Publishing vs. Self-Publishing – Advantages vs. Disadvantages

You’re already eager to release your story, but you’re still wondering whether you want to offer your book to a publisher or you’d rather go down the self-publishing route?
Then let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing and publishing through a publisher:

The advantages of self-publishing:

  • All rights of use remain with you, e.g. the publishing rights of various formats, film or merchandising rights.
  • You have full control over all publishing processes such as the choice of editor, the design of the book cover or the timing of publication
  • You receive higher royalties and therefore earn more with your book

The disadvantages of self-publishing:

  • You have to pay all the costs yourself, e.g. the costs for editing and printing.
  • You have to take care of the complete marketing of your publication yourself.
  • If you don’t have a creative streak and have the cover professionally designed by a graphic artist, you will have to pay additional costs.
  • You have to take care of the stock and reprinting yourself.
  • Books by self-publishers are usually not considered for major literary prizes.

The advantages of a publisher:

  • The publisher takes care of all the processes of publishing and covers all the costs
  • The publisher organizes the editing and proofreading as well as the printing of the book
  • Many publishers work with professional graphic artists who design the cover and typesetting of the book.
  • The publisher always keeps an eye on stocks and takes care of reprints
  • Some publishers even pay an advance to the authors.
  • The publisher supports you in marketing

The disadvantages of a publisher:

  • You cede most of the rights to use your story to the publisher.
  • Since the publisher pays the costs, you naturally receive less than you would in self-publishing.
  • You have no say, for example, in the pricing or circulation of your book.
  • Most publishers only pay out royalties once a year.


Caution is advised with so-called “printing cost subsidy publishers”. Before the publisher gets started, you have to make an advance payment, usually in the four-digit range. A serious publisher does not work like that. In the end, you end up with a second-rate printer and, in the worst case, you are stuck with the costs.

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