Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Publishing a book ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Publishing a book
Category: Business and Money > Advertising and Marketing
Asked by: niurkainc-ga
List Price: $3.50
Posted: 30 Aug 2006 16:31 PDT
Expires: 29 Sep 2006 16:31 PDT
Question ID: 760959

I'm writing a book on "effective communication" and "influence."

I'm not sure if i should self publish or get a literary agent to
market my book to a big publishing company.

Can you please tell me the pros and cons of self publishing vs. going
with a big publishing house.

Thanks so much:)
Subject: Re: Publishing a book
Answered By: kriswrite-ga on 30 Aug 2006 17:04 PDT
Hello niurkainc~

As a traditionally published author who has also dabbled in self
publishing, here are the pros and cons as I see them.

Pros of Having a Literary Agent:

* They do all the footwork to sell your book
* They personally know editors and what types of books they are seeking
* They should be able to get you a much better contract
* They should be able to get you a larger advance

Cons of Having a Literary Agent:

* It's very difficult to get a literary agent unless you've already
had a book published by a traditional publishing house. (There are
exceptions; if you're a well known motivational speaker on the subject
of "influence," for example, it will be much easier to get your foot
in the door.)

* The agent gets a commission on your advance and royalties. (However,
the better agents make up for this by getting you more money in the
first place.)

Pros of Self Publishing:

* You have total control over your work. There are no editors or
publishers asking for changes.
* If you can make big enough sales, you may earn more money in the long run.

Cons of Self Publishing:

* You have total control over your work. There are no editors of
publishers to guide you in what works best and what will make the most
professional, marketable book.
* The up front fees can be large, unless you use a Print-on-Demand
vanity publisher.
* Your work may not be taken seriously by reviewers and bookstores.
There is still quite a stigma attached to self publishing.

There is another option, too, and that is marketing your book directly
to a publisher. Not all the major publishers will look at unagented
work, but a good many do. It requires more legwork on your part (you
have to figure out which publishers are open to unagented material,
you have to do the actual mailings), but it is quite possible to be
published this way, if your work is good.

All that said, my very best advice is this: 

If you are an experienced writer who's written for major magazines,
self publishing might work for you. You'll also have a higher chance
of getting your foot in the door by approaching a publisher directly.

If you're a less experienced writer, you'll need to hire a good
editor, if you want to self publish. Or, if you go the traditional
route, you'll need to get more writing experience under your belt. Get
at least a handful of magazine articles published, so you can prove to
an agent or a publisher that you are a professional who can write.

Here are some links that may provide more insight:

* "Self Publishing Pros and Cons:"
* "Self Publishing: The Odds of Success:"
* "The Evolution of Self Publishing:"
* "How To Get An Agent" (with ideas on what an agent can do for an

Good luck!

Researcher's personal knowledge
Google searches: pros cons self publishing, pros cons literary agent

Clarification of Answer by kriswrite-ga on 30 Aug 2006 17:31 PDT
Somehow I managed to leave out an important con to self publishing: It
will eat up a lot more of your time than traditional publishing, since
you'll be wearing the hat of not only author, but also publisher (and
possibly editor).

Kind regards,
There are no comments at this time.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy