Traditional VS Self-Publishing 2019: Everything to Consider Before Deciding

You might be about to make the wrong decision.

It’s scary. You want to or have already written a book and now it’s time to decide between traditional versus self-publishing.

Which can help your book see the light of day?

traditional versus self publishing

Traditional Versus Self-Publishing

You’ve finally made the decision. After years of saying “I should,” you’ve made the bold decision to finally sit down and write your book.

It’s a tough, yet brave decision. Sitting down to get your message out in the world will be one of the most challenging yet rewarding things you do.

But now that you’ve made this decision, you may be wondering: 

Should I approach a publisher and go down the traditional route? Or should I self-publish and become an indie author? Which is better, traditional publishing versus self-publishing?

Before the age of the internet, the only way a writer could get their book in front of millions was to send a book proposal and a query letter to a traditional publisher or agent. The writer hoped that day’s gatekeeper had drank their morning coffee, woken up on the right side of the bed and actually given your letter and proposal more than a 10-second glance.

Unfortunately, the likelihood of that happening was slim to none.

This resulted in brilliant people like yourself being denied the opportunity to share their experiences, stories, and knowledge with the world.

The Publishing Industry Is Shifting

Thankfully, this industry is changing for the better – at least for those of us who are savvy in self-publishing.

With the development of online marketplaces like Amazon, the publishing process has changed. You can distribute your book to everyone, regardless of what some traditional publishing house thinks about your idea.

You have a book inside of you and the world needs to read it!

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing, marketing, and publishing process in our VIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more about it here

Why Self-Publishing?

The publishing world has changed, and it’s time for you to reap the benefits. Here are seven reasons why self-publishing is the best route to take—and why you’ll think twice before dealing with a publishing company again.

#1 – You Don’t Have to Wait for Permission

With self-published books, you do not have to wait for anyone to give you the green light.

  • You decide when and how to publish a book.
  • You decide whose hands your book gets into.
  • You decide how successful you are.

In other words, you don’t have to convince any gatekeepers to allow your book to reach the global market.

“But, don’t traditional publishers have a good idea for what will sell or not? I mean, if they reject my book, they’re probably right that no one would want to buy it.”

Wrong.

Have you ever heard of Tim Ferriss’s book “The 4-Hour Workweek”? It has been a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller for over four years. It sold nearly 1.5 million copies and has been translated into 35 different languages.

Oh, and get this: It was rejected by the first 26 publishers it was presented to.

Maybe you’ve also heard of a certain children’s book, the one about a young boy with a lightning bolt scar on his forehead who discovers he is a wizard. The ”Harry Potter” franchise is a patent bestseller, with the last four books in the series being the fastest-selling books in history. 

Yet it was rejected by 12 publishers in a row, and was only picked up because the eight-year-old daughter of an editor demanded to read the rest of the book. Even then, after the editor agreed to publish, they advised J.K. Rowling to get a day job as she had little chance of making money in children’s books.

Little did they realize the publishing success they had stumbled onto.

Now, just imagine all the other authors out there who stopped after the first 10 or 20 doors slammed in their faces, believing the lie that they didn’t have a profitable idea.

You cannot allow other people to determine your success.

Self-publishing gives you the avenue to do that. You and your readers decide the worth of your words, rather than one person at a publishing firm who may not realize the potential publishing success in their hands. 

#2 – You Can Publish Your Work Quickly

If you were to take your book to a traditional publisher, it would take years to publish.

For example, it may take up to six months for you to even hear back about the book proposal. And assuming they accept your proposal, it will take at least another year before the book is actually published.

With self-publishing, you can produce your content as quickly as you want. And in the Amazon Kindle store, you can publish a new book whenever you want. That way, you can share your work as quickly as you create it!

#3 – Bring Home the (passive) Bacon

Traditionally-published authors are typically paid an amount of money up front. However, once the sales come rolling in, they only get a small cut of the earnings. 

Why? Because they have to pay the publishing house, the editor, the marketers, the designers, etc.

But when you self-publish, you take in most of the earnings (save for the money you actually choose to spend on marketing, book production and publishing). On Amazon, for example, self-published authors receive 70% of the royalties for an eBook priced between $2.99 and $9.99. Now that isn’t bad!

#4 – You Form Invaluable Connections

Self-publishers around the world have gathered online and in person to provide a community that supports one another in publishing their work.

These connections become priceless as you meet other up-and-coming influencers like yourself.

“Wait—so where would I meet these people?”

Because self-publishing requires that you find your own editor, cover designer, formatter and launch team members, you end up connecting with people throughout your whole writing experience.

Self-published authors also gather on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Reddit.

