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Is it Better to Self-Publish or Get a Publisher?

July 11, 2022 (Last Updated July 20, 2022)

Marcy G.

You thought writing the book was the hard part! Now it’s time to decide whether you should choose self-publishing or go with traditional publishing. One route gives you more profits, but you’ll have to do a lot more work. The other method is slower and requires you to give up some creative control. Which should you choose? 


Examine the pros and cons between self-publishing and traditional publishing, so you can move forward with publishing your book.


The Pros & Cons of Traditional Publishing

With traditional book publishing, a publishing company takes complete control of the publishing process of your book. You write the book, and the publishing company takes it from there. edits, formats, designs, and prints it. They are also in charge of distribution and marketing. In return, they keep a portion of the profits.



·      Your book will be edited, formatted, designed, and printed for you


·      Marketing and distribution are also provided by the publisher


·      You may receive an “advance” by the publisher, which is like paying you royalties ahead of time


·      Publishing companies have greater access to bookstores and online retailers, meaning easy exposure and embedded access to readers



·      The traditional publishing process can take a long time. It may take years before your book hits the shelves


·      It can be difficult to find a publishing agent to represent you. Once you find representation, your agent would then pitch your book to the publishing house


·      It’s difficult to acquire a book publishing deal, especially as an unknown author.


·      Traditional book publishing companies are looking for “safe bets” and guaranteed best-sellers. Very few proposals are accepted by book publishing agents


·      Lack of control: Since the publisher is in charge of every aspect of your book, you have little say in how your book handles, designed, marketed, etc.


·      With a traditional book publishing company and even some self-publishing platforms like KDP they may own your ISBN, meaning you can only sell your book to their approved retailers



·      You give up some rights: If your book doesn’t sell well, the publisher could drop you as a client retaining the rights to your book until your contract ends.



The Pros & Cons of Self-Publishing

Think of self-publishing as the “DIY” version of book publishing. The benefits of self-publishing are vast. However, this method requires you to publish, print, and market your creative work yourself, with no help from a traditional book publisher, so it’s important to have a solid plan in place before you get started.



·      You own the rights to your book: No tricky contracts and you have the rights to publish your book in all formats


·       You can buy your own ISBN to sell your books in stores and online


·      Your profits are yours: When you self-publish, you also don’t have to share any royalties


*Special note: Make sure you research the percentage of royalties that some online self-publishing companies earn, so you can then price your book accordingly. If you choose to sell your book on your own, as long as you have strong marketing efforts, you have the potential to keep 100% of your profits by selling through your personal website or reaching out to local bookstores.


·      You’re in control of how you want your book to look, the materials it is printed with, and the design


·      You control your brand: Since you will be taking care of the marketing efforts, you get to decide how you want to represent your book and yourself as an author


·      Quick turnaround time: You won’t have to email back and forth with an agent to get things done and make decisions, which makes getting your book printed and in people’s hands much faster



·      You have to fund it yourself: You will be completely responsible for every stage of the book publishing process - This includes the printing, design, editing, marketing budget, and distribution

·      You have to market it by yourself: One of the bigger challenges an author faces when self-publishing a book is marketing


Is it better to self-publish or get a publisher?

Ultimately, self-publishing is becoming an increasingly popular way to publish books and is the avenue many authors, especially new authors, end up taking. Traditional book publishing has become an exclusive club and these companies overlook many great authors.

Ask yourself these key questions to help you decide:

      Are you willing to put in the work to market your book yourself?

      Would you like to keep more of the profits from book sales?

      Do you want to retain creative control?

      Do you want to maintain the rights to your book?

If you’ve answered yes to most or all of the questions above, self-publishing may be the better path for you.


How 48 Hour Books Can Help You Self-Publish


Self-Publisher Checklist: Start with this handy checklist to begin your self-publishing journey


Marketing Resources: For advice on how to plan your marketing strategy, click here!


Editing Resources: We’ve narrowed your search for an editor with these recommendations.


ISBN and barcodes: If you plan on selling your book in stores, you’ll need to get an ISBN. When you print with 48 Hour Books, you can easily buy an ISBN and barcode package in singles or blocks of 10, 100, or 1,000. Simply request this on your online order form with us and we will send you the information to request an ISBN.

Free book templates: If you need help formatting your book, we have free downloadable templates that open in most word-processing computer programs. These templates are available in four different standard sizes, so you don’t have to worry about having the proper page size when you go to print your book. Simply download the template and start typing!

Cover design: We also have cover templates available that open in InDesign. If you need extra help designing your cover, our Create-a-Cover service is an affordable option to ensure your book is designed to your liking, without the stress of creating it yourself. If you need some extra help, consider our custom cover design services.

High-quality printing: When it’s time to print your book, 48 Hour Books offers the best bookstore quality books in online book printing. We understand that the process can be overwhelming when you start the printing process, so we have created our Ultimate Guide sample book to provide information on printing and self-publishing and provide samples of our paper and cover options.

Fast, friendly service: Other online book printing companies could take forever to get back to you if you have a question. Our customer service answers your questions thoughtfully and promptly. We’re here to help every step of the way.

Ready to self-publish? Get started today!

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Sign up for the 48 Hour Books newsletter to learn how to self-publish your book — and get it printed faster with us than anywhere else.

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Sign up for the 48 Hour Books newsletter to learn how to self-publish your book — and get it printed faster with us than anywhere else.


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