029 Pros and Cons of Traditional Publishing

Here are the show notes for the most recent episode of the Christian Publishing Show.

You can listen to this episode here.


Should I pursue traditional publishing for this book? This is one of the most common questions writers ask. The answer is almost always, “It depends.”

What does it depend on? That is what I will discuss in this episode of the Christian Publishing Show.

But first, a quick personal update.

Pros of Traditional Publishing

  • The publisher edits, packages, and markets the book.
  • Gatekeepers help protect your reputation.
  • The three Cs
    • Capital (Once you sign a contract, you get an advance)
    • Credibility
    • Contacts
  • Surrounded by Professionals
    • Agent
    • Editor
    • Cover Designer
    • Sales People
    • Marketing People
    • PR
  • Placement in Physical Bookstores
  • Most awards are for traditionally published authors only.
  • Matthew Principle-Based Marketing Investment

Cons of Traditional Publishing

  • Matthew-Principle Based Marketing Investment
  • Gatekeepers can prevent you from being published.
  • You make between 80¢ and $1 per book.
  • You lack control
  • No marketing data
  • Slow Process
  • You Get Paid Slowly

Bottom Line:

  • Great if your novel has a broad market appeal.
  • Better for general nonfiction.
  • Better if you care more about reaching people.
  • Better for poor authors.

Featured Christian Writers Institute Course

How to Craft a Book Proposal

Whether submitting your book idea to an agent or an editor, you want your proposal to stand out. In this audio presentation, literary agent, Steve Laube, outlines the basic elements of an effective book proposal.

Bonus Content:

  • Sample Proposal Templates
  • a Proposal Checklist
  • and more

Use the coupon code “podcast” at checkout to save 10%

The post 029 Pros and Cons of Traditional Publishing appeared first on Christian Publishing Show.

2 Responses to 029 Pros and Cons of Traditional Publishing

  1. Lisa Simonds June 18, 2019 at 10:08 am #

    Hi Thomas!

    First, congratulations on taking some of your life back. Second, I enjoy your contributions here, and I’m glad they’ll continue.

    It was nice to hear you outline these pros and cons with traditional publishing. So honest. I learned some things that I didn’t know. I think I’m finished boosting FB and Instagram posts because – you’re right – the end result is just a bunch of likes, not sales. I look forward to your podcast on the pros and cons of indie publishing.

    I’m a novelist with Morgan James Publishing. MJP follows a new model that’s sort of a hybrid between traditional and indie publishing. The author keeps a lot of control, but MJP brings all the professional publishing skills to the table. They design the cover and interior, with author input. They handle getting the title into bookstores and some marketing. Most of the marketing falls to the author, with support, education, and resources from MJP. They encourage the author to keep the marketing team in the loop on activities, so they can pass them on to sales reps who are talking to bookstore managers/owners. MJP produces all editions: Kindle, paperback, library binding, Audible. The quality of every edition is the best I’ve seen, and this is frequently confirmed by others. MJP has an author portal, as you mentioned. They promote a tight-knit group of writers – we have a private FB page to communicate – and we do a lot to support and encourage one another.

    My acquisition editor, Terry Whalin, told me during our first conversation that MJP isn’t for everyone. I’m sure that’s true, but they are a perfect home for me. I don’t know of any other Christian publishers who are following this model, but I expect more will spring up eventually.

    That’s the end of my plug for new models in general and Morgan James in particular.

    I do want to comment on the gatekeeper piece. To my thinking, gatekeeping is a byproduct of the professional aesthetics of particular editors and particular presses. For example, we know what to expect from SJP for Hogarth. We know what we’re going to get from Greywolf Press. In fact, there are so many small, niche presses in general publishing that, as long as the work is good, any author can probably find a home.

    But in Christian publishing, gatekeeping is a thing, with quite a lot of deference given to it. Generally, the conversation is around the need to curate so only the best work gets through. But it does go beyond that, doesn’t it? Case in point, your successful author friend ran up against a wall and took matters into her own hands. Bully for her!

    Thanks for the opportunity to reply to your podcast. And thank you for all the great information you share!

  2. Wendy Casto June 19, 2019 at 10:58 am #

    Very helpful information. Thank you.

    And, Thomas, I appreciate your transparency. It always concerns me when someone has too many responsibilities they’re juggling. Burnout is inevitable. Sounds like you’re making some wise decisions for yourself and your family. Good to hear.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get New Posts by Email

Get New Posts by Email

Each article is packed with helpful info and encouragement for writers. You can unsubscribe at any time with one click. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!