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Self Publishing (Print on Demand) vs. Traditional Publishing

Mar 16, 2008
There was a time when becoming published consisted of a major publishing company reading your manuscript, liking what they read, and accepting it for publication. These days with the technological revolution, there are a number of ways to become published. The foremost manners are Traditional publishing and print on demand.

Both have their pros and cons, and both are extremely different from one another. There are several aspects lacking in both. Neither manner is perfect. The main issue that a writer faces when the writing process is complete. You have your manuscript, and you want to get it published, so what do you do now?

The process of traditional publication can take up to six months or more. All too often, the final decision in the publication process is the result of impatience. The writer is not patient enough to wait for an answer so he or she decides to go with print on demand publishing. In some cases, this can be a very bad mistake.

The Pros of Traditional Publication: Traditional publication takes a lot of responsibility and work out of the hands for the writer. There is less time spent in actual sales and marketing and more time available for promotion and planning the next book. There is also the aspect of the feeling of accomplishment. When one goes the self-publishing POD route, he or she often doesn't feel as if they are deserving of the title of published author. It simply doesn't feel as if it is a lofty accomplishment, as anyone with a computer and a little money can be self-published.

The Cons of Traditional Publication: Again there is the time between submission of the manuscript and actual publication. It can take weeks, and even months. The average publisher has a reading period between four to six weeks, sometimes one to six months, depending upon the popularity and work load of the publisher. Another con in traditional publishing is the financial end. Though you do not pay any fees, the publishing company gets an average fee per sale of fifteen percent. It doesn't seem like much, but it can add up after ten thousand books.

The Pros of self-publication: Print on Demand offers more on the actual control of your manuscript. You decide the content; cover art, and even the price that the book will be sold for. You decide who sells the book and where it is sold. Also, self-publishing means that you keep the final sale price of the book. However, when comparing to the fifteen percent that a traditional publisher gets, one tends to wonder if they are actually making more money.

The Cons of self-publication: Print on demand can be tricky, as many POD companies are little more than a scam. They take your money and give you a less than average book in return. There is a lot of researching involved in self-publishing. You spend a lot of time on every aspect of the publication process, from printing to marketing. Self publishing requires a considerable amount of money up front, usually with a minimum order. There is also the aspect of the public view. Once the public finds that you are a self-published author, there is a definite lacking in respect that one generally gives an author.

Ultimately, the one that will decide the best venue for your book will be you. We strongly urge you to research for a while before you actually make a choice. Most published authors, in either way, will suggest that you go with traditional publishing initially. If that doesn't work, then resort to self-publishing.
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