The Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing versus Traditional Publishing

Full disclosure. I am not a published author. I am barely an author. Sometimes I’m barely a human, but that’s only before 8:30 a.m. and two cups of coffee.

Still, the CC chat has been gabbing recently about the differences between Traditional Publishing and Self-Publishing. I thought I ought to take my copious amount of knowledge and explain the pros and cons and settle this debate for good. Here you are, people. The good, the bad, and the ugly about publishing.

First, let’s examine Traditional Publishing:

Pros:

  1. You will probably have an agent, and that agent will buy you things like coffee because you are the money maker.
  2. You will be paid in royalty checks which you may collect, throw onto your mattress and then roll around on. Nudity optional.
  3. You will rub shoulders with hoity toity authors who are actually famous. Some of them might even not call the cops on you.
  4. As a traditionally published author you will get use the phrase “I have been traditionally published” which, as everyone knows, makes you totally legit and not a stupid wannabe author like all the rest of us.
  5. You will have the marketing professionals at your disposal to guide you through the murky waters of marketing and social media.

Cons:

  1. The marketing professionals will kindly ask you to use less swears in your tweets.
  2. You will suffer neck pain due to the giant inflated head you will carry around.
  3. Your lifestyle will be partially controlled by how well you write, which will be controlled by editors, agents, the agent’s dog, the dog’s food provider, and that guy down the road named Dave who may or may not be harboring illegal immigrants.
  4. No matter how hard you try you will never ever be satisfied. Women and men will throw themselves at you and your life will still be a hollow shell. You will never be truly complete.
  5. You’ve got to spend, like, a shit ton of time trying to find an agent and convince them that you are worth something, which is hard when you yourself know deep down that you are not satisfied with yourself.

And Self-Publishing

Pros:

  1. No pants Friday? No pants every day!
  2. You don’t answer to anyone about anything. Even those stupid creditors and that repo man.
  3. You can swear all you want in your tweets because you are the master of your own universe.
  4. You’re not bound by your agent or publisher’s desire to satisfy market demands. Oh, is vampire romance in? Well let me tell you a story about a dog with IBS who is also a wizard and solves WWII mysteries. Bam. Best seller.
  5. No matter how ill-advised it is, you can publish at any point and time. Take a picture of a dog turd, paintshop it onto an 6.5 x who-gives-a-shit cover, add a title in comic sans and BAM – Published.

Cons:

  1. Drunk publishing is ill advised. You are your own agents and marketer. If you are an awful person, this can be difficult.
  2. You are ‘self-published’ which is apparently a ‘bad thing’ and ‘less legit’ and everyone is ‘going to make fun of you’.
  3. You are on your own schedule. No one is holding you to finish anything. And Netflix did just add a new season of BoJack Horseman.
  4. Finding an editor you can afford.
  5. God, you’re so hungry. There isn’t anything in your fridge. Maybe check that chocolate bar wrapper and see if you can lick something off of it.
  6. No one will offer to pay for your new keyboard when you get your sticky, chocolatey fingers all over it.

7 comments

  1. This was funny.

    Couple counterpoints:

    1) Do people really throw themselves at authors? I feel like that might be something we wannabes might have built up in our minds. I doubt Steven King and James Patterson go out to clubs picking up chicks willy nilly.

    2) When it comes down to it, the question is – “Would it be a good idea to win the lottery?” Yes, it would, but you can’t plan for it.

  2. Well, I think you’ve over-glamorized the traditional author. MOST of them make less than Moderately successful indies, since they get a very tiny % of the money earned, and sometimes the royalty checks never make it to their mailbox.

    But there are a lot of advantages, like having nothing to eat, so you become model thin.
    And no one but you is stressing yourself, and you can tell yourself to leave you alone and chill.
    And it’s possible, you might listen.

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