Many aspiring writers have read stories about authors who became overnight successes after self-publishing a couple of ebooks. It is true that a small number of self-published writers have seen their work adopted even into a Hollywood movie, but the reality is that the odds of making it to the best-seller list favors authors who have worked with a traditional publisher. Here is an infographic that sums up the key points and differences between self-publishing and going through a publisher.
Infographic by Write to Sell Your Book.
An important point we would like to correct in the infographic is the first con listed under Traditional Publishing. It is not the case that you need an agent before you can contact a publisher. Yes, in the US, an agent is required, but in many other markets, writers can contact publishers directly.
Here is what you can do. Search for book publishers in your market. Look for a web page that has instructions for writers how to contact the publisher with a book proposal. Follow the instructions carefully. Before making a contact, make sure the publisher is interested in your genre. For instance, if the publisher says they are specialized in cookbooks, history and comics, don’t send a thriller book proposal to this publisher, but find one that clearly states they want thrillers.
Another important point that doesn’t get the attention it deserves is the amount of work a self-publisher must do before a book is ready to be submitted to a bookstore. A manuscript that an author has finished starts a process that creates a commercial product from the original content. It is possible, but rare, that an author does every step pf the process herself. That’s why there are many freelancers and small businesses that help authors to create a quality product from their manuscript.