Traditional Publishing is Dead

Traditional Publishing is Dead
Traditional Publishing is Dead

I was tempted to call this post “X Number of Reasons Authors Self-Publish”, but that whole post could have been summed up with this alternative title I chose.

How does the traditional book deal work?

  • You write your novel that you slaved over for years
  • Pitched it to an agent
  • Got approved or denied, if denied go back a step
  • The agent pitches it to a publisher
  • See step 3
  • They tell you everything wrong with it, what mold it needs to fit to make the most money, choose a cover for you, etc. They take over the entire creative process
  • Give you a nice advance and a contract for a few pennies on the dollar for royalties
  • They market it for you
  • You both make money, albeit heavily lopsided in their favor, never in yours

Correct me if I’m wrong.

By going the self-publishing route, you have complete control over your creative work.

You don’t have to worry about writing to fit a standard. If you enjoy writing about neo-Nazi lesbians who fight crime, you write about neo-Nazi lesbians who fight crime, and hopefully there’s a market for neo-Nazi lesbians who fight crime. No one is going to dictate what your book is going to be called.

What do you have to lose?

By self-publishing, your expenses could be as low as $0. You would need to do a whole bunch of free marketing, free cover design, and hope your editing skills are up to par. Your investment, minus your time and creative energy, could be minimum while your return could be great.

Check the royalties!

Going the traditional route, you would be incredibly lucky getting 25% for every book sold. With self-publishing, 35% is the minimum (on Amazon) and goes up to 100% depending on the publishing platform. Those numbers are crazy.

Say you have a book you wrote for sale on your own website for $10 and you’re spending $10/day on advertising. If you sell 1 copy a day, you’re making a potential for more than just monetary profit. That person might really enjoy what you have to say and will remain a loyal customer, which is major.

No industry BS

If you have an idea for an eBook, and you can convey your message in as little as 20 pages, you don’t have to include hundreds of pages of anecdotes and fluff to fill a page quota.

Once you get it back from an editor and your cover is made, the creation process is over. Upload it, and announce it. Do your marketing campaigns. No need to wait years for it to be put on shelves.

There’s no over or undervaluing your work. If you evaluate your work to be worth $10, there will be no outside party suggesting it be $5 or $20. You have control.

The power of the internet

With more and more people converting to electronic reading devices, you have the potential to reach millions more readers, all over the world. Not only that but you put it up once, it’s going to be available for a very long time.

Staff control

No need to worry about Joe Shmoe from Rinky Dink Publishing to sabotage your work with nonsense corrections. You can hire your own editor.

Your cover? You can make it yourself from scratch, use cover design software to help you, or hire someone to create a cover (until you’re happy with it).

You take care of your marketing (pros and cons of this). Or you can hire someone to do it for you. And fire them if you need be.

More skills gained

When you put on the hats of many jobs, you learn how to do a lot of jobs and gain many skills. Much more than how to write and find an agent.


Ultimately it’s up to you to figure out what exactly is best for your situation. For me, it’s doing it my damn self, because traditional publishing is dead.

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Justin Charnell

King of Spades at Onyx Defiant
I spend my time working out when I feel like it, being a gorgeous webmaster, and learning things. Former Marine, total POG (0651). I drink too much. PlayStation 4 on occasion. Gummy multivitamins and gallon jugs of water.
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