The camaraderie allows people to expand far beyond what they could have done on their own, or what they would have been limited to with a traditional publisher.

#5 – You Control Your Objective

So much of a book is influenced by the motive that fuels it.

  • Is your motive to make money?
  • It is to launch a new career?
  • Is it to share your story?
  • Is it to become a public speaker?
  • Or, is it simply something to cross off your bucket list?

Remember, writing a book is hard work. And nothing is worse than seeing your hard work be transformed into something you didn’t want. When you self-publish, you are able to preserve the dignity and genius of your objective. No one is pressuring you to sell more books, or to taint your message so that it will reach wider audiences.

You are not pigeonholed or made to become someone you’re not comfortable with.

You write as you, and for you. And that is liberating. That is self-publishing freedom!

#6 – You Control Your Creative Concept

There are horror stories about authors whose ideas and voice became unrecognizable after they went down the traditional route. 

When you work with a traditional publisher, you don’t just sell them your manuscript, you sell them your idea.

Your book may become something you are not comfortable with. Or, your dreams for a sequel or a revision may be completely squandered if it does not comply with the motives of the traditional publisher.

But as an independent author, you retain total creative control. 

You are free to be expressive with your work. You are free to be vulnerable and controversial. You are free to be you.

When you self-publish, you also control who you write for. If you sell via the Amazon Kindle store, you can choose, and then tweak, your categories and keywords. You determine your marketing efforts.

With 45 percent of e-book sales going to indie authors, audiences are showing that they respect and want to purchase the ideas of everyone—not just those endorsed by traditional publishers.

#7 – You Control Your Future

Most people looking to write a book want to earn more money, gain more freedom or have a platform to share their ideas.

When you self-publish and have complete ownership over your ideas, you also have complete ownership over your future.

There is no traditional publishing firm to stop you from selling a supplementary online course that includes material from your book, starting a speaking career, re-releasing your book with a hardcover or audiobook, or even releasing an updated version of your book.

You determine the trajectory of your book, your ideas, and your publishing career when you self-publish.

Even Big Names Choose Between Traditional Publishing VS Self-Publishing

Though there are some benefits to traditional publishing, even some well-established and successful authors admit that the joys of being an indie author outweigh a traditional publishing deal.

So much, in fact, that big name entrepreneurs who have large followings and could easily get a traditional publishing deal are opting to go the self-publishing route.

These people include Pat Flynn, Jeff Goins, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, Johnny B. Truant and James Altucher.

What You GetSelf-PublishingTraditional Publishing
Sole control of your book's outcome
X
Sole control of your book's rightsX
Control over the story X
Control over the coverX
100% of royaltiesX
Editing includedX
Cover designX
MarketingXX
DeadlinesX

Why Go With Traditional Publishing?

As you can probably tell, we here at Self-Publishing School are huge advocates of being in control and ensuring you get all the money you deserve for the work you’ve put in.

That being said, sometimes traditional publishing will be the best option to fit your needs.

Here is why some people might opt to go with traditional publishing instead of reaping the rewards of self-publishing.

#1 – You have connections in the publishing industry

The chances of landing and agent and making it in traditional publishing is very low.

Because this market is very saturated and publishers really only publish certain types of books, those who have better luck with traditional publishing are those who have connections within the industry.

Bascially, if you know someone who is an agent or an editor at a publishing house, it might be beneficial for you to work with them in order to get published through that house.

#2 – You want the label

The best perk when it comes to traditional publishing is typically the fact that you can say you’re a traditionally published author.

Because you have to go through a number of different processes and rejections in order to “make it” with traditional publishing, it can be seen as a sign that you’re a better writer than others.

However, as much as it can sound impressive, it doesn’t always mean it is.

#3 – Distribution

Book distribution is much easier as a traditionally published author, mostly because you don’t have to deal with any of it.

Traditional publishing houses have very wide reaches and because of this, your book can reach a lot more stores in more places than if you traditionally publish.

#4 – Less responsibility on your part

If you’re the type of person who just wants to write the book but don’t want to worry about the title, cover, editing, or more, then traditional might be for you.

Keep in mind that traditional publishers do purchase the rights to your book when you get a book deal and therefore, can make you alter anything in it to meet their needs.

Meaning, your plot and characters can drastically change. If you’re okay with that, then traditional publishing works for you.

#5 – No upfront costs to you

Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean traditional publishing is necessarily “free.”

Typically, those who get traditional book deals receive an upfront payment of varying amounts. From there, the rest of the expenses fall on the publisher.

However, those upfront payments aren’t often big enough to cover your living expenses for the length of time it takes to get your book finished and out into the world. And that means you’ll still have to continue to work another job while writing and meeting deadlines in order to get your book done.

