Three Advantages of Traditional Publishing

This month’s Writing Magazine has a big special on self publishing, in which authors frankly share their warts and all experiences of the self publishing world. Self publishing is certain gaining momentum as a way to get your work out into the world. Authors are carving out incredibly successful careers independently of publishing houses. It’s never been easier to put your writing out into the world, and authors are seizing those opportunities, and profiting from them too.

But I’ve got to say that if I ever manage to finish that difficult second novel, I’ll be choosing the traditional route to publication. And I’m going to slaughter a sacred cow and hazard a guess that some self published authors would agree with me. here are three good reasons why.

1. You don’t have to produce your own book.

Why did you become a writer? My guess is that you wanted to tell stories and find an audience for them. Developing your stories to a degree that will make people want to read them takes 100% of your effort. Yet for a self published author, that’s just the beginning. They then have to format, design, produce and distribute their own book. To me, that’s like expecting artists to produce their own canvas, or musicians to produce their own instruments. If you’re traditionally published, your publisher will carry that financial and logistical burden for you, and let you get on with the business of being a writer.

 2. You get on the shelves

When my first novel was published, I was amazed at the extent to which, in this digital age, people expected it to be available on bookshelves. That’s why I believe that despite the availability and popularity of e-readers, if you’re not in bookshops, it’ll seriously damage your sales. Self published authors are at a huge disadvantage here, because it’s next to impossible to get your book into a bookshop on any significant scale using your own resources. Traditional publishers will put you in front of your reading public by ensuring your book is distributed using the major book distributors in your area.

 3. You get kudos

Being accepted by a traditional publisher means your book will be taken more seriously. You’re a lot more likely to be reviewed in national papers and to be put forward for awards. If you’re applying for arts council funding, your self published book is less likely to be considered as a viable publication. If your book is being traditionally published, it means that someone who knows what they’re talking about when it comes to books thinks your book is worthy of publication. Call it snobbery, but that still carries weight in certain circles.

Do you fly the flag for self publishing or for traditional publishing? Let me know your thoughts. I’m expecting some lively debate!

6 thoughts on “Three Advantages of Traditional Publishing

  1. Definitely the traditional route for me! I’ve read good indie books in the past and can see why some authors choose to go down that route, but I just don’t think I have the experience (or the cash) to pull if off properly.


    1. Yeah, I can identify with that. I’d be concerned in particular about my ability to design and format a book. Be a shame to end up with a shoddy book after all that work.


  2. I must look up that magazine – is it available online?
    Totally agree with all your points and yes, it is a huge undertaking to publish your own book and do it well – apart from the financial cost, there’s the job of promoting it and it isn’t easy to put yourself out there.
    I agree too, that being published gives it more approval and kudos. That’s why I was so excited to be interviewed by Tubridy and on Ireland AM and to see the book in the bookshops – it was like it had been given the seal of approval, or even more than that, that it gave it credibility.
    I’ll link to this post when writing my own post tomorrow 🙂


    1. Aw thanks. Mind you, your own story is proof that self publishing works if you have the right mix of persistence and promotional flair. Writing Magazine is available online, But it’s only a sample, so you’re better off with the hard copy, which is available in big newsagents’ like Eason.


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