You’re a writer. A person— or perhaps the person— the publishing industry would like, at some point, to do business with.

How would you answer if I asked what the benefits are of being traditionally published?

An advance comes to mind. Then, after a moment of head-scratching, comes prestige, physical print, and distribution. But largely, to the uninitiated, the world of traditional publishing remains shrouded in mystery, and maybe a little bit daunting. Many writers aren’t really sure how traditional publishing could benefit them, only that they want to give it a try.

On the other hand, if I asked you about the benefits of self-publishing, you’d be able to list the major ones right away:

  • You retain 70% of the sale profits
  • You gain access to a global market
  • It’s pretty easy, everyone can do it

It’s something that my non-writer friends know!

This disparity of understanding results from decades of failing to communicate. Amazon, Wattpad, and Medium all did a better job explaining to me the things I could gain from joining the ranks of writers on their platforms than Penguin Random House ever did. Agents, and editors of literary magazines are busy sending out polite form rejections, seemingly oblivious to the ideal position they have for nurturing future talent. It doesn’t feel right.

I hope this state of things changes soon. I would love to see more people like the brilliant Jane Friedman who puts hard work into bridging the gap between the writer and the publisher.

And here, in case you were wondering:

  • Professional copyediting of your manuscript
  • Cover design
  • Physical print and distribution to bookstores
  • Cash advance of at least $2000
  • Prestige or status if you care about such things
  • Promotion if your book has the potential of becoming a hit
  • Better visibility compared to self-publishing
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
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