#6 – A slow and steady process

This can be both a pro and a con. If you’re not in a rush to get your book out into the world, then the slow and lengthy traditional publishing process might be a good thing for you.

Ultimately, Self-Publishing Will Change Your Life

It may be that, like quite a few writers, you’ve dreamed about working with a big-name publishing house all your life, and nothing will satisfy you until you get that experience. There is nothing wrong with that.

If you’ve identified this need early on, then maybe it’s best for you to go down the traditional publishing route. 

Join Chandler Bolt at his FREE Webinar Training as he reveals the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row – and how he used them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years!

Spots are limited!

Click Here to Save Your Spot

But let’s say you win the book lottery and get published. There is still no guarantee that your publisher’s efforts will get your work in bookstores or into the hands of the editors of your favorite literary magazines and newspapers. There’s also no guarantee in sales volume. 

However, self-publishing gives you an alternative path. It gives you an assured chance of getting your book out there. You have a better chance of seeing success in your sales and making an impact if your message resonates with enough people. Not to mention, you get to stay true to the vision of your book.

Self-publishing allows you the freedom, money, community and control to shape your life into one that you adore.

So, start writing your own bestseller today.

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish six bestselling books in a row…and use them to build a seven-figure business in less than two years. Click here to save your spot now!

Have you decided if you’re going with self-publishing or traditional publishing? Tell us why!

Voice in Writing: 77 Questions to Find Yours

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Finding your unique voice in writing can be so tricky. Have you ever thought, “Why do I seem to become more boring the longer I write?” Or, maybe you’re thinking, “Why do I struggle to write when I can talk to people so easily about the same subject?”

Sometimes, there’s a disconnect between how we want to say something and how it actually sounds. Our voice as a writer can get lost, tainted, or may just be inconsistent. The way to combat this is found in a two-part solution:

  1. Create an avatar.
  2. Write to that avatar.

voice in writing

What Is An Avatar?

To a writer, an avatar is a composite of characteristics of people that you want as your ideal readers. This person should have a name, a picture, a specific demographic, and other detailed qualities. Once you can easily hold a picture of who this person is in your mind’s eye, you can develop your writer’s voice by writing to your avatar.

When you hold your avatar in mind, you’re able to write as if you’re having a conversation. This allows you to be more authentic, more helpful, and it enables you to connect with your reader – which will in turn help you to sell more books.

If your readers are the right readers (the people that your avatar represented), they will think as they read your book, “Oh my goodness, this book was written exactly for me!”

How Do I Create An Avatar?

A good first step is to think, “Who is one person in my life that this book would help the most?”

If there is someone that you think fits the bill exactly, then voila! Write the book for that person.

Chandler Bolt, founder of Self-Publishing School, even suggests starting each chapter off by addressing your avatar.

For example, if your avatar’s name is Sharon, you could start each chapter by saying, “Dear Sharon.” Later, in your editing process, you can delete that initial greeting.

Chandler says, “What you’ll find is that when you’re struggling with your voice and you’re not sure what to say, you’ll just come back to, ‘What would [name of avatar] want to hear right now? What story would most resonate with them? How could I write the next portion of my book in a language that would resonate the most to [name of avatar]?'”

You will write faster, you will write easier, and you will write books that your readers crave.

Is an Avatar Necessary?

Some people may opt for a slew of statistics that represent the general demographic of their reader instead of an avatar. But basing your writing voice off of a generic understanding of your ideal reader will result in a generic portrayal of your message.

And, with a generic message, your audience will be too broad. As it’s been said, “When your audience is ‘everyone,’ your audience is no one.”

“But I Don’t Have An Avatar!”

If you don’t know someone that perfectly embodies your avatar, don’t stress!

Here are 77 questions that you can answer to flesh out your avatar, and in turn, solidify your voice as a writer.

Determine Your Avatar’s Demographics

  1. What is your avatar’s name?
  1. What is your avatar’s age?
  1. What is your avatar’s gender?
  1. What is the marital status of your avatar?
  1. How many children does your avatar have?
  1. What are the ages of your avatar’s children?
  1. What is your avatar’s occupation?
  1. What is their job title?
  1. How many years have they been in their current position?
  1. What is your avatar’s annual income?
  1. How many jobs have they held throughout their career?
  1. What is your avatar’s level of education?
  1. Where did they attend school?
  1. What type of experience did they have at school?
  1. Who were their friends at school?
  1. What are your avatar’s political views?
  1. What are your avatar’s religious views?

It is even important that you define your avatar’s physical characteristics. This means that you should even have a picture of your avatar!

