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The Big Debate: Traditional vs self-publishing

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For some people the dream of being published can be weighed down by the realisation of just how difficult achieving this dream actually is. Sibongile Machika, junior publisher at Jacana Media, and Dane Bowman, project manager of Staging Post, a service bureau for self-publishers, share insights into the pros and cons of traditional and self-publishing.

Dane Bowman (DB):
The twin routes of traditional and self-publishing differ vastly and are driven by their varying approaches. And, even though both ultimately offer the same end-goal, they achieve it through different means. There are several benefits to traditional and self-publishing (see below). However, by mentioning the benefits of each publishing method, their disadvantages become quite clear as well.

Sibongile Machika (SM):
Where traditional publishing spares the author any kind of financial risk, independent authors take this risk upon themselves, often footing a large bill for their publishing efforts. This is not something many people can afford.

When making publishing decisions we must consider whether there is potential to make a return on our investment, because we take on the financial risk. Several things inform our decisions, like the list we want to build, the socio-economic climate we’re in, and our readers’ buying patterns.

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