Money in self vs traditional publishing

As you may well know, book publishing is going through major upheavals as e-books begin to surpass “tree” books in sales! Yet, there are those authors who have good reasons to print their books. Some may want to pursue the path of traditional publishing to build their writing career, gain more exposure, and have the support of a publishing team.

Some authors want full control and choose to self publish their book, acting like a home contractor: choosing the editor, book designer, printer, etc. Whichever path you choose, there’s money to be made in both—if you think big picture.

If you are blessed enough to be accepted by a traditional publisher—if that’s your preference—you may receive an advance against sales to start. A new author will most likely get a small advance, perhaps around $5,000. Then you get semi-annual royalties which range from 10% to 12.5% of retail price on hardbacks and 7.5% to 10% of retail price on paperbacks. Obviously, you need to sell a substantial quantity of books for this to be profitable. Other than the best selling authors, the way an author can earn more money with traditional publishing is to sell a multi-book deal, preferably a series with continuing stories if fiction, or a franchise like Chicken Soup for the Soul if nonfiction. And you need to market, promote, and sell!!!!!

As a self published author, I feel you have much more profit potential. You can issue your book as a print book, hardcover or softcover, e-book, audio book, workbook, e-course, and more. The sky’s the limit because you have full rights to reproduce your content in any format. You can also set the price and drive the marketing campaign. If you use your book as an introduction to your services and /or other products you can build a fan base and have ongoing sales as you build your information business. Prices for e-books range from .99 to $9.99 and for print books from $9.99 to $29.99 average. And after costs, you keep it all!

Profit is only one of many factors to consider when choosing a publishing path, so keep it in mind and keep it in perspective.

Happy Writing,


Andrea Susan Glass


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