You can easily find a picture on the internet to find an image that captures the look of your created avatar.

  1. What is your avatar’s hair color?
  1. What is your avatar’s eye color?
  1. What is your avatar’s weight?
  1. What is your avatar’s height?
  1. What does their facial expressions look like when they’re frustrated? Tired? Confused? Happy? Surprised? Taken off-guard?

Determine Your Avatar’s Personality

  1. Describe your avatar’s personality at home, at work, and in other social situations. (If you’re stuck, consider the questions, “What makes your avatar anxious?” “Does your avatar feel secure in social situations?” “Does your avatar crave attention or try to avoid it?” “Does your avatar feel accepted in their relationships?”)
  1. If you could tell your avatar anything, and you knew that they would not only hear you, but apply what you’ve said, how would you instruct them?
  1. What are exact quotes that your avatar would say? (If you are unsure of this, simply watch people—whether personal friends or other online presences—and observe how they speak. What do their Facebook comments look like, their Amazon book reviews, etc.?)
  1. What thoughts keep your avatar awake at night?
  1. What does your avatar’s typical social environment look like?
  1. How does their culture influence their personality and decisions?
  1. What things does your avatar feel like they have control over?
  1. What things does your avatar feel like are out of their reach?
  1. What does your avatar worry about?
  1. Who does your avatar celebrate?
  1. Has your avatar’s life lived up to their expectations?

Determine Your Avatar’s Hobbies and Interests

  1. What type of music does your avatar listen to?
  1. How often does your avatar listen to music?
  1. Does he or she like sports? Do they enjoy watching? Playing?
  1. Is your avatar interested in art?
  1. Where does your avatar want to travel?
  1. Where has your avatar already traveled?
  1. What does your avatar stay up-to-date on?
  1. What are your avatar’s favorite clothing brands?

Determine Your Avatar’s Goals and Values

  1. What does your avatar want to accomplish this week? This year? Before they die?
  1. What is your avatar’s process for working towards those goals?
  1. What is your avatar committed to (values)?
  1. In what ways does your avatar wish to improve their family situation?
  1. What would your avatar pay almost anything for?

Determine Your Avatar’s Challenges and Pain Points

  1. What challenges is your avatar currently facing?
  1. What causes your avatar pain?
  1. What is the worst thing that could happen to your avatar if their problem (that you are solving in your book) wasn’t solved?
  1. How would this make them feel?
  1. What is your avatar afraid of?
  1. What does your avatar dislike about their current situation?

Determine Where Your Avatar Spends Time

  1. Where does your avatar hang out (physical locations)?
  1. Where does your avatar spend time on the internet?
  1. What books does your avatar read? Digital Marketer, an online business that specializes in internet marketing, suggests that you answer the question, “My ideal [reader] would read [book name], but no one else would.” By determining a book that your avatar would read, but no one else would, you are able to understand the personality and buying traits of your avatar even more.
  1. What magazines does your avatar read?
  1. What blogs and websites does your avatar read and spend time on?
  1. Does your avatar use Twitter? Why?
  1. Does your avatar use Facebook? Why?
  1. Does your avatar use LinkedIn? Why?
  1. What other social media platforms does your avatar use? Why?
  1. How much time does your avatar spend online?
  1. What conferences does your avatar attend?
  1. Who does your avatar consider gurus or experts?
  1. What types of technology does your avatar use (what type of phone, computer, television, etc.)?
  1. What does your avatar think of themselves?
  1. What does your avatar’s friends think about them?
  1. What does your avatar’s family think about them?

Determine Objections Your Avatar Might Have To Your Book/Message

  1. What possible objections might your avatar have to your book/message?
  1. Why would your avatar choose not to buy your book?
  1. What is your avatar’s ability to purchase products from you?
  1. How does your avatar perceive products similar to yours?

Determine What Your Avatar’s Experience With Your Book Should Be

  1. What did your avatar do before reading your book?
  1. What will your avatar think while reading your book?
  1. What is your avatar trying to accomplish by reading your book?
  1. What will your avatar do after reading your book?
  1. What will make your avatar come back to your book?

Steps to Find Your Voice in Writing

To create your avatar, something that will greatly enhance your voice as a writer and your all-around ability to sell to and connect with your readers, do the following:

  1. Answer the questions above.
  1. Based on the information you gather, write a story about your avatar. Transform the facts into a short narrative about this person’s life.
  1. Write your book to this person and watch your writing voice become more consistent and powerful.

Knowing who you are writing for not only influences future blog posts, sales copy, email marketing, and paid traffic advertising, it also helps you write your book.

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

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