Mastodon The Writing Desk: Guest Post ~ Two Roads, Self Publishing Or Traditional - The Choice Is Yours, by Jill Paterson

1 August 2014

Guest Post ~ Two Roads, Self Publishing Or Traditional - The Choice Is Yours, by Jill Paterson

Available on Amazon US, Amazon UK and Amazon Australia 

The world of publishing has changed in recent years in the fact that authors now have a choice whether they wish to be traditionally published or self published.  Let’s look at each option in turn.

Traditional Publishing

If you choose the traditional publishing path, your first step is to:-

  • Send off a query letter along with a Book Proposal, three sample chapters and synopsis to a literary agent or publisher who accepts unsolicited manuscripts.  Being accepted is easier said than done so you might have to repeat this process many times.
  • If you are successful in being accepted for publication, you will sign a contract and the publication process will begin.  (In all, the process can take between 1-2 years before your book appears in bookstores.)
  • Your manuscript will be scrutinised by a content editor, line editor and copy editor.
  • A cover will be designed with the editorial board and marketing team’s input (the author may or may not be included in the decision making).
  • At the same time, a description (blurb) of your story will be written for the cover.
  • ISBNs will be assigned to each format your book is to be published in.
  • For a new author there will probably be a print run of 5000 books which will be stored in a warehouse.
  • Your book will remain in bookstores for up to 1 year (depending on shelf space) whereupon any unsold copies will be returned to the publisher.
  • You will receive royalty cheques twice per year.
  • Although your publisher will market your book, you are expected to contribute to this process.

Self Publishing

If you decide to self publish your work, you go through much the same process as described above but whereas in traditional publishing you are guided all the way, with others making many of the decisions, self publishing means just that.  You do it yourself:-

  • Make sure that your manuscript is polished for publication.  Employing a freelance editor can help you achieve this.
  • If you plan to publish in both eBook and paperback formats, you will need to have your manuscript formatted for each.  The eBook file will be a word.doc file and the paperback has to be a PDF file.
  • Find a cover designer to create a dynamic cover.  If you plan on publishing in both eBook and paperback formats, you will need two covers.  One front cover for the eBook and a full cover - back/front/spine - for your paperback.
  • Write a catchy blurb that will capture potential readers interest.
  • Obtain ISBNs for both your eBook and your paperback.
  • Decide who you will publish with.
  • If, for example, you plan to publish using Amazon, you will need to go through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for your eBook, and CreateSpace for the paperback.  In both instances, these sites will walk you through the publishing process. (You may be given the option of a free ISBN from Amazon.).
  • Once you have uploaded your files to KDP and CreateSpace, your book will appear on the Amazon site within days.
  • There is no warehousing of your printed edition because paperbacks will be printed as they are sold.  This is called Printed On Demand POD.
  • You are able to monitor your sales on the KDP and Createspace sites and royalties for each month of sales are paid 60 days on.

Once you have your book published it is time to think about marketing.  This is an ongoing process if you wish your book to be visible to potential readers.  One of the ways that can help you is to:-

  • Build an author platform.  This can be done with social media through sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and perhaps a blog.
  • If you have published on Amazon create an Author Central page.
  • If you are with KDP, you can join KDP Select and take advantage of their Countdown Deals.
  • Advertise through web sites such as The Kindle Book Review, eReader News Today, Bargain Booksy and Book Goodies.
Like everything, there is a lot to learn whether you are traditionally published or self published.  Whatever you choose, I’m sure that you will find it a great experience.

If you would like more detailed information on self publishing along with links to helpful sites, you will find it in my book, SelfPublishing-Pocket Guide.

Jill Paterson
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About the Author

Jill Paterson was born in Yorkshire, UK, and grew up in Adelaide, South Australia before spending 11 years in Ontario, Canada. On returning to Australia, she settled in Canberra. After doing an arts degree at the Australian National University, she worked at the Australian National University's School of Law before spending the next 10 years with the Business Council of Australia and the University of NSW, ADFA Campus, in the School of Electrical Engineering. Jill is the author of three published books, The CelticDagger, Murder At The Rocks, and Once Upon A Lie which are all part of the Fitzjohn Mystery Series.  Her non-fiction books include Writing-Painting A Picture With Words as well as her Self Publishing-Pocket Guide. Find out more at Jill's blog and find her on Twitter @Jillpaterson2Facebook, Goodreads and Amazon.  


  1. Hi Jill you almost make it sound easy! Alexander

    1. Hi Alexander, Thank you for your comment. I think if you go about it methodically it makes it easier. Also with the actual publishing there is lots of assistance on the sites themselves. If you need any help I'll be pleased to assist. Best Regards, Jill


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