What Is The Difference Between Publishers And Self Publishers?

Many people dream of writing or compiling their own book but, until recent years, for most people, a dream is all it would remain! The chances of your work being accepted by an established publishing house were, still are, remote – less than one percent of proposals are accepted – however, modern technology and the advances in printing make self-publishing a viable prospect. With the success of reading tools such as Kindles and tablets, you may think that book printing has become a thing of the past, but recent studies show that still today eight out of ten books are read in physical copy form, so the cost and effort of publishing can still be very worthwhile! There are many factors to consider when deciding how to publish your book – here are some of those considerations:

Self-Publishing Vs Traditional Publishers

 For the majority of authors there is a clear preference – self-publish! The key difference between the two options is the ownership of royalties and rights – if you, the author, self-publish then you own all the rights – if you use a traditional publisher then the publishing house owns them! The starting point for this debate really hinges on your status as an author – are you an established ‘name’, or are you a first-time or little-known author?

Publishing House

 If you are already an established and successful author, a celebrity, famous athlete, actor, or singer, then you will have a chance of a publishing house accepting you, the big advantage of which is a sizeable financial advance on your work! Then, once your book is completed the publishing house will look after all the printing, marketing, and distribution aspects, including the financial investment, of getting your book onto shelves and into the marketplace. Keep in mind though, that the publishing house owns the print license – including digital reproduction – whilst you, as the author, retain the copyright of the book.


If you have yet to establish a reputation as a known author, or are perhaps a business entrepreneur, financial expert, doctor, or other professional ‘specialist’, then self-publishing is the way to go! Professional publishing houses do not often publish ‘niche’ books and, without the luxury of a big monetary advance, then the advantages of self-publishing far outweigh the disadvantages. As a self-publisher you retain full ownership of the rights and royalties to your work – but for it to be successful you MUST ensure that the finished product is of a professional standard including the design, illustration, and marketing aspects of the book. Self-publishing gives you complete control over the whole process but, again, aspects outside of the content writing itself are things you would need to learn yourself to a high standard to ensure a quality finish. If you can guarantee a professional finish to your book and market and distribute it successfully – which, consider, can be both a lot of work and money – then self-published books have a significantly higher profit margin for the author!

Volume and Affordability 

As a self-publisher you can control the volume of copies printed – there is no reason to print huge quantities of copies initially which could potentially lead to excess stock and unsold copies, all of which you have paid for upfront. You can test your book sale’s potential from an initial smaller print run and then initiate further print runs as necessary. If you have identified a target audience as such, you can just print to those expected levels initially and when the market is more proven for your book, your chosen print company can scale-up immediately and produce a quick turnaround for additional copies.


For the actual printing of your book you should consider working with an established on-line print company – they can offer you a bespoke print service at affordable prices with the professional quality you need. If you want to compete with established, traditional publishers you will need your book to have a high-quality finish – having your book professionally printed will achieve that look!


Taking all aspects into account and, given the difficulty and likelihood of getting your book proposal accepted by an established publisher, then for the big majority of authors, it would seem quite an obvious choice of pursuing the self-publishing route!


If you would like more information about self publishers, please don’t hesitate to contact us. You can call us on 01525621742. Alternatively, you can fill out a contact form and we will be in touch.