Podcast 26: The Difference Between Traditionally Published and Self-Published Books

business podcast your holistic business recipe Aug 13, 2020
Difference Between Traditionally Published and Self-Published Books

If you dream of writing a book for your therapy, coaching or holistic health business, you have two main options to getting it published: traditionally published or self-published.

With traditional publishing, you have a contract with a publisher to provide them with a manuscript of your book. They will then take on the job of getting it published and have the distribution network to sell it.  The publisher will also own the rights to the book.

A self-published book is published by the author so they own the rights to it and receive all the royalties. Advancements in technology such as print on demand and eReaders have made this an attractive option for anyone wanting to write a book.  No longer do you have to pay for thousands of copies to be printed and have to fulfil your own orders.

Traditional publishing – pros

  • The publishing process is done for you.
  • You don’t have the up-front costs involved (editing, designing, typesetting etc.) in getting your book finished.
  • There’s the opportunity to reach a wider audience as you’ll be marketed through the publisher’s network.
  • A traditionally published author has more kudos than a self-published author
  • You’re kept accountable with deadlines and supported through the steps you need to take.
  • A publishing house is created to produce and sell books and they have the systems and distribution channels in place
  • Depending on the topic and your status, you may be offered an advance payment to write your book.

Traditional publishing – cons

  • It takes a long time to get your finished book done and printed – mine was a year from the submission of my first manuscript
  • It’s very competitive and many authors struggle to get a contract with a publisher
  • You don’t have control over the creative input. You’ll have writing guidelines and a layout for the book that’s the house style for the publisher.
  • The royalties are low so you won’t make much money per copy sold
  • Whilst you get marketing support, you’re still required to do most of the marketing for the book.
  • The publisher decides when your book goes out of print.

Self-publishing – pros

  • You guarantee your book gets published and you decide how long it’s available for
  • Self-publishing is a faster process
  • You’re in control of everything and are able to make all the decisions about your book
  • You have the creative lead around the design and tone of your book
  • Choose your own design and copy team to support the publication of your book
  • You make considerably more money per book sold and you own the rights to it

Self-publishing – cons

  • All of the marketing is your responsibility
  • You have to pay in advance for services needed to set up your book
  • You’ll have to work hard to gain validity as an author

Why is my book being published traditionally?

I was extremely lucky (and honoured) to be approached by a publisher.  If I’m honest, a book wasn’t on my radar at that point but I know the power of having a book for my business. For me, traditional publishing was the best way to introduce myself to the world of becoming an author.  I had the structure and processes in place to support me and also to keep me accountable.

Best self-publishing resources

If you want to self-publish a book, Joanna Penn at The Creative Penn has great resources.  She makes her living as a professional writer and has published both fiction and non-fiction titles.  Her books, podcast and courses will help you navigate self-publishing and marketing your book.

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Podcast 26 show notes:

  • 01:18 What’s a traditionally published book?
  • 01:42 What’s a self-published book?
  • 02:45 Traditional publishing – pros
  • 04:46 Traditional publishing – cons
  • 07:22 Self-publishing – pros
  • 09:26 Self-publishing – cons
  • 10:22 Why I went the traditional publishing route
  • 12:28 Best self-publishing resources
  • 13:02 Your Holistic Business Recipe pre-order

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