I publish my books with a traditional publisher.
I have heard a lot of folks say that publishers don’t “do” anything for authors anymore (and that is unfortunately partially true when it comes to marketing, which I think is a shame) but I think there are some very important assets that traditional publishers bring to the table over self-publishing.
1. Credibility. Anyone can self-publish a book. It may be great, it may be awful – but there are no real filters. The truth is, even with all our talk about how self-publishing is “the wave of the future,” most of us still put a lot of stock into a publishers logo and seal of approval being on a book. When is the last time you bought a truly self-published book?
2. Editing. I am not a strong spellar. And although I know I could hire an editor, the truth is that almost no one who self-publishes does. It ends up being too much of a risk economically and so everyone thinks, “Let me make some money off of my first book and then I will hire help.” But they don’t, because the book stinks. I also just prefer the publisher to pay that bill.
3. Coaching. I have learned so much from my editor. She has helped me write a better book the second time around and I believe that it will only get better. Again, yes, I could hire a writing coach. But how many self-publishers do?
4. Distribution. This is the big one. As a first time author of a little known book, I would have never gotten into some of the brick and mortar bookstores that my publisher has gotten me into.
Tim Ferriss has some great wisdom on this very subject in the video below. He is a great example of someone who could make a ton more money per book in royalty if he self-published, but still finds value in the publisher.