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Self Publishing or Traditional Publishing. What works today?

Posted by in Books for Sale , Self Publishing on April 20, 2011

We read and see lots of articles, blogs, tweets and comments defending the industry of traditional publishing and it being the only way to truly publish and sell your book. However when you start to look behind where this is coming from, invariably it can be traced back to that same industry. This got me thinking. Is it really any better than a well written book self published and marketed correctly?

Could it be that the traditionalists are on a ‘self protection’ mission? After all the Internet and advances in printing and electronic distribution have opened up a market that had up to now a number of barriers to entry. Printers would only do print run’s of 1000 or more books which you needed to finance up front. How were you going to store, sell and distribute those? How were you going to market your book? What about proof reading, copy layout, cover design?

Publishing companies, literary agents, book printers and book retailers all had it their own way. An unknown or unproved author was looked upon with disdain at best. Only when an authors books broke into multiple digit sales did they start to gain any respect from the industry.

Today the sands are shifting. The recession has led publishers to take even less risks on new authors so it is even harder to get a publishing contract. The internet has moved sales online and away from the high street where book promotions traditionally happened often with the ‘impulse buy’ factor.

Technology has changed the printing and distribution channels forever making it simple to produce a book of the same standard as a publishing house. Did you know many of the books your purchase from Internet book stores are now ‘printed on demand’? Suppliers no longer need or want to hold expensive stock.

If you look at the book charts today, how much variety do you see? It is the same names week in week out. If you can still find a high street book shop, invariably they are pushing titles from ‘celebrities’ or people selling their ’15 minutes’ of fame books. Many of the Autobiography books are poorly written and probably launched in the hope the subjects name will sell enough of them alone to make it worthwhile for the publisher.

And why is it Editors seem to think they have some superior knowledge on what and how authors should write? How much of what we read is truly written by the author and how much is from a handful of editors? Books, Magazines, Newspapers, Radio, TV. All controlled by editors!

And then along came the Internet and printing advances allowing Self Publishing to finally come to the fore. Authors are now treated as business partners by the self publishing companies. You can ‘go it alone’ or you can purchase from a smorgasbord of services to help you get your book to market. With desktop computer software such as Microsoft Word and image editing packages it is within most people’s ability to write, grammatically check and layout a book along with a simple cover.

These books can then be uploaded to websites such as our own, Skoobebooks and marketed through the online bookstore. Print books, eBooks, Audio books can all be produced on demand so no stock holding is needed. Social media and creating a ‘Crowd Buzz’ around books is now starting to drive sales of the new authors. Ordinary people reviewing, rating and promoting books? Sounds like the music industry is coming around again.


Jerry Leach founded and runs the online bookstore for self publishing, Skoobebooks. For more information about you’re self publishing requirements visit

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  • If the self publishing world were totally honest, it would have to concede that the trads have some relevant points, but – some – is indeed the operative word. The set up for editors / editing etc, is good, we as self publishers cannot deny this, and many of us even use that one aspect to bolster our own works, I don’t, by the way, can’t afford it but that’s another story. However, just having a fruity sounding publishing house in Grosvernor Square is no guarantee of quality where it truly matters – the story. I always laugh when people dismiss self published books as rubbish. all of them. I then complement my laughter with such author names as Jackie Collins and Jilly Cooper. ‘Nuff said.

  • Publishing a book and turning a profit is a risky business. Therefore, without some sort of celebrity status or proof of advanced sales the big Publishing houses are going to be reluctant to accept your work. My view is most books that get accepted and published, only reach a few thousand copies and have a short shelf life.
    The reading public is more astute than most give them credit, there will always be the opportunity to fulfil a need for variety and quality. Self-publishing offers a route to test the water, and even if you sell just 10 copies it’s an achievement. Then again if you are determined and with the right exposure, who knows what might be the outcome.


  • Realy nice artilce. I will recommand it to my friends. Keep going in this direction, I will pass agen soon :).