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Can Self-Publishing Lead to Traditional Publishing?

A lot of authors have asked themselves if they should focus on securing a book deal from a traditional publisher or if they should consider self-publishing their work. Self-publishing has become a more viable option in recent years with technological advancements, but both routes have pros and cons. Some authors prefer the validation of a well-known press publishing their work, while others enjoy the creative control and higher royalties that come with self-publishing.

Could it be that the answer to the question at hand is not an either/or proposition, but a both/and one? In other words, could it be beneficial to self-publish and seek a traditional publisher? For example, an author could use self-publishing to test the market for a book idea before going the traditional route. Or, an author could use self-publishing to build a following for their work before seeking out a traditional publisher. There are endless possibilities for how self-publishing and traditional publishing can work together.

This article will explore why you might want to consider seeking a traditional publishing house after self-publishing your book, as well as when it might make sense to do so. We’ll also provide you with some tips and advice on how to successfully shift from self-publishing to traditional publishing.

Reasons to Go for Traditional Publishing After Self-Publishing?

Many authors agonize for weeks or even months over whether to self-publish their book or try to land a traditional publishing deal. The decision can be a difficult one, and there are pros and cons to each route. Although it may seem like self-publishing disqualifies a book from being picked up by a traditional publisher, this is often not the case. In fact, it’s not uncommon for authors to get a book deal after they’ve already self-published their work.

Self-publishing is an attractive option for many authors, especially since it may be their only choice. It’s a great solution for those who want control over their work and the ability to get their book into publication quickly. Comparing the number of individuals who set out to write a book with the number of people who end up getting their book in the market traditionally, it is clear that far fewer authors achieve this goal. The reason for this is likely that most authors write primarily to have their own creative passions met rather than to publish their books. While publishing is certainly a worthwhile goal for any writer, it should not be the primary motivation for writing.

Having a Sense of Fulfillment

Even if you try and fail to get a deal, it’s not the end of your dream to be part of a traditional book publishing. You can always self-publish, but that’s not the same as having a sense of fulfillment because a publisher wanted to invest in your work, print copies, and get your book into stores. Traditional publication is still the goal for many authors, so don’t give up hope if your first attempt doesn’t succeed.

Many popular books were originally self-published and only later secured a traditional book deal. This is likely because the author was able to garner significant success and attention among readers with their self-published work, proving that there was indeed a market for their book. Traditional publishing houses are more likely to take on a project that has already proven to be popular and successful.

Expanding Reach

The publishing industry can be quite difficult to break into, but if your book is under a large publisher, it will likely reach a much wider audience. While it may be more challenging to get a big-name publisher, the reward could be great if your work is successful in reaching many readers.

It is beneficial to pursue a traditional publishing contract even after self-publishing if you want to sell more books or reach more readers. Self-publishing allows you to retain creative control and keep a higher percentage of book sales revenue, but it can be difficult to reach as many potential readers without the help of a well-established publishing house. A traditional publisher can also provide valuable editing feedback, which can help improve your book.

Making More Money

The advance that is paid following a traditional book publishing deal is something that many authors depend on to help cover the costs associated with writing their book. This money can be used to help pay for things like research, travel, and living expenses while the author is working on their book. For many authors, the advance is an essential part of making their book project possible.

Additionally, self-published books often do not generate a significant amount of revenue. This is likely due to the fact that self-publishing generally has less of a financial investment than traditional publishing, and therefore less potential for returns. Self-published authors also tend to have less control over marketing and promotion, which can further impact profitability.

Should You Connect With a Literary Agent After Self-publishing?

Authors often depend on literary agents to get their books noticed by traditional publishers. This is mainly due to the fact that literary agents have extensive experience and knowledge of the publishing industry, giving authors valuable insight into how best to market their work. Agents also usually have established relationships with editors and publishers, which can make it easier to get your work in front of the right people. Additionally, agents can help guide you through the process, from writing a strong proposal to negotiating a good contract.

Although it may not be simple to land a literary agent, it will be less complicated to acquire a standard book contract with an agent in your corner. You will be more likely to succeed in this if you can show that there is at least some level of interest in your writing. So, you should try to make connections with other authors and agents. Even if they do not represent your field, they may be able to point you toward someone who does.

It’s important that your self-published book looks professional if you want to secure a mainstream publisher down the line. Keep in mind though that self-publishing is often not cheap, so you’ll need to be prepared to invest some money upfront. Overall, it’ll be worth it if your goal is to be published by a major publishing company.

One of the best expenses you can incur is hiring a book editor before approaching a literary agent or dealing with a publishing company. This will ensure that your book is in the best possible shape before it undergoes the scrutiny of professionals, increasing your chances of getting your work out there.

Ideal Time to Shift from Self-Publishing to Traditional Publishing

There is no specific time frame that is the most ideal time to look for a traditional publisher after self-publishing. Some people may feel that six months or two years is enough time to build up a following, but there is no definitive answer. Each situation is different and it really depends on the author’s goals and what they are hoping to achieve by working with a traditional publisher.

The most important thing is to give your self-published book enough time to find success. It’s now easier than ever to have success as a self-published writer with the advent of e-books and online booksellers Give your book some time to find an audience and don’t give up if it doesn’t happen right away.

It’s important to build a solid track record with your self-published work before you try to interest literary agents or traditional publishing companies. By waiting until you have clear evidence of success, you’ll be in a much stronger position to convince publishing professionals to take you on. Plus, you’ll avoid the potential disappointment and frustration of getting rejection early on in the process.

Are Sales an Indication of Potential Success in the Traditional Publishing Market?

While many self-published books have been extremely successful, most still only see modest numbers in terms of sales. However, potential publishers can still see it as marketability. If your book is selling consistently, even in small numbers, it’s likely that there is a market for your book and that with the help of a traditional publishing company, you could reach a wider audience.

If you can show that your book has a particular appeal to a certain group of people, for instance, gardening enthusiasts, elementary students, or young women, this will let the publisher know that they will have a definite plan for marketing your book. Gardening enthusiasts might look for books with tips and tricks, while elementary school children might prefer stories with lots of action and adventure.

On the other hand, young women may be more interested in books that focus on relationships, so the publisher would take this into consideration when marketing your book. By tailoring your marketing strategy to a specific demographic, you’ll have a better chance of success.

It’s also crucial to demonstrate that you have a successful ongoing platform as an author, which is partly possible through writing consistent blog posts. By doing so, you show potential publishers that you have an engaged audience who wants to read your work. This, in turn, makes it more likely that they will take a chance at your book.


Although there are no specific guidelines to follow when it comes to traditional publishing after self-publishing, there are many different routes that authors can take. Vanity publishers and self-publishing companies are two common options, but aspiring authors can also go the route of mainstream publishing. No matter which path you choose, there is a lot to learn about the traditional publishing process and how to create the best book possible.

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