When it comes to publishing your just finished novel, you have three choices, you can go the traditional publishing route. You can self publish, or you can YOU publish. There are pros and cons of each publishing method.

Traditional Publishing

Most writers dream of one day getting their novel accepted at a big publishing house with worldwide reach and receiving a hefty royalty advance for all their hard work. The end result is that they are going to be the next Stephen King, Anne Rice, Danielle Steele or Lee Child, and they’re never going to have to go to work again. Instead, they’re going to write novels for the rest of their lives. Fantastic! If this is your goal, I wish you the best of luck.

Traditional Publishing Pros

  • It’s totally free. You won’t pay a dime for this upfront other than if you chose to mail your submission materials to the agent, publisher or editor.
  • You have a team in your corner that is going to help you make your book the best it can be.
  • You will eventually receive that royalty check.
  • You’re not going to have any problems getting into every bookstore and on every digital platform.

Traditional Publishing Cons

  • The average royalty is $5,000 not $5 million, and you will have to split that with your agent (if you got one.)
  • Your book publisher may not devote as much time or marketing resources as you expect.
  • You will still have to self-promote your book.
  • You will receive hundreds of rejections letters before you finally get that book contract.
  • You may never get that book contract.
  • A book contract today, means a published book in 12 to 24 months. Maybe.
  • Once your book is published, you will have very little control over it. If you find mistakes, it’s unlikely you will be able to have them corrected.
  • You will be splitting your royalties with your agent (if you have one) and book publisher.
  • Most books don’t earn their advances, which means your advance may be the only cash you see.
  • Book publishers are notorious for underreporting sales.
  • Book publishers pay royalties late (If you do happen to out-earn your advance)
  • Your book publisher may not be able to keep up with you if you are a fast writer.



Self-publishing doesn’t have the stigma that it once had. You are not a less-than writer for choosing the self-publishing route. In fact, self-publishing makes up about 30 percent of the current book publishing market, and there are numerous platforms where you can publish your work, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes and Google. The easiest places to publish are Amazon and Kobo. Barnes and Noble is a little tricky due to the fact that you have to have a vendor account. However, that is very doable. iTunes is slightly more difficult. You can only publish on Apple Books if you have an iPad or if you enlist the services of a publisher that has access to Apple Books. Google books is the most difficult. To get into Google books, you need to fill out an application and wait. You may be waiting for years. If you chose a publisher for your Apple book version, they may also be able to get you into Google Books.

Self-Publishing Pros

  • You are in full control of where your book is published.
  • You are not splitting your royalties as badly. You will still split them with the self-publishing platforms.
  • You can make changes to your book almost immediately, if you find problems or want to update the material.
  • You don’t have to worry about a publisher’s schedule. You can write and publish as many books as you want as fast as you want.
  • You set your book prices.
  • Your per-book royalties will be much higher than a traditionally published book.
  • Barnes and Noble will stock any book that sells 1,000 copies in 12 months on their website.
  • You can always go the traditional publishing route with your next single-title book or book 1 of your next series.

Self-Publishing Cons

  • It’s all on you. From writing to editing, formatting, book cover design and promotion, you are it.
  • If you want help, you will have to hire it. This means that if you want someone to edit your book, you will have to find a book editor and pay them. If you want book marketing help, you’ll have to hire them too. If you don’t feel like creating your own book cover, you’ll have to hire a cover designer or use a premade stock cover.
  • You might be able to get your paperback books into small, independently run bookstores in your area, but you will have to buy those hardcopies and peddle them yourself.
  • Your book sales will be overall lower than if you traditionally published.


YOU Publishing

There are a growing number of authors choosing an extreme form of self-publishing. For the purposes of this article, we are going to call it YOU publishing. These authors are not choosing any platforms other than the ones they 100 percent control. This means that their books are not available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Walmart, Apple Books or Google books or on any other mainstream platform. Instead, they’ve chosen to make their books for sell exclusively on their websites.

YOU Publishing Pros

  • You’re not splitting your royalties with anyone.
  • You have 100 percent control over all your books, and you can update them and change them as you see fit.
  • You choose the file formats. You can sell your books via PDF, MOBI, EPUB, ect.
  • There’s no risk of any publisher or platform underreporting your sales. You’ll see your book sales as they happen, and you will get paid immediately.

YOU Publishing Cons

  • Your advertising options are going to be limited. You can advertise on Google, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You will not be able to advertise on Amazon or Goodreads.
  • You are still 100 percent responsible for social media posting and getting the word out about your newly published books.
  • Readers can only purchase your book from your website. To that end, you’ll need a website with a store front and the ability to add products.
  • Selling hardcopies is going to be difficult. You’ll still need to find a POD publisher and pay for the printing costs, unless you plan on investing in equipment that allows you to print and bind your own paperbacks. You’ll also need to keep a small stock of all your paperbacks so that you can ship them immediately when someone buys them.

When you choose a publishing method, it’s best to weigh all the pros and cons. Traditional publishing is typically the slowest way to publish, but it can offer the best ROI, especially if you become a big name and can pull in those million dollar advances. YOU publishing just might be the hardest when it comes to promoting and gathering readers and fans. This is because you have to create a fan base from scratch and convince your potential readers that you are trustworthy and reliable so that they plug their credit card numbers or PayPal information into your personal website/store front.