Poll – Success Rate of Different Publishing Avenues

Last year, I finally took the plunge and tried self-publishing for the first time with my two-story release, Breeding Season and Alien Sex Therapy. This year, I also had another first when I joined several anthologies, the Sexy To Go boxed sets, which were released through what is basically a self-publishing service. In other words, we authors were responsible for our own major edits and cover art, but the publishing service took care of loading the book to all the major sites like Amazon, B&N, Kobo, etc., in exchange for a small percentage of the profits. Up until this point, I’ve strictly released my work through traditional/e-book publishers.

There are benefits to each of these publishing avenues, of course. A regular publisher is going to garner your book more attention through promotion and/or just from the fact that they’re basically vouching for your book’s quality. Self-publishing means more creative control and faster release schedules for the author. Since we can’t start making money until the book is out, being able to get our books into the hands of readers more quickly is a huge incentive. Self-publishing is a lot of work, though, and takes time away from writing. The emergence of self-publishing services (I’m talking about the good ones, not some of those vanity presses that rip you off) has offered a sort of middle-of-the-road choice. The author still has creative control and a faster book release, but she/he doesn’t have to take time contracting with all the different book retailers and loading the work to those sites.

I’ve heard some authors say they left regular publishing to self-publish their work and are now making way more royalties. Others have lost money doing that or have barely broken even, and there are a few of them who only ever talk about editing or re-releases instead of working on anything new.

As I contemplate which direction to take my writing career, which will probably involve a mixture of these options, I’m curious what kind of success my fellow authors have found with the various publishing methods. Below, you’ll find two polls, both of which are meant to compare releasing a book through a publisher (meaning a traditional or e-books publisher), through self-publishing (done completely by the author herself), and through self-publishing services (a publisher or service where the author has to do their own editing and provide cover art, but the service takes care of releasing the book on Amazon, B&N, etc.). This is completely anonymous, measured only in percentages, and you can check off as many as apply to you. I’m curious to see the results.

6 responses to “Poll – Success Rate of Different Publishing Avenues

  1. Thank you so much for this information!

  2. I’m thrilled with how many authors are responding to this poll. Because of the nature of the industry, we often work in isolation, and it can be hard to sort out a rare anecdotal story from the majority experience. To make things more complicated, the market and opportunities are constantly changing and evolving. Thanks to everyone for sharing and giving their feedback through this survey.

  3. I make so much more money self publishing than I did with small publishers. There is more work involved, but also less drama.

  4. JIMHO all depends on where an author is at. Have a name already and decent following? Sure with the proper avenues (hiring an editor- Cover artist etc) self-publishing might be more profitable. But for those (whether new or old) still building a name and following, sticking with a well-known (loved) publisher may be a better option OR–doing both. Which is where I am at. I’m with publishers AND self-publishing some.

    Maybe it still boils back to the old adage. Don’t leave all your eggs all in one basket.


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