Traditional & Self Publishing at a Glance

Motivated by a “publisher” in a FB group who is putting out lots of wrong info, I thought I’d create an “At a Glance” comparison of traditional and self publishing.


This is a great graphic, maybe we could pin it to the top of the club. One small tweak - Amazon’s 70% royalty option is (for books priced in American dollars, it changes by store and currency) available to books priced between 2.99-9.99. Over 9.99 reverts to 35%.


Thank you!!! I’ll update tomorrow.

Hey @AlecHutson is $9.99 (that price exactly) 70% or 35%?

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The 70% royalty tier is from 2.99-9.99. So anything above or below is 35%.

This needs to be pinned, along with other resources like things on Dreame.


As requested I pinned the post. Great information @XimeraGrey There are too many Dreame posts, unless we have one we find particularly relevant, I would be a bit hesitant to choose one.


Thanks, Lina!

Thanks, @all

There’s likely some tweaks that need to happen. I’ll do that along the way and as things change.

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It can quickly get overwhelming, but …

Small press publishers do not always provide a professional level of cover design or editing. They all say they do, though. :smile:

In “Decision Making,” under Traditional Publishing, the author cannot decide whether the book will be published in audio format, or sometimes print. That is decided by the publisher.

In “Books for Authors,” sometimes a small press will expect the author to hand-sell copies of the book during signing events at conventions or bookstores. A self-published author does have to pay $$ for print versions, but can do so at a discount.


Thank you!

I made updates.

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Indeed, very nice. Here are my small suggestions, based on topics I see coming up frequently in the forums. But it’s great as it is.

Rights, Trad column:
Suggest adding: “Read the contract carefully. Research. Ask published authors, e.g. in this forum. If in doubt, consult a lawyer.”

Barriers to entry, self-pub column:
Instead of “None” I suggest “Low”, or “No formal barriers”.
Detail: If commercial success is your goal, you have to understand your chosen distributor platform, and achieve cover, blurb, and interior designs on par with those of traditional publishers.

Alternative wording: “No formal barriers. But you are responsible for editing, cover, blurb, and interior design, and your sales will be highly sensitive to how good those are. See Design, Editing, Printing.”

Cost, Trad column:
Suggest adding: “If an agent asks for a fee, it’s a scam. If a publisher asks for a fee, it’s a vanity press, which is to say, a scam.”

PR & Marketing, Trad column:
Suggest adding: “These days, most publishers expect the author to contribute to marketing.”


Good ones!

I’d love to be published…


Wouldn’t we all? Lol

I already prepared a professionally designed cover since I wanted to make sure the cover was what I wanted. Would it not be used if I decided to trad publish?

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No, it wouldn’t. They would want their marketing team to weigh in and work with the cover designer.


I understand, thank you. :blush:


Hey! I was wondering what your thoughts on Swoon Reads is? They’re more traditional than self publishing, right?

Not really. They might be the step towards trad pubbing, though. From what I can see you upload and try to get reads and if you have enough they might consider your story for traditional publishing. If you con’t make it, they won’t take it. However, it might also teach you the basics of self pubbing which is not a bad thing. Swoon is YA specific, so I don’t know them personally - don’t t take this as a recommendation. This post from Writer’s BEware says very clearly where the snag is - the six month exclusive.

If you write YA and romance and not worried about such constraints, it might work. But WP has a similar concept, if you write well and get into stars you also have chances…

Like Linda said, they’re something different – frankly I think they’re closer to vanity. We’ve had threads on them before. I can’t stand the model, personally. If you’re capable of crowdsourcing that amount of money, then you don’t need them. They’ve just found a creative way to get other people to front the money, while they plan to take royalties later.