What are the pros and cons of traditional publishers?

Most authors would love to be published by a famous New York or London publishing house, be a multi-million bestselling author and be in all the bookstores around the world.

But with the industry changing fast and ebook readers taking off, are there still benefits to traditional publishing?

The benefits of a”real” publishing house are:

  • The kudos and prestige of gaining publication by a named house as well as access to the community of published authors and literati
  • They are the professionals at editing, printing and distribution of books
  • Some marketing costs are covered and you may be provided with a publicist
  • Advance is given from potential royalties, but don’t expect it to be much for a first time author
  • If the book does well, this can be a longer term arrangement for multiple books

The drawbacks are as follows:

  • There may be long lead times so you need to be patient. You will need a publisher well in advance of finishing your book. It may take 18 months from completion to publication. Some people don’t want to wait that long.
  • Lack of control over the process and finished product. For example, you might hate the cover but you are unlikely to get much say.
  • The rights to the book are held by the publisher
  • If you don’t sell many books, you may not be important any more. Beware the publishers pulping meeting which may destroy your books if they do not sell. You still need to carry on promoting after the initial gloss has worn off to keep sales going as publishers move onto the next big thing very quickly

Compare this to Print on Demand and Self Publishing .


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  1. Patricia Murphy says

    wow now I am totaly confussed which way should I go maybe I need to think about it some more traditional or self plublish that is the big question thank you

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