The most important thing to keep in mind when you're thinking about publishing is your goals for the book and for your career. Each path has its pros and cons, and what you choose should depend on the desired outcome.
It should also depend on your experience level in the publishing world, what you're comfortable with doing for your book, and what you need help with.
For example, Traditional Publishers take care of a lot. They get a book cover designed, format the book, and hire an editor. If those are things you need help with, you should consider a Traditional Publisher.
But it's also important to keep in mind that you can get those resources elsewhere. They may not be cheap, but the good ones are worth it. (Check out 99 designs for covers, Story Grid for editors, and the Kindle Create Add-In for formatting.)
Let's just dive into the Pro's and Con's of both.
Traditional Publishing Pros
-Like we said before, they beautify your book for you. (Editing, Formatting, Covers, etc.)
-They have access to bookstores. (Which can be harder to get into for indie or self-published authors.)
-Traditionally Published books are more likely to show up on Bestseller Lists. (Indie or Self-published authors have to sell 10x as much as traditionally published books in some cases.)
Traditional Publishing Cons
-Small payouts for Authors who aren't A or B list authors. (Some authors won't make more than their advances.)
-Little to no marketing for Authors who aren't A or B List authors. (Authors are expected to have their own platform and market their book.)
-Little to no creative control over your book. (Look into the Rights in your contract).
Self- Publishing Pros
-Complete creative control (You're the boss!)
-You keep the creative Rights! (So, you can publish internationally and different formats)
-Higher Royalty percentages. (As much as 70% on Amazon)
-Fantastic feelings (You did it all yourself!)
-You have to do all of the work or find people to do the work for you. (Editing, Covers, Formatting, etc).
-Costs are all up to you.
-All marketing responsibility falls on you. (Unless you find someone to do that for you as well.)
-Agents may not take you seriously if your book launches and then fails.
-It's all on you to make your book successful. (Which is intimidating.)
-Sometimes.... people judge self-published books harsher than traditionally published books because the assumption is that Traditional Publishers are the gatekeepers for quality reads.
Even authors who choose to self-publish move into the Traditional publishing arena, becoming hybrids authors. There are different reasons for this. Some choose based on their current project's needs. Some publish Traditionally because they want the publisher to do all of the work. Some self-publish to keep the rights to their books.
Whatever your reasons, keep your goals in the forefront of your mind when choosing. Each has strengths and weaknesses that will help or hinder you.
One thing you have to do either way, is create your author platform, find your fans, and launch your book well. These are the main things that help books sell. That's why it's important to study the market and connect with influencers. Do this, and you'll do well as an author.