3 Resources to Help You Decide between Traditional and Self-Publishing

Because of the growing prevalence of eBooks, authors often have to decide between traditional publishing and online publishing. That means that it’s up to us editors to know the pros and cons of each so that when our authors ask, we can tell them what they will gain and what they will lose from each. To increase my knowledge of online publishing, I researched these three sources.

In an article on the BookBaby Blog, the author discusses the differences between the two types of eBook layouts. I was not previously aware of the differences, so I am glad for the knowledge, but this knowledge will not apply to me until I and my author are ready to publish the book. So while it is valuable information, it is not the most helpful for editors who are looking to understand the major differences between e-books and traditional publishing.

I googled “pros and cons of eBook publishing” and discovered BYU graduate Catia Shattuck’s Book Cave article on the pros and cons of self-publishing eBooks. Shattuck uses bullet points to break down twenty pros and eleven cons of self-publishing online. This information is valuable for editors who are new to the eBook industry, and it’s a good, quick resource to share with authors who want to decide between the publishing mediums.

If an author or editor wants more detailed information about the major differences between traditional publishing and eBook publishing, then Thomas Woll’s book Publishing for Profit: Successful Bottom-Line Management for Book Publishers provides a chapter dedicated to this purpose (293–300). This resource is helpful for learning the business- and marketing-related differences between the two types of publishing. The chapter is especially beneficial for editors and others who work with P&L’s and other business facets of the publishing industry; for example, it can help them decide what type of publishing company they want to work for.

Each of these resources is helpful at different points in the publishing process (specifically the decision-making process of authors and their editors). In comprehensibility, Shattuck’s article is the most straightforward and accessible. I would suggest it be the first resources editors and authors go to for information about different types of publishing. Woll’s book would be the second resource I recommend, providing a more detailed look at each publishing medium’s growth and the mathematics involved in determining the profitability of each publishing medium. If editors and authors decide to self-publish online, then the next useful resource for them would be the BookBaby Blog article on eBook layouts, because it directly addresses a single point in the publishing process.

Robley, Chris. “EBooks 101: Standard Vs. Fixed Layout.” BookBaby Blog, July 2012. https://blog.book­baby.com/2012/07/ebooks-101-standard-vs-fixed-layout/. Shattuck, Catia. “What Are the Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing Ebooks?” Book Cave, May 2017. https://my­bookcave.com/authorpost/what-are-the-pros-and-cons-of-self-publishing-ebooks/. Woll, Thomas. Publishing for Profit: Successful Bottom-Line Management for Book Publishers. 5th ed. Chicago Review, 2014.

EditingTime © 2020 by Suzanne Uchytil

Developmental, substantive, and copy editor

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