So you think you want to be traditionally published? Here’s a run-down of the pros and cons of going the traditional route. Please note that these are GENERALIZATIONS based on my own experiences and research as a new author. You will always be able to find exceptions to these “rules!”
- An established publisher’s connections with booksellers and distributors can potentially result in higher numbers of books sold.
- Expenses like editing, illustration, book design, etc. are paid for by the publisher.
- The work of hiring editors, illustrators, book designers, etc. is handled by the publisher.
- Because a publisher has money to invest in its projects, they may be able to afford higher quality illustrators, designers, printers etc. than you could on your own.
- Much of the legal liability for any future lawsuits pertaining to your book is shifted to the publisher.
- As the author, you get the validation of having a publisher choose your work over others.
- You may get some help with marketing your book. (Although you will still be expected to do much of it yourself!)
- Depending on the contract offered, you may lose some or all rights to ownership of your book.
- Once a publisher purchases your book, they have ultimate control over decisions such as illustrations, design, etc. Most publishers will consider the author’s opinion, but ultimately, you will lose some control over these things.
- Traditional publishing is highly selective. It is REALLY hard to become traditionally published.
- Because of the previous bullet point, you WILL be rejected – a lot. It will hurt.
- Traditional publishing takes a LONG time. It can take years to get an agent, months or years to sell your first book, and then at least two years from the date the book is purchased by the publisher to the time it hits shelves.
- Typical royalties on a children’s book range from about 5-20%. You may be offered an advance of $1,000-3,000 (ish). Some people think this is low.
If you’re still reading, maybe traditional publishing is right for you! But your decision-making isn’t done yet! Next, you have to decide: