big houses


This decision ultimately comes down to what you want for your writing career. As you can see, there are pros and cons to both sides. Traditional publishing can afford you wider distribution, and you have someone invested in you. With self-publishing you have the ultimate control over your work – that means you pick your editorial team, book cover, and marketing approach. And it’s your money, not the publishing houses.

Either way, both routes require hard work and perseverance.

What other pros and cons can we add to this list? Have you made this decision for your own writing recently, and if so, how (and what) did you ultimately decide? 

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About Katie McCoach

KATIE McCOACH is a developmental book editor at KM Editorial, LLC working with authors to help them create their best story! Be sure to follow her on Twitter @KatieMcCoach.

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6 Responses to Should You Self-Publish or Go the Traditional Route? How Do You decide?

  1. Ryan Lanz April 15, 2017 at 12:34 pm #

    Hi Katie! Per your earlier permission, I scheduled this article to be featured as a guest post on on May 11th. As usual, it has your credit/bio/link. Thanks!

  2. Warstub March 5, 2014 at 12:39 pm #

    “Success and/or exposure is not guaranteed”

    And sadly, this is now the case (or always was) for the self-published author as well! It is so true that either route requires “hard work and perseverance”. I would add that being an indie author is mostly about just writing and putting your work ‘out there’ without any expectations, otherwise you could be settin gyourself up for a big fall/blow to your ego.

    I think starting out as a self-published author can in some ways guide you in the response of an audience to your work: Is there some interest?/What are the ratings and reviews saying? etc… All this without the pressure from a publisher.

    • katiemccoach March 12, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

      This is very true – starting self-publishing can really show yourself what you are expecting of your writing, and of the world. It can be an interesting venue to test yourself and gauge the reaction of readers and hone your craft. However, either way it’s a lot of hard work and you always want to put the best version forward. Thanks for your thoughts and stopping by!

  3. Jaycee Moule March 3, 2014 at 12:58 am #

    Really enjoyed reading this Katie, and as a new writer good advice is appreciated.

    • katiemccoach March 5, 2014 at 11:29 am #

      Hi Jaycee, Thanks for stopping by and I’m glad this helped! I hope to have more articles out soon around this topic and publishing, so stay tuned. As a new writer, what are you specifically interested in learning more about?


  1. Of Note (Mar 18th, 2014) | Chris Weston - March 18, 2014

    […] Should You Self-Publish or Go the Traditional Route? How Do You Decide? […]

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