Self-publishing versus traditional publishing – an Irish perspective


self publishing vs trad pub

Image source  from Self Publishing Versus Traditional Publishing

Below are parts of an article I  thought would be useful to anyone wanting to self-publish. The original article was published in the Irish dated Sunday 14th December with the big headin of:

“50 Shades and the new queens of self-publishing”

But unfortunately then, there is an awful sub-title and a few other dodgy bits in the article, so I have highlighted only the main parts that I believe are useful for Indie (independent) authors, particularly the tiny royalties you actually get from being traditionally published versus self-publishing. And one woman actually turned down the offer of traditional publishing and went it alone with much better success. After these excerpts, I have put up links for further reading around the topic of self-publishing versus traditional publishing from another website (click on image to link to this page). The Irish Independent online article excerpts are as follows….

….Flogging more than 100 million books worldwide, James, said Baverstock, is proof self-publishers “really know their audiences”, and that traditional publishers “are not necessarily in touch with popular taste”.

Although her debut novel, K-Girls, set in Kylemore Abbey girls’ boarding school, couldn’t be more different from Fifty Shades, self-published author Lydia Little says she’d love to turn writing into a full-time career just like James.

“Writing K-Girls got me through my midlife crisis,” jokes mum-of-two Lydia from Cork. “Some people run marathons, some people climb Everest – I wrote a book.

“Growing up, I always loved writing,” she says. “I just didn’t know I was an author. Then, after joining a local writing club six years ago, I realised I had a story to tell.”

Despite being approached by two well-known Irish publishers about her first young adult fiction novel, Lydia decided to release the title online through Kindle Direct Publishing, followed by a print edition last year.

“Basically I got impatient with trying to publish it the traditional way,” explains the 43-year-old. “I went from trying for a year and a half to get it published to becoming a published author overnight.

“I’m a bit of a Luddite, so I presumed wrongly it would be incredibly difficult – but it was so easy. I just wrote my book in [Microsoft] Word format, created an Amazon account and literally uploaded my file.

“It doesn’t cost anything, and you get between 35pc and 75pc [of sales] depending on the region.

“Seeing my book in a shop window in Cork for the first time was amazing,” adds Lydia, who’s just finished the second book in her ‘Kylemore Abbey School’ series – which she hopes could eventually make it to the big screen like Fifty Shades. “I would like to be a full-time author, but I’m just not there yet.

“If I was to die tomorrow though, it’s nice knowing I’ve left something behind.”


“People pass [their book] on for generations and generations. But the amount of people who come to me actually looking to make money is minimal.”

With self-published books now representing 31pc of ebook sales on Amazon’s Kindle Store however, for many writers, going it alone is no longer just an indulgence…

“Normally, when you have that kind of success with a publisher, you stay with them,” explains Marisa (41) from Dublin. “But I just wasn’t happy. I couldn’t choose the cover and only found out when the book was being published on Amazon. There’s constant pressure: ‘How are you getting on?’ ‘Are you nearly finished?’ As a self-published author, there’s also terrible pressure, but at least it’s my own pressure.

“Being a No1 bestseller in Ireland, you may as well be working in McDonalds,” she adds. “When I was with a publisher, I got 6pc [in royalties] – now I get 70pc.

“Some writers will be horrified by this, but for me, selling a book is like selling a bar of soap. There’s no point publishing a book if only your mother is going to buy it.”

Despite being one of Ireland’s best-selling scribes, romantic fiction queen Marisa – whose new book No More Fish hits ebook shelves next week – admits there’s still a certain snobbery towards self-publishing: “People used to think I self-published because I couldn’t get a publisher, and I still get people saying, ‘I wouldn’t read the type of books you write’.

“My books may not win prizes, but they sell. If you write a book that entertains people, whether it’s published or self-published, it will sell.”


“Within Ireland, the sale of ebooks is not as big as perceived,” says John O’Connor, owner of Blackwater Press. “You only make money in publishing if there’s scale.

“I don’t see [self-publishing] as a threat, at all. There’s many a self-published book that would not be taken by a mainstream publisher because the interest would be at a local level.

“But fair dues to them,” he adds. “I’ve often sat down with people over a cup of tea and said: ‘It’s not for me, but if you’re going the self-publishing route, this is what you have to do…’

“Most have no idea of the work that goes into it.”


BARBARA FREETHY – KISS ME FOREVER: Traditionally published for many years, romantic fiction author Freethy began self-publishing her backlist, including Summer Secrets in 2011. Three years on, the Californian mum has sold 4.8 million ebooks, making her the bestselling Kindle Direct Publishing author ever.

LISA GENOVA – STILL ALICE: American neuroscientist-turned-writer Genova self-published her first novel Still Alice, the story of a 50-year-old Harvard professor and mum battling early onset Alzheimer’s, in 2007. After word-of-mouth success, it was snapped up by Simon & Schuster, and sold in 30 countries worldwide.

Below are links from an article by a published author (experience of both traditional and self-publishing) – a little pro-traditional publishing to say the least, but a well researched article nevertheless:

Her links are as follows






Please share

Cheers MariaBrigit (Dig-Press on Face Book)


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