by Katie McCoach


This 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? 




Guest post contributed by Katie McCoach. Katie is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Editorial Freelancers Association. She has had essays published in TrainWrite and Kalliope and is currently writing a contemporary romance novel. For advice on editing, writing, and publishing, visit her blog and be sure to also follow her on Twitter.