A Handy Comparison Chart

Table for Publishing Options

Traditional Co-Publishing Self-Publishing
Distribution Yes Yes Yes
Book Rights Publisher licenses Author owns Author owns
Publishing Expenses Publisher covers Author covers Author covers
Marketing Expenses Author covers Author covers Author covers
Signing Advance Most of the time None None
Royalties 1%–10% of sales price, paid every six months 10%–50% of sales price, paid every six months 100% of the profit immediately upon sale
When to Use
  • When you don’t have the money to pay for editing, publishing, and marketing expenses.
  • When you want an advance.
  • When you don’t want to assume all the financial risk for the creation of the book.
  • When you’re OK with lower up-front costs, but lower long-term profit because of lower royalties.
  • When you have the money to pay for marketing and publishing expenses, but want to maximize distribution.
  • When you can forego money up front in order to make more money on each book.
  • When you have a limited budget.
  • When you’re just building your platform.
  • When you can’t find a traditional publisher.
  • When you want to maximize your revenue on each book.
  • When you want to keep the rights to your book.
Eligible to Become a Bestseller Yes Yes No
Promote A Book
Can Help With Traditional Publishing

If you’re a new author and you want to see your book on The New York Times or Wall Street Journal, or USA Today bestseller lists, traditional publishing is probably your best option. If you’ve already committed to hiring Promote A Book, but haven’t found a publisher, we can probably help. If you think traditional publishing is the right option, and you have your sites set on making the bestseller lists, read our guide on How to Publish a Best-selling Book.

Get Traditionally Published
Traditional Publishing License Your Book to a Firm Capable of Printing and Distributing It

When you license your book to a publishing house, they’ll generally provide copyediting, cover design, and layout, to create a professional-looking printed book, then they’ll distribute it to retail bookstores.

Find Out About Distribution
Publisher’s Expenses

The publisher pays for printing, distribution, and co-op costs. They assume the financial risk and therefore keep most of the profits from sales.

Learn What Publishers Do

What publishers generally don’t do—what they see as your job—is promote your book to readers. It’s important to understand what publishersdo and don’t do.

Let Us Help You Promote

The author gets an advance and a royalty payment for each book sold after the advance is repaid. The royalty payment is relatively small—typically 10%-12% of
the retail price.

See How Bestselling Authors Profit
Professional Quality

Ordering and billing can be simplified or outsourced to services like Amazon or Createspace, but you still need a professional cover design, interior layout, and coopyediting

Upgrade Your Book Quality
Keep Your Rights

If you want an Amazon or Kindle bestseller, self-publishing can be a great vehicle. The barrier to entry is low, you to keep the rights, and all profits from sales.

Become An Amazon Bestseller
Not For
Major List

If you want to see your book in your local bookstore, or to have a chance at a major newspaper’s bestseller list, then self-publishing isn’t the option for you.

See Your Book At Barnes & Noble
Higher Profits

In exchange for paying upfront costs and shouldering some or most of the financial risk, the author gets a much greater percentage of the profits from sales.

Go Beyond Book Profits
Higher Sales

Established authors or those who can bring a large number of guaranteed sales to the table can benefit from co-publishing because it allows them to keep more of the profits.

Grow Your Guaranteed Sales
Phone Consultation Need more help deciding which publishing option is right for you?

We sell phone consultations by-the-hour and walk you through your decision. This is especially helpful and worthwhile if you are considering co-publishing. See the details of this service here.

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